Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dark Chocolate Rum Balls

Rum balls are one of those treats that sound great in theory but usually fall short in execution. I think this is because one often encounters them in grocery store trays of over-processed, over-colored “holiday cookie treats.” The rum flavoring is either artificial or absent, and the texture is akin to that of a gummy bear.

And yet they ought to be deliciousness incarnate. I mean, it’s crumbled up cookie or brownie soaked in rum. Surely, I thought, a homemade rum ball would have virtues that their processed kin are lacking. For example, one ought to be able to make rum balls whose flavor bears some relationship to the potent potable in question.

I am proud to report that my first attempt at rum balls proved my hypothesis correct. These dark chocolate rumballs are dense, moist, and abundantly rum-flavored. Basically, you bake a shallow brownie, break it up, dump in some rum, and roll the resultant goo into balls – and then roll them in turbinado sugar.

There’s nothing not to love there. So let’s get to the specifics:

I adapted this from a Martha Stewart Recipe. The husband was out of town for a conference for a few days, and I made these for me and me alone. And yes, it felt decadent.

But since I was the only audience for these treats, I thought it best to halve the recipe. One ingredient I didn’t halve: rum. So these are very moist, and you can really taste the alcohol. If you’re not such a sot as I, you might want to reduce the rum by a tablespoon.

Dark Chocolate Rum Balls

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 eggs
¼ cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark rum
Coarse sanding or turbinado sugar, for rolling

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a small baking sheet (8x8 or 9x9) with cooking spray; set aside. Melt butter and chocolate in a small heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted or microwave butter and chocolate in heatproof bowl until chocolate is melted, stirring at 15 second intervals.

Whisk together eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Add to chocolate mixture, then stir in flour and cocoa powder. Spread evenly into baking sheet and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean but with some crumbs attached, 10-12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, but you don’t have to cool completely.

Break up brownie into small pieces; transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or use a hand mixer. Slowly pour in rum and beat until crumbs start to adhere with rum to form a ball.

Shape into 1-inch balls (mine are 1 ½”), and roll in sanding sugar to coat. Transfer to a baking sheet; refrigerate, uncovered, until cold, about 2 hours. Serve chilled or at room temperature. Makes 18-24.

Printable recipe here.

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