Last week I blogged about some of my favourite Christmas traditions - gathering with a large group of friends and family to walk through the woods in search of the perfect Christmas tree; building a large beach side bonfire to watch the Carol Ships sailing by at night; and best of all, attending a wonderful Winter Harp concert. All of these are annual Christmas traditions that I look forward to at this time of the year.
Christmas is also about food and each year I’m responsible for organizing my Men’s Group to make about 350 rum balls for the Christmas Cookie Sale at our church. These rum balls are an extremely popular item and are likely the reason why line-ups appear well before the doors open.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Some of the guys in my group barely know how to boil water, so over the years I’ve had to perfect the recipe and simplify the process to ensure that all 350 rum balls are made to the same exacting standards that our door crashing, Christmas cooke sale customers have come to expect. Herewith, is my not so secret, favourite Christmas recipe…
You only need six ingredients so gather the following together:
- 2 1/2 cups of Vanilla Wafers (you could also use chocolate or Graham)
- 1 1/2 cups of walnuts (Martha Stewart likes to toast these for extra flavour)
- 1 cup of powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup of dark rum
- 1/4 cup of corn syrup
Dump the first four ingredients into a food processor and whirl it all together until you get a loose crumb. Pour this into a large bowl and set aside. Add the last two ingredients into a smaller bowl and mix well. Add the wet to the dry mixture and mix until the liquid is completely absorbed and a large dough ball can be formed. Add more rum if you need but only a tablespoon at a time. Refrigerate for half an hour or so. Make yourself a cup of coffee while you’re waiting. You can add a drop or two of rum… just for quality control, mind you.
The size of the rum balls is a matter of individual choice. We usually get 30-40 rum balls from this recipe but church cookie sales are a serious business and we’re not giving them away. Start by dividing the big dough ball into 4 parts – you should get 8-10 balls from each quarter.
Now comes some fun. Pour a little cocoa powder into a cereal bowl and drop in one or two rum balls. Twirl the bowl around and Voilà… the rum ball is coated with cocoa. You can do this with some powdered sugar as well, or even some ground nuts that you’ve toasted, just like Martha.
Rum Balls mature in flavour with age so start early and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator for at least a few days before serving. I like to wrap them in some cheese cloth that I’ve soaked in a little more rummmmm….