Gifts from the Heart

090926crazy-chef-cropThis great recipe is infinitely variable.* Try one version for Thanksgiving, then make a batch for holiday gifting. Find the perfect presentation plate or tin at a thrift store, resale shop, or consignment boutique!

Rum, Bourbon, or (if you must) Teetotaler’s Balls

The basic recipe from

* 3 1/4 cups crushed vanilla wafers
* 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
* 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
* 3 tablespoons light corn syrup
* 1/2 cup rum

1. In a large bowl, stir together the crushed vanilla wafers, 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, cocoa, and nuts. Blend in corn syrup and rum.
2. Shape into 1 inch balls (Hint: Chill the dough a bit first and coat your hands in some of the confectioners’ sugar) , and roll the balls in additional confectioners’ sugar. (Hint: shaking the balls, gently, in a ziplock baggie with the sugar is easier and neater!) Store in an airtight container for several days to develop the flavor. Roll again in confectioners’ sugar before serving.

* Variations: Bourbon works and makes a traditional Southern US treat. Coconut or spiced rum is luscious if you want it to be even more Southern, as in Tropical Isle. Try mixing and matching liqueurs with different nuts: Hazelnuts with Baileys or Frangelico. Mix up an Hawaiian batch using Kahlua with macadamias.

If you’d rather do a non-alcoholic version, substitute rum-flavored extract, a tablespoon or two, then use cream or cold coffee to bring the liquid to 1/2 cup.

Substitute cocoa powder for the confectioners’ sugar if you’re making different batches so you can tell them apart…and they look prettier on the plate or in the gift tin too.

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