I know I'm a bit late with this post, but I ran out of time before Christmas to write about my rum balls. I don't know about other countries, but rum balls seem to be a traditional Christmas food in New Zealand and Australia.
real food rum balls
In a traditional rum ball recipe, the main ingredients are sweetened condensed milk, a packet of biscuits, cocoa, sultanas, rum (of course) and everything is then rolled in coconut. Its not very complicated, but its also not real food. They are full of refined sugar from the milk, which has been processed to high temperatures, so there's not much goodness left and there's probably canola oil and flavour in the biscuits, as well as more sugar. I don't particularly like them, they are too sickly sweet, but I did think it would be interesting to try to find a real food version and see if people could tell the difference.
I started with this recipe, and I also made some traditional rum balls so I could compare. After three batches, I had the consistency right and I preferred the taste. My recipe for real food rum balls: Chop 2 cups of dried dates and leave to soak for about half an hour. Drain the liquid and retain. Puree the dates to form a paste.
Use a blender or grinder to chop nuts - I used almonds and some "coconut crunch", to make 2 cups.
Combine the nuts with the date paste and 2 Tsp of cocoa powder. Mix up and add the date liquid and a Tsp of coconut oil until the texture feels right. Also add the sultanas depending how much you like them, I used about a cup and a few tsp of rum depending on how much you like rum :)
When the texture is good for rolling, roll about a tsp of mixture in desiccated coconut (I used shredded and it just doesn't stick properly).
Put the balls in the fridge to solidify.
I took the batch of traditional rum balls to work and fed them to my work mates. Then I took in the last batch of the real food rum balls. They like both of them. So I think the experiment was a success, I will be making them again next Christmas. What do you think?