Traditional German rum balls aka Rumkugeln are a unique and delicious treat to add to your holiday baking repertoire. This classic recipe has been around for generations and can be made in many different variations. Whether you choose to go the classic route or create your own unique twist, German rum balls are sure to be a hit at any gathering. Read on to learn how to make this classic treat.
If you love traditional Christmas treats then check out our German Christmas recipes and take a look at our German Recipe Advent Calendar where you will get surprised with a new, exclusive German recipe each day. From sweet treats to savory delights, you'll be sure to find something to satisfy your holiday cravings!
What are Rumkugeln aka German rum balls?
German rum balls are delicious rich chocolate truffles with a boozy flavor that are traditionally covered in chocolate sprinkles or cocoa powder.
How to pronounce "Rumkugeln" in German?
Listen to this audio file to hear how to say "Rumkugeln" the right way.
Ingredients & Substitutes
These delicious German chocolate truffles are the perfect sweet treat to satisfy any chocolate lover's craving. They are rich, creamy, and oh-so delicious! The best part is that German rum balls are surprisingly easy to make with just a few simple ingredients.
Chocolate: Make sure to use high-quality chocolate. I use premium chocolate bars to make my German rum balls. The recipe calls for milk chocolate and dark chocolate. I recommend using 75–85% cocoa dark chocolate i.e. from Lindt.
Rum: To make sure that the rum aroma comes through in the truffles, you must use the right type of rum and the right amount of it. When choosing your rum, you should select one that has a high alcohol content. Adding more rum in case you have a lower percentage of alcohol will alter the texture of the chocolate mass, which will make it very difficult to shape the truffles.
Butter: Butter gives these German rum balls the perfect taste and texture. I would not recommend substituting butter.
Sugar: I only use powdered sugar for this recipe as it combines perfectly with the chocolate. You could replace some or all of the sugar with powdered Erythritol.
Chocolate Coating: German rum balls are traditionally coated with chocolate sprinkles or sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Make German Rum Balls
German rum balls, or "Rumkugeln," as they are called in Germany, are a unique and delicious chocolate truffle that is so worth adding to your holiday treat repertoire. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions to learn how is it is to make them from scratch.
Step1: To make the rum balls start by beating the softened butter until it is light and creamy.
Step 2: Then sift the powdered sugar into the butter and continue to beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Step 3: Melt your chocolate in increments using a microwave or use a double boiler instead. Check out the tips below for more details.
Step 4: Then gradually add first the melted chocolate and then the rum to the butter-sugar mix while whisking.
Step 5: Chill the chocolate mass for at least 45-90 minutes or overnight.
Meanwhile, prepare a plate with the ingredients you want to cover your rum balls in. Check the variations section for ideas.
Step 6: To shape the balls, take out a bite-sized amount of the mass with a teaspoon or melon baller and shape into a small ball.
Roll the balls in chocolate sprinkles or sweetened cocoa powder.
The Easiest Way to Melt Chocolate
The easiest was to temper a small batch of chocolate for a recipe is in a microwave. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and place it into microwave and heat in increments.
For best results, I recommend heating this amount of chocolate in the microwave for 30-45 seconds, stirring it, then heating it for another 30 seconds, and then stirring until everything is melted. This way, the chocolate has reached the perfect temperature; there is no need to wait for it to cool down!
This basic recipe for German rum balls can be adjusted with many flavors and coatings.
Coating: Instead of the traditional coating of chocolate sprinkles or cocoa powder you can also use cookie crumbles, chopped nuts, powdered sugar, and coconut flakes. Alternatively you can also dip them like truffles into chocolate.
Flavor: Instead of rum you can also use whiskey, amaretto, or other kinds of alcohol.
Variation without Alcohol: Instead of alcohol you can use cream or milk. You can then additional flavor to the rum balls by adding a few drops of vanilla, orange, lemon or other flavoring.
