easy, breezy, beautiful – four ingredient rum balls

December 7, 2014

rum balls

Once again, I’m so far behind in holiday preparations that I’ve practically given up before I’ve even managed to get started. There’s no tree in my new house, no decorations up, no baking done, very few gifts organized, and only one card mailed (to my sweet cousin in England). Despite the fact that I’m a Christmas minimalist – I need some serious help. Elves would be good.

I’ve just had major surgery and am slowly, slowly getting back on my feet. Mostly what I’ve done for the past ten days is lay propped up on the couch – alternately sleeping, reading, or watching old movies. Sometimes a little of all three at once. And knitting. I’m knitting like a fiend, churning out infinity scarves. Except I keep ripping them out and re-knitting them as my knitting skills progress. I’m doing lace stitch in mohair. I had to quit watching films with subtitles because it was too hard to read subtitles and keep track of the knitting pattern. I kept forgetting what row I was on and screwing up. So I’ve done as much un-knitting as knitting. Maybe more.

If you haven’t seen the 1978 film, An Unmarried Woman starring Jill Clayburgh – it’s a gem. Brilliant script. Great art. Loved this movie. I also re-watched The LunchBox – such a poignant story – such great food! – fabulous acting – I LOVE this film. In my top ten movies of all time (but it has subtitles so warning – knitting hazard). And I also watched Julie and Julia again as well. My favourite ever performance by Meryl Streep. So much fun. And in between all this – I’m reading The Hundred Foot Journey. 

The other day I managed to haul myself off the couch and lurch into the kitchen. I was desperate. I needed to cook something. Anything. I just physically missed my kitchen. But I can’t stand for long – so I had to make something very simple. I made these rum balls. They are so easy that even an invalid can make them (trust me). I like them because they’re not all that sweet, they’re healthy (thanks to the ground almonds), and they’re gluten and dairy-free. No baking. And don’t refrigerate them either. Unless you live in the heat. They’re best after they age a few days or even longer. Store them in an airtight tin. If you don’t have rum – use Bailey’s or Kahlua or bourbon or brandy or Frangelico or amaretto. Or just use natural vanilla essence.

I adapted the recipe from an old rum ball recipe in my recipe box. I simply substituted ground almonds for ground Amaretti biscuits.

Gluten-free Rum Balls

  • Servings: approximately 24 rum balls
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup ground almonds (also known as almond meal or almond flour)
  • 1 cup finely desiccated coconut plus a little extra for rolling (I used sweetened dessicated coconut)
  • 2-3 tbsp rum or other liqueur (or use 2 tsp pure vanilla essence)

Melt the chocolate either in a double-boiler or on low/med power in your microwave. Stir in the ground almonds and coconut and liquor. The mixture will start to thicken fairly quickly as the chocolate cools down. Form into small balls and roll in extra coconut.

Store in an airtight tin. Best after a few days and at room temperature.


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  • Reply thehungrymum December 7, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    I love rum balls! These look perfect.

  • Reply The Novice Gardener December 7, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I will have to hide these from my kids when I make them. No rum for children! More importantly, all chocolate for me! 😀

  • Reply Stacey Bender December 7, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    I hope you are okay! I know the feeling of convalescing and missing the kitchen (not a happy place to be). Catching up on good movies and (knitting?) though, is a delightful reward for enduring the pain. Rum balls sound like the perfect thing to break back into the kitchen to make (movie cued up and knitting needles down. Get well!

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 7, 2014 at 11:06 pm

      Thanks Stacey – I’m on the mend now. I don’t know what kind of Christmas this will be. But I suppose it will be a good test of what really matters.

  • Reply Cynthia Reyes December 7, 2014 at 11:09 pm

    They look so yummy! Throw some over here….

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 7, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      Done – I flung ’em in your general direction. Skywards and west – towards Unionville. Hope they make it before the house sells…

      • Reply Cynthia Reyes December 7, 2014 at 11:36 pm

        Hey, it’s not my house — mine is humbler, but of similar age. This one belongs to a friend’s friend.

        Thanks for flinging the rum balls over here. I just caught em!

        • Reply love in the kitchen December 7, 2014 at 11:44 pm

          I’m an idiot – I wondered why you were using third person. But I thought okay – “the family who have lived here…” I can go with that.
          And then because the brain is a trippy thing (at least mine is) I think I just looked at all the lovely photographs and swooned. And reminisced. And went down memory lane and paid no attention to anything else whatsoever.
          At least I managed to fling the rum balls to the right house! Hurray for that!! Good catch. xo

          • Cynthia Reyes December 7, 2014 at 11:50 pm

            Hooray all around! I have enjoyed your replies.

