This year will be our third Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere and the big roast turkey and steaming bowl of brussels sprouts along with all the other trimmings is now a given on our Christmas dinner table. We would love a proper white Christmas but that hasn’t happened yet so we make up for it with the Doctor Who Christmas Special and of course the Queen’s Christmas address on the BBC each year.
We’ve held on to a few Aussie traditions and most of them are in the form of munchies out on the table from early Christmas morning (after all if you can’t eat dessert straight after breakfast on Christmas then when can you?). I’m going to share our standard table spread of yummy home made goodies over the next few weeks. First up is my personal favourite, Rum Balls! They are really easy to make, versatile and freeze really well for at least a month (they don’t last long around here, so I can’t vouch for longer than a month). They’ll keep in the fridge for 5 days.
A few quick variations: I usually use biscuit/cookie crumbs in my rum balls but this time I used 8 Weet Bix (Weet-a-Bix) and they worked out great (and high fibre to boot!). If you’re making for children and would rather not use alcohol in them then you can leave out the rum all together and they’ll just be chocolate balls. You could also make peppermint balls by leaving out the rum and using peppermint essence (about 1 teaspoon worked well for me). Rum essence will give you a similar flavour (check the instructions on the bottle for quantities to replace 2 Tablespoons/30mL’s of Rum) without the alcohol content.
- 250g (8.8oz) packet of Sweet Plain Biscuits (I use Nice Biscuits but Milk Arrowroots or Digestives work too)
- 3 Tablespoons of Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
- 30mL’s (2 U.S Tablespoons) of Rum (I used dark rum)
- 1/2 a cup of Desiccated (Shredded) Coconut
- 395g (14 oz) can of Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 2/3 cup of Sultanas
- an extra 3/4 cup of Shredded Coconut for rolling your balls in
1/ If you have a food processor this recipe is particularly easy, just throw your biscuit in until they’re finely crushed. If however like me you regularly put your poor blender to the test blending up things it wasn’t intended for then a sealable plastic baggy and a rolling-pin works well too
2/ Place your biscuit crumbs in a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients (putting the extra 3/4 cup of coconut aside for later)
3/ Stir all the ingredients together until evenly combined. If your mixture is too sticky then place your bowl into the fridge for 30 minutes so it’s a little more manageable. If your mix is still very gooey then a little extra coconut will help to hold it together
4/ Roll teaspoons of the mixture into balls between your palms and roll them in the shredded coconut. I like to plant myself in front of the telly for this step because quite frankly it’s a little boring and everything’s better with How I Met Your Mother
5/ Place the balls on a grease-proof paper lined baking tray and leave them to set in the fridge
6/ Before serving mould them back into perfect balls
We like to keep ours in a sealed container in the freezer. They tend to hold their shape better and it’s a good way to stop yourself downing 6 of them on the way to the table. Leave to defrost on your serving platter/plate for 5 minutes and dig in!
* Recipe used is the Exclusively Food’s Rum Ball Recipe