Jan’s Christmas Rum Balls

Adapted from Joy of Cooking

Every Christmas Jan, Myr and Eilene make Rum Balls to give to our friends. Originally they followed the recipe in Joy of Cooking, but a few years ago they started to make changes (adding a little instant coffee, rolling them in cocoa powder rather than sugar, using other liquors rather than rum).

Rum Balls

This year they went a little over the top, but to wild success. They still maintained most of the proportions of the original recipe, but they did strange things to the ordinarily plain ingredients, like rum infused with coffee or spices, and adding crystallized orange peel.

Jan has broken the recipe into two parts, the cookie base mix and the additions.  You can make several batches of the base mix and then make several very different cookies depending on what you add to the mix. You may easily scale up the measurements and process enough cookie base mix so that it will be ready to make many batches.

Jan uses graham crackers in her cookie base mix, but the original recipe says you can use toasted sponge cake or zwieback as well.  All that is important is that your cookie base be: dry, crumbly, not too strongly flavored, and that it sticks together well, without getting mushy, when moist. Also, Jan uses almonds, but you could use whatever nuts you prefer.

Note: If you are going to use rum infusions you should make them several hours, if not days, before you plan to make the cookies.

Note 2: I notice a pattern of several of my readers are of English and Australian origin.  If you do not already know—graham crackers are what Americans call digestive biscuits. The graham flour is finer milled and it is slightly sweeter than the British kind, but they should work just as well.

Jan’s Christmas Rum Balls

Cookie Base Mix

Ingredients

2 cups crushed graham crackers (8 cups for 4 batches)
1 cup finely ground almonds (4 cups)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar (4 cups)
1/8 tsp. salt (½ tsp.)

Directions

1. Crush or grind the graham crackers into a fine meal.  We use a rotary grater that you cannot get as a standalone these days. It has a feeding tube that leads to a cylindrical rotating grater that quickly turns crackers and nuts into a fine meal.  If you have a large counter mixer you can get this as an attachment that fits on the front of your machine. If not, a box grater, a rolling pin or a few pulses in a food processor might do.  A blender would make the cracker (and nut) meal too fine and I don’t recommend it.

2. Once the crackers are turned into meal, measure out 2 cups per batch and place it in a large bowl.

3. Crush or grind the nuts into a fine meal.  Measure out 1 cup per batch and place it in the large bowl.

4. Add the sugar and salt to the bowl and mix well to evenly distribute the ingredients.

 

Coffee Infused Rum Balls

Ingredients

4 cups Cookie Base Mix
1 ½ Tbs. honey (warmed)
¼ cup Coffee infused rum (see directions)
Kailua (as necessary)

1 ½ Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
1 ½ Tbs. cocoa powder

Directions

1. Several days before making the cookies put ¼ cup of rum in a small jar and add ¼ cup of fresh ground coffee beans.  Just before making the cookies strain the rum through a coffee filter.  If necessary add Kailua to make a ¼ cup.

2. Place the Base mix in a medium bowl, pour the honey over it and add the rum. Mix by hand until the batch is moist, but crumbly.

3. Take about 1½ to 2 Tbs. of mix in your hand. Squeeze and roll it into a 1 inch ball. If the mix is too dry to stick together easily, add a little Kailua and try again.

4. Mix the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder together on a small plate and roll the finished balls in it to coat them.

Spice Infused Rum Balls

Ingredients

4 cups Cookie Base Mix
1 ½ Tbs. honey (warmed)
¼ cup spice infused rum (see directions)
St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram (as necessary)

2 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

1. Several days before making the cookies put ¼ cup of rum in a small jar and add 12 crushed cardamom pods, 6 whole cloves and a stick of cinnamon.  Just before making the cookies strain the rum through a coffee filter.  If necessary add St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram to make a ¼ cup.

2. Place the Base mix in a medium bowl, pour the honey over it and add the rum. Mix by hand until the batch is moist, but crumbly.

3. Take about 1½ to 2 Tbs. of mix in your hand. Squeeze and roll it into a 1 inch ball. If the mix is too dry to stick together easily, add a little St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram and try again.

4. Mix the confectioners’ sugar and cinnamon together on a small plate and roll the finished balls in it to coat them.

 Grand Marnier Balls

Ingredients

4 cups Cookie Base Mix
½ cup candied orange peel
1 ½ Tbs. honey (warmed)
¼ cup Grand Marnier

Directions

1. Very finely dice the orange peel.

2. Place the Base mix in a medium bowl, add the orange peel and pour the honey over it and add the Grand Marnier. Mix by hand until the batch is moist, but crumbly.

3. Take about 1½ to 2 Tbs. of mix in your hand. Squeeze and roll it into a 1 inch ball. If the mix is too dry to stick together easily, add a little more Grand Marnier and try again.

4. It is not necessary to coat these balls in sugar.

3 Comments

Filed under Desserts & Treats, Treats

3 responses to “Jan’s Christmas Rum Balls

  1. Pingback: Karl’s Orange Infused Sugar | Jabberwocky Stew

  2. Pingback: Jan’s Christmas Rum Balls | Jabberwocky Stew

  3. Pingback: Miriam’s Christmas Whiskey Balls | Jabberwocky Stew

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s