Vegan Rum Balls

Have you ever tried a rum ball?

Vegan Rum Balls by Beautiful Ingredient

Vegan Rum Balls by Beautiful Ingredient

VEGAN | WFPB | EASY | GLUTEN-FREE | ADDED OIL-FREE | PARTY FOOD| ROMANTIC DESSERT  

When I was in high school, my friends and I had a phase when we would run down to the local bakery after school and get a treat.  That's where I discovered that rum balls were a thing.  These babies were gigantic spheres of chocolatey goodness that had kind of a slightly chewy, cakey-cookie dough ganache center and smacked of rum.  They were not the chocolate kisses I'd grown up with.  My food world opened up a notch.  I was smitten.  I had to take each one home in a box so that I could slowly savor every bite. Pure bliss.  Yeah, maybe the bakery should have thought to card me.  Even though the rum ball I'd bring home was about the size of a golf ball, I don't think there was that much rum in there.  But probably a good thing I waited until I was home to eat it.

Alas, I've never had one since.  I just haven't seen them.  So it's been a delight to create a dairy-free version of that rum ball I remember.  They have that texture and flavor that I recall, soft and a bit like chocolate mousse with a little cake in it.  My husband is particularly drawn to the tiramisu-like finish. 

Did I mention these are nutrient-packed rum balls?  Check out the ingredients.  Yep, nutrient-dense vegan rum balls are now a thing!

Making vegan rum balls is fun and easy!  by beautiful ingredient

Making vegan rum balls is fun and easy!  by beautiful ingredient

Vegan rum balls by beautiful ingredient

Vegan rum balls by beautiful ingredient

decadent Vegan rum balls by beautiful ingredient

decadent Vegan rum balls by beautiful ingredient

I'm also happy to report that they are easier to make than one might think.  The ingredients come together without a candy thermometer or any elaborate processes.  There are just a few key steps.  Here are some helpful tips to be aware of ahead of time:

Helpful Tips

  • Have all the ingredients in-hand to prepare the "cookie-dough genache" the night before.  Once all the ingredients are mixed, they set overnight.
  • I like to use Divine 70% Bittersweet Chocolate, the 5.3 oz baking bar.  Divine is right!  If you can't find it, though, another bittersweet bar or even chocolate chips are just fine.
  • Any rum in the cupboard will do, but I recommend a dark spiced rum for a full-flavor experience. Have you tried The Kraken?  It's a vegan rum and I love it!  (Yes, part of my love for it is the packaging, but it's a great rum, too!)  Are you surprised to learn that there are wines, beers, and other much-enjoyed drinks that seem like they'd be vegan but aren't?  Yeah.  I was surprised, too.  Rather than getting into the gory details here, I recommend you google it.  On a brighter note, I recently came across a website that is dedicated to helping people find their favorite alcohol in animal-free form:  Barnivore  Thank you, Barnivore!
  • Want an alcohol-free version?  Replace the rum with a 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract + a 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and 6 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of maple syrup.
  • Heads up:  the raw cashews soak for a minimum of two hours before mixing the ingredients.
  • When it's time to roll the "genache-dough" in cacao powder, place a few tablespoons of cacao in the center of a dish and roll the ball of genache-dough in the powder.  Once covered in cacao, tap the rum ball on an empty spot of the plate to release excess cacao.
  • Yes, these are close to the size of a golf ball, but their softness makes them easy to eat.  The ball holds firm so that you can pick them up, yet they are soft enough to take a bite.  They're also very easy to eat with a fork.  Perfect for a romantic dessert!
Romantic dessert:  vegan rum balls, by beautiful ingredient

Romantic dessert:  vegan rum balls, by beautiful ingredient

 
 

VEGAN RUM BALLS RECIPE

VEGAN | WFPB | EASY | GLUTEN-FREE | ADDED OIL-FREE | PARTY FOOD| ROMANTIC DESSERT  

Vegan rum balls, a romantic dessert by Beautiful Ingredient

Vegan rum balls, a romantic dessert by Beautiful Ingredient

YIELD:  15 balls

SOAK TIME:  2 hours minimum
PREP TIME:   15 minutes + 15 minutes rolling
COOK TIME:  5 minutes
SET TIME:  overnight or 6 hours minimum
TOTAL TIME:  Allow 8 hours 35 minutes total

RECIPE CATEGORY:  Dessert
TOOLS/COOKING METHOD:  Stand mixer or hand mixer, blender, double boiler or small pots/pans

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • about 3/4 cup soaking water
  • 1/2 cup almond meal or flour -just have raw almonds?  Toast them in a pan until scented, then blend to make a fine flour)
  • 1/2 cup (gluten-free, if necessary) oat flour - just have rolled oats?  Blend them to make a fine flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground pink salt or sea salt
  • 5.3 oz bar of 70% bittersweet chocolate or equal amount chocolate chips (about a half bag)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup 
  • 4 tablespoons almond butter
  • 7 tablespoons spiced dark rum
  • 3-5 tablespoons cacao powder

For an alcohol-free version, replace the rum with the following:

  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 6 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.  Soak cashews.  Place the raw cashews in a jar or bowl with enough water to cover, about 3/4 cup water.  Cover and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

2.   Dry ingredients.  Place the almond and oat flours and salt in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer.  With a fork or the paddle of the stand mixer, stir until mixed.

3.  Chocolate.  In a double boiler, melt the chocolate on medium-low. (Don't have one?  You can make one with a small pan or pot sitting in another pan filled with about an inch of water.)  Stir the chocolate until all is melted.

4.  Wet ingredients.   Strain the cashews and place them in a blender.  Warm water in a teapot until steaming and add 1/2 cup to the cashews.  Blend on high until creamy.  Add the maple syrup and almond butter.  If making an alcohol-free version, add the extra maple syrup and extracts now.  Blend until well mixed.  

5.  Combine.  Place the chocolate on top of the dry ingredients, using a spatula to get as much as possible out of the pan.  Then pour the wet ingredients, with the help of a spatula, over the chocolate and stir with the stand mixer paddle or a hand mixer just until combined.  

6.  Add rum.  Stir gently while adding the rum, just until well disbursed.

7.  Refrigerate.  Place the mixture in the fridge with a towel to cover.  Let set overnight, at least 6 hours.  The ganache should be firm enough to hold a ball form.  If it warms up too much while working, stick it back in the fridge until it's firm again.

8.  Cacao station.  Pour a few tablespoons of cacao in the center of a large plate.  Set it next to the ganache-filled mixing bowl.

9.  Form the balls.  Have a towel handy for your soon-to-be-chocolatey hands.  Using a measuring tablespoon, scoop two tablespoons of ganache and form into a ball.  Roll the ball in the cacao powder until covered.  Drop the ball on a clean part of the plate a few times to remove excess powder.  Set the finished ball on a serving plate or in a glass container to store in the fridge.  Repeat until all the ganache has been used.  Add more cacao powder to the cacao station if necessary.

10.  Serve.  Serve immediately or store in the fridge.  Can be made a day or two ahead, but watch out - they may disappear before then.


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