It’s been a couple of years since I’ve made rum balls at Christmas. My husband sent me this recipe, when I was planning my holiday baking and I initially said that I wouldn’t make them because they aren’t cookies. They are more of a no-bake truffle, but I looked at the recipe and they have a lot of things in them that I really love. Since my Christmas baking did not go at all as planned this year, and I really thought these sounded good, I made them anyway.
Hazelnuts can be expensive, and I thought about making of half recipe of these. It’s especially hard to find blanched hazelnuts and I’ve not had much luck blanching them myself. I was at Pike’s Place Market and there is a vendor there that I like to visit and thankfully he had blanched hazelnuts. The skin on the hazelnuts can be terribly bitter, so make sure you don’t use hazelnuts with the shell. You could also substitute almonds for the hazelnuts, but the flavor will be different.
When I made this mixture, it was never 100% smooth, but that’s ok. I rolled mine in powdered sugar since I don’t like the texture of cocoa powder. These turned out really great and I made mine on the small size so I made about 3 dozen. You could make them bigger but they are quite rich so I think smaller works. These get better with age, so make these early and give them a chance for the flavors to come together.
Boozy Chocolate Orange Hazelnut Balls
3½ cups blanched hazelnuts
1 teaspoon orange zest
1¾ cups sugar
¼ cup honey
½ cup water
4 tablespoons Frangelico
4 tablespoons Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon hazelnut extract
¼ cup cocoa powder
Place the hazelnuts and orange zest into a food processor and process until very finely ground; set aside.
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, honey, and water. Heat on medium high and bring to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes, stirring frequently, for 6 minutes. You may need to occasionally lift the pan off of the burner to ensure the mixture doesn’t boil over.
Pour the hot sugar syrup over the ground hazelnuts in the food processor and process for two minutes. Add the Frangelico, Grand Marnier and hazelnut extract into the mixture and again process for 2 minutes. Add the cocoa powder and process for several minutes until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove the bowl from the refrigerator and using a small cookie scoop, shape the mixture into balls. Roll the balls in powdered sugar and then place them in a container. Store the balls in the refrigerator. The flavor of these balls will improve with time. They can be stored for two weeks in the refrigerator.
Recipe from Nourished Kitchen