Rumballology – the Paul W. Grignon Rum balls

At one point in this recipe it looks too liquid-y to work but bear with it: the results will please you. This is a family Christmas favorite and was discovered by Paul W. Grignon, my father, who accidentally put too much rum in his time-honored rum ball recipe, very much to the delight of his children.

  • 454g (16 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup icing (powdered) sugar
  • 1/2 cup rum (light or dark: a strong flavour doesn’t hurt; Mount Gay is my preferred brand)
  • For garnish any or none of the following: melted chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, coconut flakes or icing sugar mixed with cinnamon

1 – Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave on low power (or a double boiler if you like more dishes). Be very careful if you use a microwave. The chocolate chips tend not to look melted and the tendency is to overheat them. Two or three sets of 3-minutes on power level 3 with a stir between works for me.

2 – Mix the butter into the melted chocolate chips.

3 – Blend in egg and sugar while continually mixing. Sometimes I coddle the egg a bit before if the intended victims are a bit squeamish but it’s not necessary.

4 – The mixture should be cool enough now to carefully stir in the rum: here’s where the recipe get liquid-y. Pour into a container with an air-tight lid and as little head space as possible and put in fridge. Here be the magic part. After several hours (I usually do it overnight) you should have a mixture that’s solid enough to work with.

5 – Scoop out with a spoon and form into balls or whatever shape you like. Then garnish if you like.


My preferred garnish is to use melted unsweetened chocolate. The crisp and bitter outside and sweet rum-ganache inside is delightful and the rum balls don’t ‘melt’ so easily at room temperature. If no coating is chosen then it’s smart to sit the container of rum balls on ice or freezer packs to keep them from melting.

A small but rather embarrassing fire caused by overheating chocolate chips might have resulted in me hurriedly carrying my smoking microwave to my apartment balcony while I ‘entertained’ guests some years ago in Nova Scotia. If you believe the rumour.

Comment below if you find some alternative way to make these: I’d appreciate the ideas.