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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Romkugler (Danish rum balls)

I made rum balls (did they actually have rum?) once as a very young child.  I remember being confused where the recipe called for "vanilla wafers" -- did they mean Nabisco 'Nilla Wafers (yes) or those rice paper things layered with sweet icing?  And I remember struggling mightily to stir the stiff dough into uniformity.  That alone intimidated me from ever making them again.  And the results were extremely sweet, even for a child.  

Fast forward to today, to the grown up me with more muscle power but, more importantly, modern appliances.  And a recipe that sounded infinitely more interesting than anything calling for 'Nilla Wafers.  (Much to my dismay, it seems that the blog that is the source for this recipe is now defunct.  You can find her posts on Pinterest, but they no longer link to a recipe.  Too bad -- it was a nice blog.)

These came together quickly and were very easy to make.  Another nice feature is that you can adjust the flavor to your liking during the mixing.  I found them, surprisingly, not sweet enough, so threw in a little more sugar.  I also upped the salt, as Europeans typically barely salt sweet items.

Yield:  20-28 balls.

Here's what I used:

125g rolled oats
75g light muscovado brown sugar + 2 tablespoons
50g finely-shredded, desiccated coconut, plus additional for coating
4 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
4 tablespoons rum
50g butter
4 tablespoons strong coffee or espresso
1 heaping teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 1/2 teaspoon fine salt

Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz to a paste.  Adjust the flavor to your liking.  Tip mixture onto a  sheet of waxed paper and roll into a thick log, about 1.5" in diameter.  Wrap tightly and place in refrigerator for several hours until firm.  When ready to make the rum balls, cut the log lengthwise into quarters.  This will allow you to easily cut off equal portions of the dough to make your preferred ball size.  Roll a portion between your palms into a ball, then roll in the coconut.  Store in an airtight container in a cool location, or refrigerate for longer storage.  (These will soften considerably at room temperature.)

The original recipe didn't call for refrigerating the dough, but I found it less sticky that way.  I didn't add extra water to make up for the missing liquid coffee, but the dough was fine as it was.  I think it would have been very tricky to work with otherwise, although perhaps the oats would have soaked it up quickly.  As it was, the oats were a bit tough initially, but they softened after a day and these were better then.  Best stored in the refrigerator.  They will lose some of their rum impact over time.

Conclusion:  These were good with a nice strong rum and semi-sweet chocolate flavor.

Recipe:  Romkugler via Heike Myers for Les Gateaux Celestes (previously Heavenly Cakes on blogspot.)

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