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The Ultimate Rich, Chocolaty & Boozy No Bake Cookie Dough Balls

by | Aug 18, 2021 | Recipes

With just a handful of ingredients and 20 minutes of your time, you can create a tiny bite of cookie heaven that will have your friends and family hooked in an instant! These rich, Chocolaty Boozy No Bake Cookie Dough Balls are indulgent nuggets of crushed wafer cookies, chocolate, and rum.

Close up of no bake cookie balls rolled in cocoa powder

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I’m a big fan of no bake cookies. The recipes for them are typically very simple. Making them an ideal quick and easy treat for when the sugar cravings strike. Especially on warm weather days where the last thing we want to do is turn on an oven.

These boozy cookie dough balls are ridiculously easy to make and you can customize them in a multitude of ways. They’re inspired by Holiday Rum Cookie Balls (the powdered sugar balls you see on all the cookie trays from your aunties and grandmas around Thanksgiving and Christmas).

Those little balls of boozy goodness are a great start. But I always thought there must be a way to make them even more indulgent. After all, we’re only bringing them out a few times a year to treat ourselves. So why not go full blast with these heavenly little bites, right?

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INGREDIENTS    SWAPS    TIPS & TRICKS    HOW-TO    RECIPE

Rich, Chocolaty & Boozy No Bake Cookie Dough Balls

Now, Holiday Rum Cookie Balls typically call for vanilla wafers, cocoa powder, light corn syrup, nuts, and rum (duh!). My recipe goes one step further in making a rich, craving-worthy no bake cookie bite. Replacing the nuts with chocolate and the powdered sugar with cocoa powder creates the ultimate rich, chocolaty cookie dough balls.

I also add in more booze because, well…simply because I can.

The corn syrup is critical to these no bake cookie dough balls. It’s the binder that holds everything together, like how eggs do in a cookie dough for baked cookies. The corn syrup, together with the rum, hydrate the crushed wafers and cocoa powder. This creates a thick paste that you can easily scoop and mold into bite-sized balls.

cookie balls covered in cocoa

The cookie dough balls are finished by rolling them in a fresh coating of cocoa powder. The cocoa powder coating adds another layer of chocolaty goodness to this simple sweet treat. It also helps ensure that the cookie balls aren’t a sticky mess to eat.

Adding Texture to These Cookie Dough Balls

No bake cookie dough balls can sometimes fall flat. Yes, even despite their boozy nature. This is because the nuts typically included are blitzed into near oblivion. This leaves the dough completely smooth and without any texture. Much like cake pops that look delicious, but feel like wet paste in your mouth when you bite into them. Similar situation.

I wanted to counter this potential situation (and account for those who may not like nuts or be allergic). So, I decided to replace half of the nuts with dried cranberries and the other half of the nuts with part of a chocolate bar. Both the cranberries and chocolate are blitzed in the food processor to break them down into much smaller pieces. These smaller pieces are more favorable to a pleasant mouthfeel.

processed chunks of chocolate

I didn’t want to leave the cranberries whole or the chocolate in large bits the size of a full-size chocolate chip because they would be too large proportionally in the cookie dough balls. Each of the cookie balls is roughly a rounded teaspoon of cookie dough, so relatively small. Therefore, it was imperative to process the dried cranberries and chocolate into much smaller sizes. The result is no bake cookie dough balls that have a consistency similar to a chocolate chip cookie dough.

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Leave a star rating or review in the comments to let me know what you think!

Ingredients For The Ultimate Rich, Chocolaty & Boozy No Bake Cookie Dough Balls

ingredients needed to make chocolate no bake cookie balls
  • Vanilla Wafer Cookies – These are the foundation of the no bake cookie dough balls. They’re rehydrated by the corn syrup and the rum. I like to use Nabisco Nilla Wafers because they produce a better texture than some of the off-brand versions.
  • Chocolate – The chocolate is broken down into tiny bits and added to the cookie dough to level up the rich, chocolaty goodness. They also ensure that your cookie balls don’t lack texture. I prefer to use dark chocolate in this recipe; my favorite is the 60% cacao chocolate from Ghirardelli.
  • Dried Cranberries – The dried cranberries are broken down to help provide texture also. They get partially rehydrated by the corn syrup and the rum. This results in a cookie dough with some substance rather than just a gummy paste.
  • Cocoa Powder – Cocoa powder pulls double duty in this recipe. It provides flavor inside of the cookie balls and also acts as a coating for the rolled cookie dough to ensure the balls aren’t a sticky mess when serving.
  • Rum – Rum provides an added flavoring to these cookie dough balls, giving them a boozy kick that hits at the end.
  • Light Corn Syrup – This clear thick syrup is super sticky. It binds all of the ingredients together and helps them keep their shape once rolled into balls. The longer the syrup is in contact with air, the more it dries out. The corn syrup helps the cookies remain firm on the outside once they’re formed. This makes it easier to finish the cookie dough balls off with a coating of cocoa powder.

