They're chocolatey, they're creamy, they're boozy - they're vegan rum balls! Such a phenomenal, flavor-packed treat that's perfect for the holidays. Made with real whole foods, gluten-free, without added oil or added refined sugar (just what's in the chocolate chips or bar). Not doing alcohol? No problem - there's an alcohol-free version included!
When I was in high school, my friends and I had a phase when we would run down to the local bakery after school and get a treat. That's where I discovered that rum balls were a thing. These babies were golf ball-sized spheres of chocolatey goodness that had kind of a slightly chewy, cakey-cookie dough ganache center and smacked of rum. They were not the chocolate kisses I'd grown up with. My food world opened up a notch. I was smitten. I had to take each one home in a box so that I could slowly savor every bite. Pure bliss. Yeah, maybe the bakery should have thought to card me - they were pretty potent! Probably a good thing I waited until I was home to eat it.
Alas, I've never had one since. I just haven't seen them. So it's been a delight to create a dairy-free version of that rum ball I remember. They have that texture and flavor that I recall, soft and a bit like chocolate mousse with a little cake in it. My husband is particularly drawn to the tiramisu-like finish.
Did I mention these are nutrient-packed rum balls? Check out the ingredients. Yep, nutrient-dense vegan rum balls are now a thing!
I love that these rum balls are made with minimally-processed ingredients.
- raw cashews
- almond meal/flour
- oat flour
- 70% chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips
- maple syrup
- almond butter
- dark spiced rum
- cacao powder
If making these alcohol-free, you will need the following instead of the rum (choose an alcohol-free version of the extracts, if desired):
- vanilla extract or powder
- almond extract
I'm also happy to report that these vegan rum balls are easy to make! These are the key steps involved:
- Soak cashews at least two hours to soften, which adds creaminess
- Combine the dry ingredients
- Melt the chocolate
- Blend the wet ingredients
- Combine everything
- Add the rum
- Refrigerate overnight or at least 6 hours to set
- Prepare to shape the set mixture into balls and roll in cacao
- Serve, refrigerate, or freeze
Here are some helpful tips to be aware of ahead of time:
- Have all the ingredients in-hand to prepare the "cookie-dough ganache" the night before. Once all the ingredients are mixed, they set overnight.
- I life to use Divine 70% Bittersweet Chocolate, the 5.3-oz baking bar. Divine is right! If you can't find it, though, an equal amount of any bittersweet bar or even chocolate chips will work fine - keep in mind semi-sweet chips will tend to have sugar added so the balls will end up sweeter.
- Any rum in the cupboard will do, but I recommend a dark spiced rum for a full-flavor experience. Have you tried The Kraken? It's a vegan rum and I love it! (Yes, part of my love for it is the packaging, but it's a delicious rum, too!).
- Want an alcohol-free version? Replace the rum with a ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract and a ½ teaspoon almond extract along with ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons of maple syrup.
- Heads up: the raw cashews need to soak for a couple hours ahead of time.
- When it's time to roll the "ganache-dough" in cacao powder, place a few tablespoons of cacao in the center of a dish and roll the ball of ganache-dough in the powder. Once covered in caco, tap the rum ball on an empty spot of the plate to release excess cacao.
- Size them as you'd like. The figures here are for a bit smaller than a golf ball.
- These rum balls are soft and easy to eat. The ball holds firm so that you can pick them up, yet they are soft enough to take a bite. They're also very easy to eat with a fork, perfect for a romantic dinner!
Are you surprised to learn that there are wines, beers, and other much-enjoyed drinks that seem like they'd be vegan but aren't? Yeah. I was surprised, too. Rather than getting into the gory details here, I recommend you google it. On a brighter note, I recently came across a website that is dedicated to helping people find their favorite alcohol in animal-free form: Barnivore! Thank you, Barnivore!
You can find more tasty chocolate recipes here.
Vegan Rum Balls
- Double-boiler or small pots and pans
- Mixer (stand or hand)
- ½ cup cashews raw
- ¾ cup water filtered, to soak the cashews
- ½ cup almond flour
- ½ cup oat flour
- ⅛ teaspoon salt pink or sea salt recommended
- 5.3 oz bittersweet chocolate 70%, or equivalent chocolate chips (about a half bag)
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons almond butter
- 7 tablespoons rum spiced dark recommended
- 3-5 tablespoons cacao powder
For an alcohol-free version, replace the rum with the following:
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract if needed, use alcohol-free/vanilla powder
- ½ teaspoon almond extract if needed, use alcohol-free
- 7 tablespoons maple syrup or ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons
- Soak cashews. Place the raw cashews in a jar or bowl with enough water to cover, about ¾ cup water. Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
- Dry ingredients. Place the almond and oat flours and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. With a fork or the paddle of the stand mixer, stir until mixed.
- Chocolate. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate on medium-low. (Don't have one? You can make one with a small pan or pot sitting in another pan filled with about an inch of water.) Stir the chocolate until all is melted.
- Wet ingredients. Strain the cashews and place them in a blender. Warm water in a teapot until steaming and add ½ cup to the cashews. Blend on high until creamy. Add the maple syrup and almond butter. If making an alcohol-free version, add the extra maple syrup and extracts now. Blend until well mixed.
- Combine. Place the chocolate on top of the dry ingredients, using a spatula to get as much as possible out of the pan. Then pour the wet ingredients, with the help of a spatula, over the chocolate and stir with the stand mixer paddle or a hand mixer just until combined.
- Add rum. Stir gently while adding the rum, just until well disbursed.
- Refrigerate. Place the mixture in the fridge with a towel to cover. Let set overnight, at least 6 hours. The ganache should be firm enough to hold a ball form. If it warms up too much while working, stick it back in the fridge until it's firm again.
- Cacao station. Pour a few tablespoons of cacao in the center of a large plate. Set it next to the ganache-filled mixing bowl.
- Form the balls. Have a towel handy for your soon-to-be-chocolatey hands. Using a measuring tablespoon, scoop two tablespoons of ganache and form into a ball. Roll the ball in the cacao powder until covered. Drop the ball on a clean part of the plate a few times to remove excess powder. Set the finished ball on a serving plate or in a glass container to store in the fridge. Repeat until all the ganache has been used. Add more cacao powder to the cacao station if necessary.
- Serve. Serve immediately or store in the fridge. Can be made a day or two ahead, but watch out - they may disappear before then.
Links to items for this recipe:
These products are listed for your convenience. Clicking on these items will take you directly to Amazon, where you can decide whether or not you'd like to purchase. Beautiful Ingredient receives a small portion of sales when purchases are made, at no extra cost to you, the buyer.