The Best Rum Balls in the World!

This is probably my favourite sweet treat in the whole world!  My mom usually makes them at Christmas, but not  this year . . . so it’s up to me to save the day!

The original recipe is actually twice as big, but this makes a big bowlful, and several dozen rum balls.

What you need:

4 cups crushed vanilla wafers (Mr. Christie’s Nilla wafers work well, about 1 & 1/2 boxes)

1 & 1/2 cups icing sugar

3/4 cup melted butter

1/3 cup cocoa

3/4 cup white rum

1 cup pecans, finely chopped

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/4 cup almond paste (grind your own almonds if you don’t have this)

1/2 cup sour cream

pinch salt

What you do:

1.  Combine the wafer crumbs, icing sugar, butter, cocoa, rum and pecans in a large bowl.

2.  In another bowl, combine melted chocolate, almond paste, sour cream and salt.

3.  Add the melted chocolate mixture to the ingredients in the large bowl and mix well.  You may want to knead it with your hands so everything gets mixed together completely.

4.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until it is firm enough to form the balls.  I usually leave it over night, but it doesn’t need that long.

5.  After you have formed the balls you may want to roll them in chocolate shot or cocoa – I never do this, though.  They are so good on their own.

These rum balls need to be stored in the fridge!  They also freeze well.

Plum, Chocolate and Frangipane Pie

This pie is heavenly!  Chocolate, almonds and plums work together beautifully.  I found it on and knew right away I needed to try it.  I brought it to a potluck and forgot to take a picture of the finished product!  So here’s an image of it before it went into the oven.

What you need:

1 pie crust (click here for a patee sucree crust recipe-makes enough for 2 crusts)

10-12 small prune plums

4 ounces dark chocolate, shaved

1/2 cup ground almonds

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

3/4 cup whipping cream

2 tablespoons Turbinado or white sugar

What you do:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400F.

2.  To make the frangipane, combine ground almonds, one egg, sugar and one teaspoon of vanilla.  Set aside.

3.  For the custard, combine the remaining egg, vanilla and whipping cream.

4.  Roll out your pastry until it about 3 mm thick.  If you use the rolling pin to put it into place it won’t stretch – stretched pastry tends to shrink back to its original size when baking.  Cut excess pastry off.

5.  Put shaved chocolate into the pie shell, then place the frangipane over top.

6.  Arrange cut plums over the frangipane, then pour the custard over top.  Sprinkle on the Turbinado or white sugar.

7.  Place the pie plate on a baking sheet, then bake for 10 minutes.  Lower the heat to 350F and bake for about 45 minutes, or until it is set and golden.

8.  Cool completely before serving, then enjoy the decadence!

Chocolate Dipped Chocolate-Almond Biscotti

And the people thus spake, “We have tasted of this New Biscotti, and it is good.”

And so, upon the day of the Feast of Lights at English Bay, many ate of the biscotti and were satisfied.

Thus it came to pass that the people proclaimed the recipe to be of high quality, and henceforth deemed worthy of the masses.

And so it shall be revealed unto thee:

What you need:

1 & 1/4 cups peeled almonds, toasted

1/2 cup butter

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

1 cup cocoa powder

1 & 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

2 eggs

3/4 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon almond extract

for the chocolate dip:

5oz chocolate

2 tablespoons butter

What you do:

1.  Use a coffee grinder or food processor to finely grind toasted almonds.

2.  Mix 1/2 cup of the butter and 1 cup of the almonds, along with the salt, until it is fluffy.

3.  Whisk eggs, sugar and almond extract in a large bowl.

4.  Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder and hand-mix into the egg mixture.

5.  Add the nut and butter mixture, and stir until it is just incorporated.

6.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and form the dough into two long, flat logs. I like my biscotti to be a bit smaller, so if you want larger cookies, then make one log and add about five minutes to the baking time.

7.  Bake at 350F for 25 minutes.  When it comes out of the oven, allow it to cool on the pan for about half an hour.

8.  Slice the logs into cookies, and put them back on the parchment paper.  Bake for 15 minutes more, then cool on wire racks.

9.  Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler (I use a pot with a bowl on top).  The key here is to make sure you don’t get any water into the chocolate; it will seize up and become clumpy.

10.  Dip each cooled biscotti in the chocolate (I had to spread it on a bit), then sprinkle a little of the remaining almond flour on top of each.