Sunday, May 20, 2012

Little Balls of Heaven- Guest Post by Ak

As the saying goes, sometimes the best things come in small sizes. Fortunately for me, being the lesser talented cook in the relationship, they are also easy to make and very useful for scoring the occasional brownie points with family. We have a penchant for entertaining, and take it very seriously - lists & menus are drawn up days in advance, and although my contribution is usually limited, this time I happened to be home during the afternoon when all the chaos action was taking place. The occasion was the anniversary of my in-laws and although there were already 2 desserts planned and in process, I decided that some amount of chocolate & alcohol was also in order.

Rum balls seemed like the perfect thing to do for multiple reasons. We had all the ingredients readily available, the lovely online lady suggested I would be done in a matter of minutes and much of the work could be done outside the kitchen, which looked like a war zone. So, even though this is traditionally a Christmas time treat, & we are approaching peak summer in Delhi, this combined two of the most potent entertaining ingredients in the world, what could go wrong? I got right to it.

I finely blended some whole almonds, toasted them - easy peasy till I realized I should have done it the other way round, but I assume it couldn't have made much difference. Next were the biscuits, also in the blender, till I had them in crumbs. Having access to all of my wife's awesome baking stuff was useful - measuring cups, cocoa, castor sugar - you name it, it was there. Added the honey (substituted for the originally suggested corn syrup) & the Rum (I used gold rum, not white). Gave the whole thing a little mixing and voila, I had the batter ready. These are no-bake, so they are essentially candies and I thought I was essentially done. I popped it into the fridge to let it set and become a little less sticky. I also found some 3/4" cupcake liner baking paper cups(there is probably a better way to describe them) that we had picked up from IKEA that seemed like the perfect receptacles. I had visions of guests squabbling over the last ones and comparing them to Anthon Berg liqueur chocolates..


However, when I took out the batter and commenced rolling, I was in for a bit of a reality check. My lovely online lady had obviously rolled a lot of these in her time, because it is NOT EASY. They were constantly disintegrating, would all come out a slightly different size and worse, left a rummy honey coating on my palms that would make them stick to my hands when rolling. And even though I had pragmatically made half the batter she had suggested to minimize my work, they were still a lot of them to be rolled. After the best part of the hour and feeling slightly woozy from all the rum in the air, I was done. I had 35-40 1inch down(this is a construction industry term used to specify that all the objects have to be less than 1inch) rum balls.

Then came the toppings. Again, I was spoiled for choice by the ingredients available and I went for cinnamon, icing sugar, melted chocolate and cocoa. Although the cocoa ones looked the best to start with, the cocoa would slowly get absorbed by the rum and honey and the balls would like they had no covering at all till you had one. The cinnamon ones tasted the best by popular opinion, but I thought the chocolate covered ones held the ball in place better than the others. It's probably not an issue with expert rollers, but it gave me some assurance that the ball would not disintegrate in the grip of whoever picked one up. Till I tried to pick it from the plate to put into the cupcake liner baking paper cup. It literally snapped in half, because the chocolate had hardened over the plate as well. So the next lot were delicately scraped off and they survived. Once they were all in the cupcake liner baking paper cups, I popped them in the fridge to let them set.

Recipe

3/4 cups (75 grams) toasted almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cups (50 grams) finely crushed vanilla wafer cookies
1/4 cup (25 grams) castor sugar (powdered or icing)
1 tablespoon (10 grams) cocoa powder
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup (60 ml) Gold Rum


Toppings
Castor Sugar
Cinnamon Powder
Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Melted Chocolate (Dark)

The original recipe did mention that these are slightly rummy, after all they are Rum Balls. They do get better with age, as the ingredients soak up the rum and honey even more, so I suggest making a whole lot of them and stashing them in the fridge to have as the weeks go by. However, only when you have one does the peculiarity of the sensation come through. The sweet elements mask the alcohol while on the palate, but as the whole thing goes down, the whiff comes through as a strong aftertaste. All I can say is

Very Potent Indeed. 

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