Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Let’s Get Ready to Rum Ball!

I want to thank a Twitter follower of mine, RookieKoo, for giving me the idea for today’s Michael Buffer-inspired post title. Of course, if you’re not familiar with the iconic boxing ring announcer’s catchphrase, then none of this will make any sense, and you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you it was an amusing reference.

There are hundreds of ways to make rum balls, but this one’s my favorite method. It’s very easy, especially if you have stale brownies lying around. I know, that never happens, which is why I’m linking to an all-purpose brownie recipe below the post. This will also work nicely with store-bought brownies, but stay away from anything that’s frosted. We don’t want to add any additional fat into the recipe, since that will hinder the absorption of the rum.

The amount of rum you add depends on how cakey and/or dry your brownies are, but for a half-pound, you’ll probably need between 1/4 and 1/3 of a cup to soak the crumbs sufficiently. A proper rum ball should be a fire hazard. By the way, I’m not responding to any comments asking about how to make these without using rum. In my humble opinion, you can’t.

The other issue I'm not going to be a big help with is altering the type of chocolate. I used a quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa), which worked beautifully for this, and hope you do the same. I don't have a lot of experience working with chocolate, so I'm not sure what will happen if you want to use white, milk, or other kinds of chocolate for the coating.

I realize these are more of a candy, than a cookie, but after about a half-dozen rum balls, culinary semantics will be the furthest thing from your mind. I hope you give them a try on your holiday dessert table. Enjoy!


Ingredients for about 20 small rum balls:
8 ounces stale chocolate brownies, crumbled
1/4 to 1/3 cup dark rum, or as needed
4 oz dark chocolate (I used Lindt Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa)

NOTE: For a quick and easy brownie that will work well for these rum balls, check out this recipe from Allrecipes.com. I recommend checking out the comments on that recipe page before starting.

62 comments:

Rita said...

the easiest rum ball recipe i've seen that i will just have to make! oh yeah.

love those "little feet," by the way. :D

Anonymous said...

the ones with tiny feet are so cute!!))

kyoto said...

AHHHHHH Thanks Chef John. I have been checking this site everyday for this recipe to be posted. Love your blog.

leighana said...

this is definitely the best title for a post you have thought of! .... yet

He Took MY Last Name said...

Too bad I'm pregnant...... Maybe if I use rum flavoring? Haha or have family bring me rum balls as a congratulations when I deliver!

Joanna K said...

Chef John, I just have to comment that you make me laugh with your commentary! I totally agree that rum balls shouldn't be made without rum!

I currently have a pot roast going in my slow cooker now using your recipe (and I literally laughed out loud when you said, "in fact those slow cooker recipes where you just throw everything into the crock pot and turn it on, those are not good. those are... what's the word for it, stupid!")!

Thanks for the laughs and smiles on a rainy Wednesday!

Joanna K said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

see the part where you add the last 25% unmelted chocolate to the melted stuff? is this what they call 'tempering'? i have read about this, but it seemed way more complicated than what you did. in fact this looks easy. :)

Chef John said...

I believe so!

Paul said...

Chef John,

I am confused about chocolate bar sizes. Here, you use a 4oz bar but in your chocolate lava cake calls for 3.5oz, "this is one standard chocolate bar".

To add to my confusion, you use Ghirardelli chocolate in the lava cake video. I use this brand as well and it comes in 4oz bars.

I guess this is more of a question for the lava cake video but should I use a 4oz bar or 3.5oz for that recipe? Thanks!

Chef John said...

This was really 3.5. I just rounded up since there's going to be extra anyway. Doesn't matter here. 3.5 for lava is correct.

Anonymous said...

what would 8oz be in cups?

Chef John said...

Couldn't say, since it would depend on how small you crumbled. It was like 3 large brownies. Don't worry, these are not an exact science. ;)

Josh said...

What if we used like red wine?

grumbleghoul said...

Ok, so I'm not a big fan of rum, but I love the idea of this. What other liqueurs or non alcoholic flavorings would go well with this chocolate coated brownie confection?? I'm thinking Grand Marnier, or Triple Sec. or maybe Kahlua. What about coffee or like a mint extract? (for the non drinking crowd)

Berit said...

I've been haunting the blog waiting for this one--amazing! Somehow, our set can never find enough boozy chocolate during the holidays!

I've got some good valrhona, so I think I will use that. :D

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

I guess this is as perfect a time as any to make a "wish." I've been addicted to your cooking videos for a while now, but I'm kind of afraid to go out and buy quality ingredients for fear of messing up. It's not that your videos aren't easy to follow and understand, (they are,) it's that I'm just one of those people that is prone to the "oops!" moment, especially in the kitchen. If I could make a food wish, it would be to see you take some time to make a "rescue" series of videos for people like myself. Perfect example would be: What to do if your chocolate seizes up?