You will these following kitchen utensils:
- large mixing bowl
- hand mixer
- cutting board
- large kitchen knife
- teaspoon or melon baller
- small heat-proof bowl and microwave or double boiler
- small plate
- disposable plastic gloves (optional)
- airtight container for storage
Keep the rum balls in an airtight container in a cool place. Rumkugeln have a better flavor and texture when served at room temperature. However, if you prefer chocolate straight from the fridge, you should probably keep the rum balls in the refrigerator.
Stored in a cool place, the German rum balls will last for at least 4–6 weeks, but only if you can resist them that long.
My Top Tips
- Use gloves to roll the rum balls; this will make the job way easier and less messy.
- If you chill the chocolate mix overnight, allow the mix to come to room temperature, which is around 68F, before rolling it into balls. This will ensure that the chocolates will be easy to shape without being too hard or too soft.
- Warm hands will soften the chocolate mix, and you might run into problems while shaping. If you roll the rum balls with bare hands and have problems shaping the chocolate mix, rinse your hands occasionally with cold water. but make sure to dry your hands well before starting shaping again.
- If the mix is still too soft to shape after chilling, mix in some ground nuts or cookie crumbles.
- Storing the rum balls a few days before consumption will intensify the rum flavor.
- If the chocolate and the butter are separating, add a teaspoon of milk to the mixture; this should fix the problem.
How to Serve
Rumkugeln have a special place on German Christmas cookie plates. They are also a great treat to enjoy with a cup of hot cocoa or gluhwein after a long walk in the winter wonderland.
German rum balls are a unique and delicious treat that make great gifts for any occasion. Whether you are looking for a special gift for a friend or family member, or just want to treat yourself, these tasty treats are sure to please. Packaged in beautiful gift wrap, German rum balls make a cute and thoughtful present. With their sweet and boozy flavor, these delightful treats are sure to bring smiles to the faces of everyone who receives them.
A WORD OF CAUTION: Even though rum balls may not make you feel the alcohol contained in them, they should only be served to responsible adults. You should ensure that everyone is aware of the presence of alcohol in the rum balls and that they are served responsibly. This means avoiding serving them to anyone who is under the age of 21 or anyone who is not of legal drinking age.
German Rum Balls - Rumkugeln
- ½ cup butter soft
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 4.4 oz. milk chocolate i.e. chocolate bar from Lindt
- 7 oz. dark chocolate 85% i.e. chocolate bar from Lindt
- ⅓ up to ½ cup (120 ml) brown rum use a strong rum, best is 40-80% ABV
- ½ cup chocolate sprinkles or sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder see notes for more variations
- Beat soft butter until creamy.
- Sift powdered sugar to the butter and beat until fluffy and light.
- Break chocolate into small pieces and melt in microwave or double boiler. Allow to cool down to room temperature (about 68F). Stir occasionally and check the temperature.
- Slowly add melted chocolate and rum to the butter-sugar mix while whisking.
- Chill covered for at least 45-90 min. or overnight. If you chill overnight, allow the mass to come to room temperature (about 68F) before you attempt to roll the balls.
- Take out a bite-sized amount of the mixture with a teaspoon or melon baller and shape into a ball. This works best if you are using gloves.
- Place the chocolate sprinkles or cocoa powder on a small plate and carefully roll the rum balls in it to completely cover. (see notes for additional variations)
- Repeat steps 7 and 8 until all balls are rolled.
- Store in an airtight container in a cool room. I don´t recommend storing the rum balls in the fridge. The flavor and the texture are better at room temperature. But if you prefer chocolate right from the fridge you probably want to store the rum balls in the refrigerator.
Storage Tip: I don´t recommend storing the rum balls in the fridge. The flavor and the texture are better at room temperature. But if you prefer chocolate straight from the fridge, you probably want to store the rum balls in the refrigerator.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is very unlikely to get drunk from rum balls. Sure, these festive treats contain a generous ⅓ cup of rum, but when combined with other ingredients and made into so many individual balls, the chance of you actually getting drunk is incredibly low. Unless you're planning on eating all 48 of these rum balls by yourself in one setting, it's not likely that you'll be feeling the effects of the alcohol.
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