~ Boozy Confection: Coconut Rum & Walnut Balls ~
In my lifetime, I can't recall a holiday season without encountering these boozy little sweet treats somewhere. As a child, one of our neighbors, Agnes, always served rum balls at her Christmas party and we kids made a point of sneaking a few when the adults weren't looking. As an adult, I typically serve them alongside my rum-laced eggnog to ring in the New Year. If there is a person who doesn't like a chocolatey rum ball rolled in coconut, I've yet to meet him or her.
Rum balls are on my top 5 list of "easiest holiday confections".
Rum balls couldn't be easier to make -- they get quickly mixed together, rolled in coconut then stashed in the refrigerator for a few days to develop their flavor. This is Agnes's recipe, but, I don't think it was exclusive to her, meaning: I don't think she made them any differently than anyone else -- the rum balls I ate growing up pretty much all tasted the same -- fantastic. Times change and people change, but rum balls, the old-fashioned ones that our grandmother's made from five simple ingredients, remain the same -- a staple on almost every holiday dessert table.
Note: This is Agnes's exact ingredients list. That said, I've updated the recipe to make use of my food processor to finely process/pulverize the chocolate wafers, coconut and walnuts.
6 ounces sweetened, flaked coconut, about 2 1/2 cups total throughout recipe
4 ounces walnuts, about 1 cup lightly-ground walnuts
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
6 tablespoons rum*, light or dark (Note: I like to use Malibu coconut-flavored rum.)
*Note: To make an alcohol-free version, substitute 2 tablespoons butter-rum flavoring for rum.
~ Step 1. Break the cookies into bits and pieces and place them in the work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Using a series of 40-45 rapid on-off pulses, process to crumbs. Transfer cookie crumbs to a large bowl. Place the coconut in the same work bowl. Using a series of 10-15 rapid on-off pulses, process to smaller bits and pieces. Place 1 1/2 cups of the coconut in the bowl with the cookie crumbs and reserve the rest (the rum ball will get rolled in the reserved coconut). Repeat the process with the walnuts, using 10-15 rapid on-off pulses and transfer them to the bowl with the cookie crumbs and coconut.
~ Step 2. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in in the sweetened condensed milk and the Malibu rum. Mix thoroughly. Place in a 1-quart food storage container, cover and refrigerate for 4-6 hours or overnight. Overnight is best.
~Step 3. Using a 1 1/4" ice-cream scoop as a measure, between the palms of your hands, form into balls and roll each one in the reserved 1 cup of coconut. Place side-by-side on a large baking pan, OR, place in small cupcake papers and place side-by-side on a large baking pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-5 days, to develop their flavor, prior to serving.
Refrigerate for 3-5 days to allow the rum flavor to develop:
Special Equipment List: kitchen scale (optional); food processor; large rubber spatula; 1 1/4" ice-cream scoop; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pan; parchment paper; plastic wrap; small-sized candy/mini-cupcake papers
Cook's Note: I like to keep stress to a minimum during the holidays and accomplish as many tasks ahead of time as I can. Another one of my simple pleasures at this time of year is my recipe for ~ A Make Christmas Morning Hot Chocolate ~. You can find the recipe in Categories 9, 11 or 16.
"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti
(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2016)