Cookie Extravaganza: Romkugler


Photo: Madison Leiren
These chocolate-rum balls are a riff on a Danish romkugler and can easily be adapted to be gluten-free!


While the women have historically been the bakers in the family, my father is the king of rum balls and bourbon balls. These truffle-like confections pack quite a punch (he makes them strong), and it’s always a treat to get a tin of his confectioners’ sugar-coated specialty to keep in the fridge for whenever the mood strikes. This is a riff on his recipe.

Excerpt from Modern Scandinavian Baking by Daytona Strong, published by Rockridge Press. Copyright © 2020 by Callisto Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

Romkugler (Chocolate-Rum Balls)

Dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free variation

1 packed cup crumbled vanilla wafers or sugar cookies*
1 cup finely chopped pecans
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more for coating
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
6 tbsps. rum
1 1/2 tbsps. maple syrup

  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the cookie crumbs, pecans, confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, and espresso powder.
  2. Pour in the rum and maple syrup and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  3. Chill for at least 30 minutes, then form the mixture into 3/4-inch balls and roll in confectioners’ sugar.
  4. Store in the refrigerator and keep chilled until ready to serve. These should last for several weeks.

*Variation tip: To make these gluten-free, simply choose a variety of dense gluten-free butter or sugar cookies and a brand of confectioners’ sugar that’s made without gluten.

Notes: While I use a food processor to crumble the cookies and chop the nuts, I wouldn’t recommend using it to mix the dough entirely—you want the cookies and nuts to retain a hint of their texture.


But you mustn’t stop with just one kind of Christmas cookie! Browse our recipes to fill your holiday table with at least syv slags!

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The Great Norwegian Christmas Cookie Extravaganza


This article originally appeared in the Nov. 27, 2020, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Daytona Strong

Daytona Strong was formerly the editor of the Taste of Norway for The Norwegian American. She writes about her family’s Norwegian heritage through the lens of food at her Scandinavian food blog, Find her on Facebook (, Twitter (@daytonastrong), Pinterest (@daytonastrong), and Instagram (@daytonastrong).