I know you have a lot on your plate, so it's probably too much, but you already have too many delicious recipes on your site, I couldn't possibly have wished for another.

Sincerely,
A hapless cook

Anonymous said...

Where do all your play on words come from...seems like you have an infinite supply :)

Clover said...

I just stumbled upon your Youtube channel yesterday and I'm hooked! Yay for foodie ideas! I love how short/simple your instructions are. (and you're so humorous!)

I have two questions regarding the rum balls: after the chocolate coating hardened, can I keep them in a container under normal room temperature? Also, what would you say the expected shelf life is for these treats?

Thank you!

Tamar@StarvingofftheLand said...

A proper rum ball should indeed be a fire hazard.

I didn't taste a rum ball until I was an adult, and it instantly became one of my all-time favorite over-indulgences. This recipe just might give me the backbone to let a few brownies sit around long enough to get stale.

Chef John said...

Yes, the stale brownies are clearly the most challenging part of the recipe! ;)

Anonymous said...

I think my Secret Santa will be pleasantly surprised tomorrow when she opens her stocking and finds a jar of these waiting for her. Thank you for the fabulous recipe! They're chilling right now and I can't wait to start coating them!

Anonymous said...

so funny! read the comments! all 865 of them. nice one

Livia said...

Ah...could you send me some of these? ;-)

MoonFaCe said...

As soon as I saw the title I was going to ask if I can make these without rum because we don't consume alcohol...too bad you're not gonna answer my question :(

Chef John said...

You can use any liquid that will moisten the crumbs! Just don't call them rum balls! ;)

Jasmine J Martin said...

These look unbelievably good!! We love your videos by the way.. easy to follow.. my boyfriend is going to make me lots of different chocolates from your recipes!

Thank you :)

Chris K. said...

I bet these would be great with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt on top.

Because nothing says "love" like a mouthful of salty, chocolate rum balls!

amazing blooger me said...

What a sweet way to celebrate our holiday season together with these rum chocolate balls. Hope my kids will like it too without getting drunk. Haha

DianShan said...

I'm planning to make these for a party next saturaday. My question is, how do you define stale brownie? I'm planning to make the brownie (with the recipe link you provided) tomorrow, and keep them for 1 week. Is that too long or just right? I'm assuming the batch would be more than enough for your rum ball recipe.

Also, you mentioned dark rum. Would a light rum be ok?

Chef John said...

a week is fine! any rum will work, I just think dark works better.

Anonymous said...

I want to make these for an upcoming party where there will be a bunch of kiddies. What do you think about using a flavored Torani syrup for this instead of rum?

Emerald_Mara85 said...

Argh, I wish I could do this but my lil brother is allergic to alcohol...

Anonymous said...

Now that we've had the rum balls.
Can we please have rum cake or any alcoholic cakes with or without fruits for Christmas? Pretty Please?

LLV said...

Yeah, we all have stale brownies lying around, pfffffffft! Come on, seriously??? LOL, anyway, sounds like a fab recipe, but in my house there's no such thing as a stale brownie. Maybe I'll make some and then hide them away and let them go stale.... no.... couldn't do that. I'd be way too tempted to go drag them back out and eat them.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this recipe! My moms biggest request for christmas is rum balls so I usually have to call multiple bakerys with little success to find them. Making them myself will add a nice sentiment. Thank you :)

Anonymous said...

Where can I find the "hard copy" for these rum balls.

Chef John said...

I don't write recipes (i do the videos, and rely on my viewers to do their own notes. It's really the least you can do ;)

3bythesea said...

i am making these cookies based on the title of your post. let's getting ready to rum ball? love it.

i am using this recipe for a cookie swap in two days so i won't be able to get my brownies "stale". solution? baking up a fresh batch and then i am going to cut out half the pan into squares. then, i am going to "stale-lize" the squares by putting them on a cookie sheet on low heat (250)to dry 'em out. will let you know how it works!

(the upside: half a pan of fresh brownies!)

3bythesea said...

success with the stale-lizing technique. box mix, used cake-like consistency recipe (gooey would work against me in this recipe, but for consuming out of the pan i'm a gooey gal all the way), 13x9 pan configuration. i cooked according to time on box because burnt won't work unless you don't want to be asked to do another insane cookie swap. your call.

anyway, cut up the pan. small squares hopped onto a cookie sheet on a 200 degree oven for an hour - flipping half way through. end result was a likeness of a stale brownie! great work-around.

fyi - used the whole pan (minus the two dried out brownies which my husband deemed fantastic, not knowing about my stale quest.)

used malibu rum, eye-balled a full cup, followed your freezer instructions but instead of chocolate (i have to transport in bags so i didnt want them to crack), i rolled them in table sugar, a bit of salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper. you get the sugar up front, salt with the chocolate brownie and rum and then your finish is an almost imperceptible tingle on your tongue. i bet these will be better by monday!

chef john, i will be one of your faithful. i love your sense of humor. i totally get it.

thanks for the direction!

teaishot said...

