Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Best Rumballs

the Best Rum BallsCalling these the "Best Rum balls" is a personal opinion, and in all honesty I haven't eaten a tone of Rum Balls. What I do know is that these are great! Before this recipe I only made Rum Balls because my wife forced me to for the holiday season, hence I was out to make something with the concept of a Rum Ball but much more to my liking. This meant, a little less rum (let's face it, if you want to get drunk, Rum Balls are not going to do it for you, hence you just want the flavour from the rum and you do not want the rum to overpower the dessert), a more delectable chocolate component (stolen from a truffle centre) and a little spice to play off the rum. These are definitely in the Christmas baking line up from here on.

The Recipe: The Best Rum Ball
Makes 24, total time 45 minutes

pinch of finely ground sea salt
1 cup of graham cracker crumbs (double if not adding the nuts)
1 cup of roasted almond crumbs (1 1/2 cups if starting with raw whole almonds, see below)
3 ounces of milk chocolate
2 tbsp of butter
2 tbsp of heavy cream
3 tbsp of dark rum
pinch of cayenne (not too much, we don’t want heat, we are just adding it to punch the flavours with the sea salt as these are always served cold)
1/4 tsp of fresh ground nutmeg
1 tbsp of corn syrup

4 tbsp of icing sugar or cocoa powder for coating the outsides of the Rum Balls

To roast the almonds, add about 1 1/2 cups of raw almonds to a cookie sheet and place in the oven for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees. When they are done the inside will be a darker brown, but the outside should not have burnt.

Place the cooled almonds in your food processor and buzz them until the size of large bread crumbs. Careful you do not buzz them too much or they will make a paste.

making Rum Balls with BennyCombine the almonds, graham cracker crumbs and sea salt in a mixing bowl.

In a sauce pan, melt the chocolate and butter over very low heat while stirring. Remove the pan from the heat just before it is melted and continue stirring until completely melted.

Stir in the cream, rum, corn syrup, cayenne and nutmeg.

Add the chocolate mixture to the mixing bowl and stir until smooth. Place the mixture in the fridge for about ten minutes if it is too mucky to form balls.

Using your hands roll balls about the 3/4 of an inch high. Roll the ball in a dish of either cocoa powder or icing sugar.

Place in the freezer and enjoy directly out of freezer! These will get better with time if you can wait long enough.

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Blondie Train Cake

Blondie Train with Chocolate ChunksAlthough these blondies can be made without the train mould, the mould adds a lot of fun and a gourmet feel to a pretty easy recipe. Using a blondie recipe instead of a cake recipe for the train mould also gives you the benefit of not having to use icing, so you retain the details of the train.

The Ingredients: Blondie Train Cake with Chocolate Chunks
Serves about 18, prep time 10 minutes, cook time 25 minutes

2 cups of flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp finely ground sea salt
½ cup of butter at room temperature
¾ cup of sugar
¾ cup brown sugar
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 milk chocolate bar (100 grams) coarsely chopped
Icing sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Blondie DoughIn a large bowl, combine sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and butter. Mix with an electric mixer until smooth. Continue to blend while adding each egg.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt. Sift into the wet ingredients and mix until smooth.

Add the milk chocolate and stir in evenly.

Grease the train mould with butter using a paper towel to get all the details and gently dust with flour using a sifter or sieve.

Add the mixture to one train car at a time and fill each car about ¾ high. This batter should make enough for the entire train; however make sure you fill the engine and caboose first just in case you do not have enough batter!
Blondie Dough in Train Tin
Bake for 25 minutes, remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. With a long knife, gently trim any blondie that has risen higher than the train mould.

Place a cutting board or cookie sheet on top of the mould and carefully flip the mould over. Each train should come out quite easily!

For a neat winter effect, dust with icing sugar — put about 3 tbsp of icing sugar in a fine sieve and tap while holding the sieve over the train.

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