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Ingredient Swaps & Variations

  • Other Dried Fruits – If cranberries aren’t your thing, swap them out for dried cherries or some sugared citrus peels for a great pairing with the chocolate of these rich, chocolaty cookie dough balls.
  • Nuts – If you want to dial back the sweetness or (gasp!) the level of chocolate, replace the chocolate or the chocolate and the cranberries with nuts. I would suggest almonds, walnuts, or even pistachios. If you’re a lover of peanut butter and chocolate, you could even swap with peanuts for a winning flavor combination.
  • Other Alcohol – This recipe calls for rum because it was inspired by Holiday Rum Balls, but you can easily swap out the rum for another liquor or even your favorite liqueur. I would suggest whiskey, bourbon, or Cointreau.
  • Flake Coconut – For the finishing coating, you could easily swap out the cocoa powder for some sweetened flaked coconut for more texture and a little tropical flavor note.
  • Sprinkles – If you think the cocoa powder coating would be too messy for you or whoever you’re serving these cookie dough balls to, then swap it out for some sprinkles. Chocolate sprinkles are great for amplifying the chocolaty flavor. Birthday cake sprinkles are great for adding a pop of color to these cookies. You could even do holiday shaped sprinkles for a bit more festive flair.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

Cocoa Powder Coating Pro Tip – To make these no bake cookie dough balls less messy without sacrificing the chocolaty indulgence, I like to roll them in the cocoa powder to finish and then use a mesh strainer to help remove the excess powder. I just roll up the balls, then put 3-4 in the strainer at a time and jiggle them all around until the majority of the excess comes off. This way the cocoa powder is just a light coating.

What to Avoid – Don’t let the outside of the cookies get sticky—refresh them with a light dusting of the cocoa whenever you see that the cocoa has been absorbed by the cookie dough.

inside view of cookie dough balls

Recipe Notes

Storage – Make sure to store these boozy no bake cookies in an airtight glass or plastic container. They’ll stay fresh for 5-7 days.

Servings & Nutrition – One serving of these Rich, Chocolaty & Boozy No Bake Cookie Dough Balls is 1 cookie ball. This recipe makes 24 servings. Each cookie dough ball has approximately 74 calories, 12 g of carbohydrates, 1 g of protein, 2 g of fat, and 9 g of sugar. For the full recipe and additional nutritional information, please see the recipe card below.

How to Make The Ultimate Rich, Chocolaty & Boozy No Bake Cookie Dough Balls

Step 1. Add the vanilla wafer cookies to a food processor and pulse about 12-15 times, or until the wafer cookies are broken down into a fine sand-like consistency. Measure out 1 and 2/3 cup of crushed cookies and add to a large mixing bowl. If there are any processed cookies remaining, pour them out into a separate bowl and set aside.

making boozy cookie balls steps 1 and 2

Step 2. Add the dried cranberries to the food processor and pulse about 10-12 times, or until the cranberries are the a coarse sand-like consistency. Pour the processed cranberries into the large mixing bowl.

Step 3. Break off 2 oz of a chocolate bar and add it to the food processor. Pulse the chocolate approximately 8-10 times, or until the chocolate is broken into tiny pieces about half the size of a pea. Add the processed chocolate to the mixing bowl with the wafers and cranberries.

making boozy cookie balls step 3 and 4

Step 4. Add half of the cocoa powder to the large mixing bowl.

