Rum balls are frequently made using leftover or slightly stale cakes as the major ingredient. They are thus a convenient way of gaining maximum use from a cake that might not be fully eaten while fresh. Some cake shops therefore use rum balls as a way of recycling unsold stock, although many make them deliberately using fresh ingredients. In this respect, they are similar to lamingtons.
To make a rum ball, the cake (or biscuit) material is crushed and mixed with cocoa and a moist binding ingredient, such as jam or condensed milk. Other optional ingredients can also be added, such as nuts. When the mixture holds together firmly, it is rolled into balls and then coated.
Rum balls are a popular Christmas snack in Australia and New Zealand.
There are many recipes for rum balls. Each family has their own ingredients or variations on the quantity of each ingredient. One recipe is listed below:
- 250g of Marie biscuits (or Arrowroot biscuits)
- 1 cup of desiccated coconut
- 2 tablespoons of cocoa
- 1 400g can of sweetened condensed milk
- Rum, or similar Spirit - e.g. brandy or sherry
Crush the biscuits finely. Add coconut and cocoa and mix well. Add rum. Stir in sweetened condensed milk. Form into balls and roll in coconut or chocolate sprinkles. Makes 40 - 50