Rum balls are the perfect
adult indulgence. These sweet and chewy no-bake cookies, or should I say
candies, are a mixture of crushed cookie crumbs, cocoa powder,
confectioners sugar, light corn syrup (liquid glucose syrup), and rum. Sylvia Lovegren
tells us in her book Fashionable Food that baked goods laced with alcohol were all the rage
in the 1960s, especially Rum and Bourbon Balls. Essentially these two
recipes are the same; the only difference being the type of alcohol. Rum
Balls are especially popular during the holiday season.
There are a few
ways to maximize the flavor of Rum Balls. First, I recommend
toasting the nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, or hazelnuts) to bring out their wonderful flavor. Then you can
either chop them finely with a knife or you can process them in your
food processor. Just make sure you do not process the nuts into a paste. While many recipes call for finely crushed
vanilla wafers, you can use crushed shortbread cookies, graham cracker crumbs,
crushed Digestive Biscuits, crushed ginger cookies, crushed chocolate
wafers, or even leftover cake.
When it comes to the other ingredients in this recipe, cocoa powder means
either unsweetened natural or Dutch-processed. To bind all the dry
ingredients together we add corn syrup and rum. Corn Syrup is a thick,
sweet syrup made from cornstarch that is available both clear (light) and
brown (dark). It is sold in glass or plastic bottles. If you cannot find
light corn syrup, you can use liquid glucose syrup, golden syrup, or honey
in its place. Rum means dark, white, or
light. In fact, although these are called rum balls you could make bourbon
balls simply by replacing the rum with bourbon. If you do not want to add
alcohol, simply replace it with orange or apple juice.
You will probably notice
that after mixing the ingredients together, the batter can be quite sticky. To
prevent your hands from becoming a mess, chill the batter for at least 30
minutes before forming into balls. There are so many ways to garnish Rum
Balls. They can be dipped in melted chocolate (dark or white), or you can
roll them in confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, cocoa powder,
sprinkles, or even finely chopped nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts,
or pistachios). Rum Balls mature in flavor with age. So store for at least
a few days before serving, so their flavors have time to mingle and
soften. Make sure to store the rum balls in a covered container in the
refrigerator. They will keep for several weeks.
To toast nuts: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place the oven rack in
the center of the oven. Put the pecans on a baking sheet and bake
for about 8 minutes, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Let cool
completely and then chop the nuts finely with a knife or place the nuts in your food
processor and pulse until finely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl.
vanilla wafer cookies in the food processor until finely ground. Add the crumbs
to the finely chopped pecans. To this mixture add the confectioners sugar and
cocoa powder and stir until combined. Add the corn syrup and rum and mix
well. Add more rum if necessary. Chill the batter and then shape into 1 inch
(2.5 cm) balls.
Then roll the rum
balls in confectioners sugar, finely chopped nuts, or cocoa powder. If dipping
in chocolate, put about 4 ounces (120 grams) of chopped dark chocolate and 1
teaspoon of shortening or butter in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of
simmering water. Once melted, remove from heat and dip the balls, one at a time,
in the melted chocolate, making sure the entire ball is coated with chocolate.
Then, with two spoons or a dipping fork, remove the rum balls from the melted
chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the
chocolate covered balls on a baking sheet. When all the balls have been dipped
in the chocolate, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. Once
the chocolate has hardened you can drizzle the rum balls with 1 ounce (30 grams) melted white chocolate.
Can be stored in
an airtight container in the refrigerator for several weeks.
Makes about 40 rum balls.
Preparation time 30 minutes.
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