Expat Rum Balls

Steve and I are having a dessert party tomorrow.  We invited people to bring enough of their favourite home-made or store bought dessert to share with 6-8 others.  We’re providing tea, coffee, egg nog, wassail, non-alcoholic punch and of course a couple of desserts of our own.

One of mine is rum balls.  I used to make bourbon balls at Christmastime when I lived in the US, but decided to make them with rum instead, mainly so I could try hot buttered rum with the leftover alcohol.

One of my early Christmas presents is a 1000-watt US to UK step down transformer!  Most of my kitchen appliances are on US voltage.  I have a little 200-watt transformer that quite happily powers my hand mixer, blender and Kitchenaid stand mixer, but it can’t quite handle my food processor.  I can sometimes manage to puree some foods, while blowing out 2-3 fuses in the process.  Mine and the transformers’.    I normally get by with my mortar and pestle, blender, moulinex, mezzaluna or using brute force and a rolling pin, but some foods cry out for the blades of a food processor, eg pureed pumpkin, ground almonds, tapenade.

The new transformer tips the scales at 8 kilos/17 pounds, so it lives like a benign troll on the shelf beneath our hinged work surface.  Out of the way and handy when I need it.

We used it twice tonight.  To grate apples for Steve’s grated apple pie and to crush digestive biscuits for the rum balls.  McVitie’s to crumbs in 60 seconds flat!  I’ve adapted the recipe for these potent delights using British ingredients.

Expat Rum Balls

  • 2 1/2 cups McVitie’s digestive biscuits, crushed (a 250g package equals 2 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Cadbury Bournville cocoa
  • 1 1/4 cups icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum (or bourbon)
  • 2 tablespoons Lyon’s golden syrup
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped

Sift the cocoa with 1 cup sugar.   Stir in the rum mixed with the syrup.  Add crushed biscuits and nuts.  Mix thoroughly.
Shape the mixture into walnut sized balls and roll in the remaining sugar.

These babies can be made several days in advance and they supposedly mellow as the sharp strong alcohol taste blends with the other ingredients (if they can be left for that long!).  Store in an airtight container.


2 thoughts on “Expat Rum Balls

  1. Thank you so much for such a fabulous recipe!

    I have just made some up to take with us to a twilight concert at the Melbourne zoo (they are hardening in the freezer) – I can see that they will be a real hit tonight!
    I didn’t have all of the ingredients, so substituted the pecans for walnuts, and golden syrup for another slug of Bundaberg rum and they turned out perfectly.

    I reckon I would have made around 40, but with constant testing and analysis of the ingredients, this amounted to slightly less, but this recipe is definitely going to become a favourite.

    Many thanks again – you might have to post your hot buttered rum up on your blog – I have never heard of that.


    • Kate, glad you like them! The nature of the recipe is substitute and experiment. They are supposedly even better in a few days time, but I’m darned if they last more than a day or so!! Hot buttered rum recipe is in line, but aren’t you all in the midst of a heat wave??

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