Friday, October 17, 2008

Not Just for Christmas!

We were invited to a friend's house for some food and fun while we watch a hockey game. We were asked to bring something for dessert, so I thought long and hard about what would be a good dessert. Rum balls came to mind. They're normally a treat enjoyed during the Christmas season, but I don't see why we shouldn't have them whenever we want! This is an easy recipe to follow and is a lot of fun to make. You can even substitute any kind of nuts or alcohol that you like, or you can leave out the nuts for those with allergies. Play with the recipe and make it your own!

Rum Balls

3 cups crushed vanilla wafers
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons corn syrup
1 1/2 finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup rum

  1. Using a blender or a food processor, crush the vanilla wafers into a powder like bread crumbs. You can use vanilla wafers with the creme filling if you like your rum balls a bit sweeter, otherwise you can use plain vanilla wafers without the filling. These can be found at your local bulk food store. You can even experiment with different flavors of wafers like chocolate or strawberry.
  2. Using the blender or food processor, finely chop the walnuts (or whatever nuts you choose to use). If you like a bit of crunch in your rum balls, leave the nuts a bit chunkier. If you like them smooth, then chop them until they turn to a powder.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed wafers, icing sugar, cocoa powder and nuts. Then blend in the corn syrup and rum.
  4. Using about 1 teaspoonful of the mixture, shape it into 1-inch balls. You can roll the balls in sweetened cocoa powder or icing sugar. I learned the hard way that coconut and sprinkles don't stick very well unless you dip the balls in more alcohol or cover them in melted sugar first.
  5. Store the balls, refrigerated, in an airtight container for several days to develop the flavor. Roll again in icing sugar or cocoa powder before serving. Makes approximately 30 balls.
This is a versatile recipe and you can change the ingredients around to suit your tastes. I divided up the recipe into thirds and made two of the batches with almonds and the other with walnuts. I used rum in the walnut batch, triple sec (orange flavored liqueur) with one of the almond batches and amaretto (almond flavored liqueur) with the other. But you can use anything you like. Try it with pecans, hazelnuts, pistachios, or whatever you like. You can even make the balls a bit more exotic by using alcohol like Bailey's or Kahlua. Have fun playing with the recipe!