Roar up the heaters and fireplaces because we’re really in the thick of it now. Mid-winter is make or break and it’s time to determine whether I’ll last the distance to Spring unscathed and with all my digits intact. So far so good. I’ve been cold but not as painfully as previous seasons where I’d virtually break my own back because I was tensing up that much from the chill. I’ve even survived through winter mostly in my fave outfit of stockings and black shorts (I’m now too chubby for my jeans). Speaking of the chub… my winter weight has decreased by 600g but my KFC intake has increased tenfold. What gives?
Flu count is at 0, which is a very good thing as I’m one whiny and needy patient when I’m sick. So much so, that it’s a testament to The Captain aka The Nurse, who takes it all in his stride with his unflappable, nurturing skills and a level of patience that is freakishly high. So thank you for not throwing me out on the streets with a box of Codral and tissues to fend for myself during my lowest moments! All in all, I’ve only suffered a few days of sniffles and general wear and tear. Time to sit back and relax and wait for the abundance of sunshine and good old fashion garden frolicking opportunities.
One thing I did finally do was clean out my gas fireplace and fired it up for the first time in years. Ok it’s definitely not as good as a traditional wood fire with its beautiful burning aroma and insane heat but it’s enough to bring out the winter cheer. It’s also a wicked new hiding place for me and my trusty laptop. It’s so nice to not have to type with gloves.
And of course, it’s so ro-man-tic to sit in front of the fireplace under a double snuggie and sip hot chocolate (with love heart marshmallows) while you and your perfect man talk about your feelings and feed each other petit fours. *dreams of a Daniel Craig ‘snuggie-butt’ situation*. OOPS did I just fantasise out loud?
Getting toasty in front of the fire while you’re working in the middle of the night needs sugary nibbles and heartwarming sustenance. Chocolate and alcohol will cater nicely for that. As for the nibbles? This week calls for Rum Balls.
Warning: Incoming text of ‘balls’ and ‘nibbles’. Prepare for the possibility of cheesy innuendos and immature dialogue.
Rum Balls are the perfect bite-sized vehicle for an alcohol hit. Now if there is anyone that can get drunk out of nibbling these balls, it’s me. The lesson here is, don’t think that nobody isn’t going to notice if you’re free-pouring the rum into the mix (it does make for one heck of a Merry Christmas though…). Also if you are giving away these as cute Christmas gifts, no amount of wrapping paper and pretty ribbon is going to disguise the smell of ultra boozy balls.
This was just a run-of-the-mill no-bake recipe that can be found in a lot of Australian food publications circa the 80’s and 90’s. Bottom line, it’s an oldy but goody. Feel free to replace the rum with any spirit (brandy, whiskey) or liqueur (Grand Marnier, Tia Maria, Kahlua or Peppermint Schnapps for a kitschy kick). I made it recently for a Christmas in July feast with Cognac because I ran out of rum and brandy. A decadent fail, I’ll say.
The flavour variations are endless but I highly recommend using the most awesome cocoa powder you can find because the chocolate taste comes solely from it (Dutch-processed is definitely the way to go). Now turn up the heat and cap these Rum Balls off with your favourite hot chocolate recipe while you countdown the winter days. Snuggie and perfect man are optional.
Note: the measurements I always use are 1 Cup = 250ml and 1 Tbl = 15ml
250g of plain sweet biscuits processed into crumbs
4 Tbl of good quality cocoa powder (approx 30g), sifted
1 cup (approx 85g) dessicated coconut
1 x 395g can of sweetened condensed milk
20-40ml dark rum to taste (feel free to replace with your favourite spirit or liqueur or up the ante. Replace with milk for kid-friendly version)
extra sweetened cocoa (sifted), grated chocolate or shredded coconut to roll the balls in
Place biscuit crumbs, cocoa powder and dessicated coconut in a bowl and give it a quick stir to combine. Add condensed milk and rum and stir with wooden spoon until it comes together in a dough. Chill if it has softened.
Roll into small balls with your hands and roll in cocoa powder or decoration of your choice. Place on a baking paper lined baking tray or plate and chill if serving on the day. If it starts to get sticky and melty as you’re rolling, wack it in the fridge to chill and firm up.
If you are preparing these in advance, place the baking tray of formed rum balls in the freezer. When frozen, store them in an airtight container in the freezer. Apparently (don’t take my word for it because I always devour them quicksmart), these Rum Balls will store for a few weeks (perfect for a busy Christmas). Best eaten at room temperature.