Rum balls are the essence of Christmas; it brings the message that Santa is coming! These dark handsome balls are full of flavours from dark rum and chocolate and Christmas Cake spice mix. Rum Balls are not only gorgeous but ridiculously easy to make at home. These No Cook No Bake dessert needs only three basic ingredients which is easily available in any kitchen’s pantry. Often rum balls are stuffed with almond or glazed cherries. Sometimes they are drizzled with chocolate or dusted with cocoa powder and further decorated with colourful sprinkles to keep Christmas holidays vibrant.
Christmas is my favourite festival among all; yes it is bigger than Durga Puja to me. Don’t judge me, I always had my reasons. First of all December is the best time of the year in India. I’ve grown up in Kolkata, the eastern part of India which is apparently hot and humid throughout the year except December-January. The weather is pleasant there only during winter with the soft breeze all day long. Being heat allergic it was always difficult for me to live under scorching sun & sweat. Naturally this used to be the only time when I could roam around without much trouble.
Another good thing about December is during school days this was the only time when there were no scheduled exams after holidays. My school was pretty strict and we used to have exams after every single vacation, like 1st quarter-term after summer vacation, mid-term right after Durga Puja. I still wonder what was they gaining by throwing us under the wheel! Anyways, the point is it was always the most peaceful time of the year for me.
The nip in the air, the sweet aroma of nolen gur, the mystic mornings, the piping hot morning teas with mum’s home baked cookies and cakes, colourful streets decorated with red & green lights everything reminds me of my childhood Decembers. And every year around this time I become very nostalgic about my people, my city, Kolkata. Now when I live far away from all these happiness, I truly understand how much I miss them!
There is another thing which I miss in my current place during winter, Christmas special Rum Balls. Being the capital of British colony Kolkata has welcomed many Christian people who still celebrate Christmas in truly English style. Hence Rich Christmas Fruit Cake or traditional Rum Balls along with many others baked goodies are the first thing you will notice at any local bakery in Kolkata during winter.
When I was a kid, I used to sniff around Monginis and Kathleen (local confectioners in Kolkata) to taste those delicious looking sweet treats. But sadly everything was allowed except Rum Balls because it was believed to have alcohol in it! Like they say every forbidden thing seems to be the sweetest one I also had a soft corner for these sinful balls. There were none in the family whom I dint try to trick with my words to buy me one rum ball!
Then one day my boro mamu (maternal uncle) had bought me a box of gorgeous rum balls as birthday gift and I still remember the fuss over it!! But I had already fallen in love with aroma of rum and spices by the time and there was no turning back after that. I had enjoyed Christmas special Rum Balls every year since then till I left Kolkata.
Traditionally Christmas Rum Balls are made of leftover Christmas Fruit Cake, chocolate and dark Rum. But any kind of leftover chocolate cake or tutti frutti cake or even simple vanilla cake works fine as the base of rum balls. In some region people use biscuits or cookies instead of cakes. Sometimes brandy or bourbon or Irish whiskey is also used for variations.
Today I’ll share simple traditional Christmas Rum Balls recipe which is extremely popular in Kolkata. Most probably this recipe is derived from Anglo-Indian’s kitchen. Here cake crumbs is used as base and folded in dark rum and chocolate. Each rum ball is stuffed with glace cherry and drizzled with white chocolate. A vibrant coloured Gems (similar to m&m) on top of each rum ball and Christmas cake spice mix in the mixture are mandatory in this variation. As I used leftover from my Christmas Fruit Cake I did not add any spices. But I’ll insist you to add pinch of spice mix for the authentic taste in case you are using any other cake as the base. Find the spice mix recipe here.
Watch my elaborated step by step video recipe of Instant Rum Balls (Coming Soon).
Read the entire recipe and Notes carefully before you start cooking. Do make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (unless mentioned) and weighted or measured correctly in appropriate weighing machine or measuring instruments such as cups or spoons. Remember these are not your regular cups or spoons which you use in your daily life.
Serving & Storage:
Refrigerate rum balls for 10-15 mins to set firm. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
Store the excess rum balls in airtight container at room temperature and consume within 5 days. For longer shelf life refrigerate rum balls. Always use airtight container to preserve the flavour of rum for longer time.
- Cake: 360g, I used leftover of my Christmas Fruit cake
- Chocolate: 85g, chopped
- Dark Rum: 70ml or rum essence: 1 tsp
- Glaze cherry: 12-15, as per number of balls
- Cocoa powder for dusting
- Chocolate sprinkles
- Crumble cake pieces in food processor or by hands like breadcrumbs; make sure to break all lumps. Transfer the crumbs in a large mixing bowl.
- Melt chocolate in microwave at full power (mine is 900W) for 45 secs and whisk with spatula until entire chocolate is melted nicely. Or you can use double boiler method for the same.
- Pour melted chocolate on cake crumbs and mix with a spatula to coat all dry crumbs with chocolate.
- Combine the rum with chocolate-cake mixture until everything comes together to form a large dough ball.
- Take small portions of the mixture dough and roll between palms to form medium sized balls.
- Now insert one glace cherry in the middle of each ball and seal the edge.
- Line a tray with non-stick paper and place rum balls on it separately until all the mixture is rolled into balls.
- Dust the rum balls with cocoa powder or drizzle chocolate on top. Decorate rum balls further with sugar sprinklers.
2. In case you are using other I’ll insist you to add 1tsp of Christmas cake Spice Mix for the authentic taste.
3. If you are looking for non-alcoholic or kid friendly rum balls, use rum essence or vanilla essence.
4. The amount of rum mentioned here will give quite strong punch in the rum balls. If you are not fan of alcohol use 50ml rum only or mix ½ tsp of vanilla essence.
5. Any nuts (like almond or cashew) or dried fruits can be used as stuffing instead of cherry. In fact rum balls will taste fine without any stuffing at all.
EAT, LOVE & ENJOY! REPEAT!!!