Chef John, since I got no rum at the moment, can I substitute it with vodka? My sister got some vodka left so I think I might use it for this.

china said...

I'm a newby to your program and I too may become addicted! I just made three batches of cheep brownies so that I could end up with at least 3 stale ones for the Christmas Rum Balls I plan to make. I can hardly wait!

DianShan said...

Made these on Sat and it was a party favourite!! Everyone loved it! It is best to let the rum ball sit for a while (i think make it the night before) so that the flavours are soaked through. Somehow I didn't get the same consistency of the dark chocolate when I melted them but still got the coating set..

NoUseForAName said...

Anyone have experience making these in advance? How far in advance? Any storag advice? Fridge or Freezer?
Love to all our rumballs!
-E

Chef John said...

Yes keep in freezer or fridge. Never made more than the day before.

Kathryn said...

Hi Chef John, LOVE this recipe, and as my stove is currently on the bonk (talk about timing!) this is a fabulous recipe for me to contribute to holiday lunch dates.

One thing though, the Lindt chocolate you used is a baking chocolate? I was wondering if I could substitute for semi sweet chocolate chips? I live in the West Indies and it's very difficult to find high quality baking chocolate, apart from Hersheys :( but we do have the Lindt truffles and Nestle toll house

EyWen said...

JUST made some. This is the first time that I did not fail a dessert!

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
So I made your rum balls last night, one issue I had was my chocolate seemed thicker than yours.
Basically the first 10 got quite a thick coating of chocolate and then I ran out near the end.
I melted the chocolate according to your instructions, but used Cadbury 70% cocoa choc. Any ideas?

Chef John said...

not sure! maybe mine was hotter?

HeatherB said...

I tried to make these and they came out a gooey mess. But I want to try again! I'm wondering what I did wrong. My brownies weren't stale--so maybe that is a must instead of a "better" option than fresh? I also used a fudge brownies--perhaps that accounts for them not being able to hold a shape? Or maybe I put in too much rum--I used 1/2 cup per Chef John's recommendation. I see the post above about getting the brownies stale. I guess a non-fudgy type that are truly not fresh are a safer bet? The ones I have never lost their stickiness and are droopy, not like Chef John's.

Anonymous said...

@ HeatherB

Did you freeze the brownie mixture beforehand so they are harder?

CrazySaiko said...

Chef John,

Thank you for this recipe! They turned out great and SOOOO delicious! However my chocolate coating didn't come out so smooth like yours did! Maybe it was the chocolate I used or I have to fine tune my technique! :) Overall, it was an absolute delight!

~Desi

Jessie said...

Hi Chef John,

I'm new at cooking (and just recently is old enough to buy liquor) and was wondering what brand or type of rum do you recommend? I have no idea what to get, but I want to get good rum since my in-laws will definately be able to tell the difference and I want to surprise them!

~Jessie

dainty_empress said...

Hi Chef John ^^ I just wanted to pop in and let you know that I made these using (high quality, Belgian) milk chocolate, and I thought they turned out beautiful. I feared they would be too sweet, but they were like little explosions of rum, so everything I could ever want out of a rum ball. Thanks for this easy recipe!

nao said...

I melted the chocolate for coating and it turned out really really thick, almost like peanut butter ;_; so I ended up using cocoa powder
can you tell me what I did wrong? Btw, I used 65% cocoa schogetten chocolate

Chef John said...

Not sure! Sounds like you let it cool down too much. Chocolate is very thin when hot.

nao said...

actually it has been thick ever since it started to melt, maybe I'll give it another try. Thank you :D

Adam Jones said...

My 2 cents. (1) Make sure you add the rum slowly. I added too much and they turned into mush! I had to add some flour to thicken. They still taste good, but it certainly wasn't ideal. (2) Buy a high quality chocolate! I'm not one of those "organic" people, in this case, something all natural without added wax / animal products will melt much, much better.

Meaghan Banister said...

I just came across this recipe via Pinterest and I am so excited! I'm currently struggling to let the brownies get stale, lol. As long as the original works well, I plan on trying them with Jameson and a little cinnamon and then with Rumpleminz. My husband works at a bar and they can't get enough boozy chocolate treats! Thanks for the recipe!

Trevor said...

I would like to mail these to a friend. Can you tell me if these would do ok going through the standard mailing process? Do you have any suggestions for packaging these rum balls? Thanks in advance!

Chef John said...

best fresh! they don't travel well.

Piggette Oinkston said...

Could I use a moist chocolate cake instead of brownies?