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Gluten Free Rum Balls

Gluten free rum balls are a quick, easy to make chocolate treat with basic fridge and pantry ingredients, plus a splash of rum. Kid-friendly recipe variation included.

Rum balls in a glass bowl with text overlay reading: "Gluten Free Rum Balls".

These rum balls are a heavily tweaked version of a recipe I have been making since I was a kid. I think it originally came from a super basic kid’s microwave cooking book that my aunty gave me when I was still at primary school.

Fast forward, ahem, 20+ years and these little truffle balls are the one thing my Aunty asks for every birthday and Christmas. And I’m more than happy to oblige, since they’re so easy to make… and enjoyable to snack on while I’m making them.

A rum ball with a bite taken out of it, sitting on a small paper wrapper, with a glass of rum in the background.

I’m pretty heavy-handed with the rum in these, making them a decidedly adults-only sweet treat, but you can also nix the rum, add a small splash of vanilla extract instead, and feed them to the kiddos. My niece and nephews are pretty big fans of that version.

Ingredients

All rum ball ingredients in separate white bowls.
  • Butter – You can use salted or unsalted butter in these. I like to use regular salted butter as the salt cuts through a little of the sweetness of the rum balls. You can make these dairy-free as well by replacing the butter with a dairy free butter substitute such as Nuttelex. Make sure you also use dairy free biscuits, too!
  • Gluten free biscuits – I used Arnott’s gluten free scotch finger biscuits in these, but you can use any gluten free biscuits you like. GF chocolate biscuits would also work great.
  • Desiccated coconut – Desiccated coconut is very finely shredded coconut. If you can’t find it, you can use shredded coconut and blitz it until fine in a food processor or blender.
  • Icing sugar – Make sure you check that your icing sugar is gluten free, as some are not.
  • Cocoa powder – I used a Dutch-processed cocoa powder, but regular cocoa powder will also do the trick.
  • Rum – You can use any dark or gold rum in this recipe. I usually use Coruba. We happened to have the Gold one in the cupboard when I made these, so that’s the one I used. Don’t want to use rum? You could also use whiskey or a flavoured liqueur such as Amaretto (almond) or Frangelico (hazelnut) or Cointreau (orange). For a kid-friendly version, you can just use some vanilla extract, instead.
  • Chocolate hail sprinkles – I like to roll half of the rum balls in extra coconut, and half in chocolate sprinkles. You can just use the coconut, if you don’t have chocolate hail on hand.

Making Gluten Free Rum Balls

First up, you’ll need to crush the gluten free biscuits. You can do this either in a food processor, or pop them into a plastic bag and crush them with a rolling pin. It doesn’t matter if there are a few larger pieces of biscuit, they add a bit of crunch.

Crushed gluten free biscuits in a food processor bowl.

After that, it’s a simple melt-and-mix recipe.

The dry ingredients get mixed together in a large bowl. Sift the cocoa and icing sugar first if they’re lumpy.

The crushed biscuits, coconut, icing sugar and cocoa being mixed in a glass bowl.

Then the melted butter and rum are mixed in to form a thick, sticky mixture.

Collage of 2 images showing the butter and rum being added, and the mixture being mixed to make a sticky dough.

Then comes the fun bit – rolling the balls!

The rum balls being rolled into balls, and then rolled in coconut or chocolate sprinkles.

I use this handy 1 Tablespoon capacity cookie scoop to quickly portion out the truffle mix, but a very heaped teaspoonful will give you roughly the same amount.

To make the process go faster, I portion out a dozen or so balls onto a plate using the cookie scoop, then roll them into balls and roll them in the coconut or chocolate hail.

Then you just need to chill your gluten free rum balls until they firm up.

Told you it was easy!

Storing the rum balls

They keep for weeks in the fridge, and they can also be frozen, too. Just pop them in an airtight container first, and thaw them (still in the sealed container) on the bench until fully thawed.

Rum balls arranged in a circular pattern on a white plate.

Are you new to gluten-free baking?

Or just need some tips on how to make the most of the recipes on GFKF? Check out my start guide to learn how to bake safely and successfully gluten free.

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Gluten free rum balls in a white bowl on a yellow and blue background.

Gluten Free Rum Balls

These gluten-free rum balls are a quick and easy to make chocolate treat with basic fridge and pantry ingredients, plus a splash of rum. Kid-friendly recipe variation included.
5 from 6 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Makes: 44 truffles

Ingredients

  • 250 g butter
  • 250 g gluten free vanilla or chocolate biscuits
  • 100 g 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 250 g 2 cups icing sugar
  • 60 g 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 or more! teaspoons rum
  • OR
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract + 1 teaspoon of water for kid-friendly truffles
  • Extra coconut and/or chocolate sprinkles for rolling*

Instructions

  • Chop the butter into pieces, place in a microwave-safe jug and microwave in 30-second bursts until just melted. Set aside to cool.
  • Crush the gluten-free biscuits. You can do this by placing them in a resealable plastic bag and whacking with a rolling pin, or alternatively place them in a large bowl and crush with the end of a rolling pin. I like to have them mostly crushed, but leaving some larger pieces is quite nice for a bit of crunch.
  • In a large bowl, place the crushed cookies and the coconut, then sift in the icing sugar and cocoa. Stir to combine.
  • Add the cooled melted butter and vanilla or rum. Stir to combine well. If the mixture looks too dry to roll into balls, then add a little more melted butter (or you can also add a splash of water).
    If it's too wet/soft, you can either add a few more crushed cookies or a little more icing sugar or alternatively place the bowl into the fridge for 10-15 minutes until it firms up. I usually put mine in the fridge and then use the time to tidy the bench and get ready for rolling the balls.
  • Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.
  • Place the extra coconut and/or chocolate sprinkles into small bowls. Roll heaped teaspoons of the truffle mixture into balls, then roll in the coconut or sprinkles and place on the tray.
  • Chill the balls until firm (around 20-30 minutes). Transfer to an airtight container, and store in the fridge. The balls will keep well for a couple of weeks. They can also be frozen for longer storage.

Notes

If you prefer, you can make these balls using a food processor. Place all the dry ingredients into the processor, then add the melted butter and vanilla or rum, and process until the biscuits are crushed and the mixture comes together.
This recipe makes quite a lot of rum balls but can be easily halved if you prefer.
I often make super rum-my balls at Christmas, by adding around 2-3 Tablespoons of rum and adding a few more crushed biscuits to keep the mixture stiff enough to roll.
* I like to roll half of the balls in coconut and half in chocolate sprinkles. It takes about 25g of coconut and 100g of sprinkles when using both.
Don’t have/want to use rum? You could also use whiskey or a flavoured liqueur such as Amaretto (almond) or Frangelico (hazelnut) or Cointreau (orange).
Dairy-free option: Use a dairy-free butter substitute such as Nuttelex or Bakels Baker’s Blend, and dairy-free biscuits. Check the consistency of the mixture, and adjust with more crushed biscuits or coconut if it isn’t firm enough to roll.
Category Gluten Free Party Food
Cuisine New Zealand
Keywords gluten free, kiwi recipe, new zealand, no-bake, rum balls
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