Every year for the holidays, my roommate (cough, aka The Hubbs) makes gingerbread cookies and rum balls. He gets a special thrill out of using bizarre, non-Christmas-related cookie cutters, like squirrels and the U.S. of A. and a ninja throwing star (which looks like a flower to me. And a dog bone shape, which really creeps people out when he is trying to give them cookies.
I’m not sure if I’d had a rum ball before he started whipping them up each December. But we took them to a holiday party last night, and they were a hit. Especially paired with homemade eggnog from my friend Karlie. (Sorry, I don’t have that recipe, but it was DE-LISH.) Rum balls are chocolate-y and rum-y and rolled in sugar. Is there anything objectionable in that combination?
And what about the gingerbread cookies? They are ginger-spicy and tender and really flavorful. Not too sweet — and perfect with hot cocoa.
So here we are. You want to know what’s in a rum ball, right? I will confess: I don’t have anything to do with this annual holiday baking process. But I’ll still give you the recipes, because I love you, Internet. I really do.
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/3 cup shortning
- 1 1/2 cup shortening
- 1 1/2 cup dark molasses
- 2/3 cup cold water
- 7 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground allspice
- 1 tsp. ground cloves
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Mix brown sugar, shortening, molasses and water. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Heat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheet (or use parchment paper or a silicone sheet). Roll about 1/4 of the dough 1/4 inch thick on floured board. Cut with cookie cutters. Bake 10 to 12 minutes. Cool and frost, if your little heart desires. Makes 2/12 dozen cookies.
- 3 cups finely crushed vanilla wafers
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1/2 cup rum
- 1/4 cup light corn syrup
- Granulated or powdered sugar
- OPTIONAL (but The Hubbs never includes) 1 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Mix crushed wafers, powdered sugar and cocoa. Stir in rum and corn syrup. Shape mix into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar. Cover and refrigerate several days before serving. Makes 5 dozen.
*from Betty Crocker’s 40th Anniversary Cookbook
**Betty’s original recipe calls for bourbon. Substitute the booze of your choice, but I’d stick with something in the sweet-but-not-too-sweet range, like brandy.