Christmas rum balls
- 1kg stale sponge cake (or pandoro)
- 80g good-quality cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup raisins or craisins (dried cranberries), roughly chopped
- 200g dark chocolate
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plum, strawberry or seedless raspberry jam
- 1/3 cup dark rum
- 1/2 cup desiccated coconut, to finish
Popped into a giftbox or ribbon-wrapped jar, these rum balls make a lovely gift at Christmas time. They are also a good crowd-pleaser at parties and can be served as an after-dinner treat. They don't have to be kept in the fridge but will hold their shape better if they are kept chilled, especially if you're making them in advance.
|To make the rum ball mixture
|Tear the cake into pieces and put it through a food processor to form cake crumbs. Put the crumbs into a large mixing bowl with the cocoa and raisins.
Melt the dark chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Once melted, add the jam and rum. Pour the warm liquid over the cake crumbs and mix with a metal spoon until all the ingredients are well combined.
|To form the rum balls
|Line the base of a shallow baking tray with desiccated coconut.
Test to make sure the rum ball mixture is not too warm to handle. If so, allow it to cool just a little, but do not refrigerate it or the mixture will harden and the coconut won't adhere.
Take a small portion of the mixture and roll it into a walnut-sized ball using the palms of your hands (expect to get a bit chocolatey and buttery). Put the ball onto the coconut. Repeat until the tray is three-quarters full. Shake the tray so the rum balls roll around and are completely covered in the coconut. Transfer to a storage container and sprinkle some extra coconut over the balls to prevent them from sticking together. Repeat the process, topping up the coconut as required.
|COOK'S TIP: if you don't like coconut, the rum balls can be dusted with rich dark cocoa powder, giving them a more sophisticated, sometimes almost bitter, taste depending on the cocoa powder you use. If using this option, cool the rum balls to room temperature on a flat tray before dusting because the cocoa will be absorbed into the balls if they are too soft and sticky.