Step 5. Then pour in the rum and corn syrup. Use a large spatula or spoon to stir everything together to thoroughly combine the ingredients. The cookie dough will become a thick paste. Keep mixing until all of the wafer cookies are completely incorporated into the mixture.

step 5 parts a and b of making boozy cookie balls

Step 6. Add the remaining cocoa powder to a wide, shallow bowl. Using a teaspoon, scoop out rounded teaspoons of the cookie dough mixture. Roll the mixture between your hands to shape the mixture into cookie dough balls. Gently place the cookie dough balls in the cocoa powder.

step 6 parts a and b of making boozy cookie balls

Step 7. Using a spoon, roll the cookie balls around in the powder until the balls are fully coated. Repeat until all cookie dough mixture is formed into balls and coated with the cocoa powder.

close up photo of cookie balls covered in cocoa powder
finished cookie dough balls

If you make this recipe, tag me in your photos on Instagram—I love seeing what you guys decided to make!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I swap the chocolate chips with nuts for texture in these cookie dough balls?

Absolutely! I like almonds, but you could use any nuts you like. Other nuts I would suggest include walnuts, peanuts, and pistachios.

Can you make these cookie dough balls ahead of time?

You certainly can, though the longer they sit the more of the cocoa powder coating the cookie dough mixture will absorb. So if you want to make them ahead of time, I would only do so about 1-2 hours before serving unless you’re ok with giving them a cocoa powder refresh just before serving.

Can you freeze these no bake cookie dough balls?

Yes! Follow the recipe as directed except for finishing the cookie dough balls with their cocoa powder coating. Place the cookie balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and freeze until the cookie balls are firm (about 1-2 hours). Then transfer the cookie dough balls to a freezer safe container or ziploc bag. Remove the cookie dough balls from the freezer about 2 hours before you’re ready to serve them. Once thawed, coat the cookie balls with the cocoa powder coating and then serve.

Other Recipes You May Enjoy

Close up of no bake cookie balls rolled in cocoa powder

The Ultimate Rich, Chocolaty & Boozy No Bake Cookie Dough Balls

Yield: 24 cookie balls
Prep Time: 7 minutes
Cook Time: 13 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These rich, boozy no bake cookie dough balls are indulgent nuggets of crushed wafer cookies, chocolate, and rum.

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cup crushed vanilla wafer cookies (about 42 cookies)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate bits (about 2 oz)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 5 tbsp rum
  • 5 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup

Instructions

1. Add vanilla wafer cookies to a food processor and pulse about 12-15 times, or until the wafer cookies are broken down into a fine sand-like consistency.

2. Measure out 1 and 2/3 cup of crushed cookies and add to a large mixing bowl. If there are any processed cookies remaining, pour them out into a separate bowl and set aside.

3. Add the dried cranberries to the food processor and pulse about 10-12 times, or until the cranberries are the a coarse sand-like consistency. Pour the processed cranberries into the large mixing bowl.

4. Break off 2 oz of a chocolate bar and add it to the food processor. Pulse the chocolate approximately 8-10 times, or until the chocolate is broken into tiny pieces about half the size of a pea. Add the processed chocolate to the mixing bowl with the wafers and cranberries.

5. Add half of the cocoa powder to the large mixing bowl and then pour in the rum and corn syrup. Use a large spatula or spoon to stir everything together to thoroughly combine the ingredients. The cookie dough will become a thick paste. Keep mixing until all of the wafer cookies are completely incorporated into the mixture.

6. Add the remaining cocoa powder to a wide, shallow bowl. Using a teaspoon, scoop out rounded teaspoons of the cookie dough mixture. Roll the mixture between your hands to shape the mixture into cookie dough balls.

7. Gently place the cookie dough balls in the cocoa powder and roll them around in the cocoa powder until the cookie dough balls are fully coated. Repeat until all cookie dough mixture is formed into cookie dough balls and coated with the cocoa powder.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1 cookie ball
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 74Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 28mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 1g

This nutrition data is provided and calculated by Nutritionix. Please keep in mind that your specific nutritional values may vary based on the brand of ingredients you use to make this recipe.

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Hey there! I’m Krystal, the sassy-mouthed, self-taught, home cook behind the content here at Sweet, Savory & Sassy. I have a deep love for sharing food with people and showing folks just how easy it really is to make dishes that will bring a little extra joy to those you love. There’s nothing like making something special for friends and family and seeing their face light up in delight during that first bite!
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