  • Reply An Embarrassment of Freedom December 8, 2014 at 12:15 am

    Seriously now, you need to really not do too much for Christmas and let a friend or family member step up a bit this year and do what needs doing. I suggest getting” a few things” from a nice farmer’s market bakery to just have on hand and maybe just get ( send that special helper out to do this) a small turkey breast roast, do a few baked potatoes and a simple veg or salad
    maybe a simple dessert of baked apple and …do very little. As far as decorating, …nah….maybe a little….but remember you just have to put it all away again…enjoy the couch, knitting and movies, put on the music, make tea or hot chocolate, forget the cards ( send out something for another time such as Easter maybe)…send emails instead….goodness me, you sound like my sister who despite on going health issues does far too much for us…your friends and family want you to be well so take very good care of yourself, Merry Christmas, take it nice and super easy this year.
    ( rum balls allowed!) ( another easy and yummy treat is chocolate bark with nuts/ rasins, crushed candy cane etc) ( also peanut butter balls….etc)

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 11, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      You’re so sweet – thank you. I agree to skipping the decorating but am about to write and send some cards.
      And as for the chocolate bark. Yes please! 😉
      I’m finally upright and at my desk. Hooray. And actually my eldest daughter is doing Christmas dinner at her house this year – her first year in her own home. She lives two blocks from me which is the sweetest thing ever.

  • Reply Darya December 8, 2014 at 1:53 am

    Get well soon! And good luck with knitting, I couldn’t possibly do that and watch movies at the same time.
    Could you toss some of those into my general direction, please 😀 ? Though as you say, I could just make them myself, they are that easy (but boyfriend doesn’t like coconut, or any sweet flavored with alcohol… oh dear). My mom makes bourbon balls for Christmas, but she refrigerates them; I’ll compare your recipes.

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm

      thanks Darya! It will be challenge to fling these all the way to France but I’ll give it my best. Imagine not liking coconut or any sweet flavoured with alcohol. Any sweet? Trifle? Tiramisu? Crepes Suzettte? Your mother’s bourbon balls? Wow – that’s fabulous. MORE FOR US!! 😉

  • Reply chefceaser December 8, 2014 at 5:45 am

    Reblogged this on Chef Ceaser.

  • Reply AppetiteDeluxe December 8, 2014 at 6:41 pm


  • Reply Johnny / Kitschnflavours December 8, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Certainly hope you’re on the mend. Never a good time. Having said that, if you’re over the worst (here’s hoping) then each day can bring rewards all by themselves. Even getting to the local shop – without being in agony – can be a treat. Yes, been there! As for Christmas decorations, I’ll probably do them on the Eve – like last year.

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 8, 2014 at 8:37 pm

      Johnny – this is the sweetest comment ever. Thanks. You obviously do know because every little step feels like a sweet victory. And decorating on Christmas Eve sounds perfect – reminiscent of a Victorian Christmas really. Less hype – more meaning. I’m going to write my cards first and deal with all the rest later. Thank you!!

  • Reply Karen December 9, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Knitting, resting, and movie watching sounds like the perfect way to recover and regain your strength…I hope each day is a better one. Your rums balls sound terrific with coconut…a different and delicious version from what I have had before.

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Thanks Karen – much appreciated! I’m on the mend – thinking about holiday baking this weekend. And getting my dog out in the snow. As for the rum balls – yes – they are almost borderline healthy!

  • Reply spiceinthecity December 9, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    These look so good!!

  • Reply Anonymous December 9, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    So glad you are on the mend,,,, looking forward to rumballs and seeing you soon!

  • Reply Maria Dernikos December 10, 2014 at 8:38 am

    Rum balls – there’s a blast from the past. Couldn’t eat enough of them as a child. Do hope you get back to your usual self soon. Don’t rush it though.

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm

      Thanks Maria! I’m coming along. Yes – rum balls are a blast from the past aren’t they? I also loved them as a child – but not half as much as I loved (and still love) rum butter. It was the only good reason for eating mince tarts when I was young.

  • Reply Jennifer Smeltzer December 10, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Hmmm… not sure why I was “anonymous”…

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm

      AHA – mystery solved. I wondered who was coming to eat my rum balls!

  • Reply Amanda December 10, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    Nice to see you back. I hope you’re feeling better, Lindy. Thanks for the movie recs. LOL that you can’t knit and follow subtitles at the same time. Too much good stuff at once. These rum balls look fab. I like that they have the coconut. They make you look like an instant good dessert cook.

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks Amanda! I’m awfully fond of short sweet recipes. And really it’s the rum in the rum balls that I like best! I’m starting to feel more ambitious – I made a quiche yesterday – smoked gouda and caramelized onions. SO GOOD. But I didn’t think to take a photograph. Of course. 😉

      • Reply Amanda December 11, 2014 at 5:19 pm

        Yummm i love quiche. Glad to hear you’re feeling ambitious.

  • Reply CK December 12, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Thanks for sharing a rum ball recipe that is not only wheat & gluten-free, but is also not loaded with tons of sugar or the suggestion to “buy a box of GF processed junk & crush it.” You’ve made me & my sis very happy!! Merry Christmas!

    • Reply love in the kitchen December 13, 2014 at 2:55 pm

      Thank you – what a heartwarming comment. So happy to hear this made both you AND your sister are happy. Merry Christmas to you too!

  • Reply thehungrymum January 16, 2015 at 6:28 pm

    If these were in my kitchen they’d last about 25 seconds #yummmmm

  • Reply abdunnavi March 3, 2015 at 5:11 am

    like onde onde from indoneian hehe

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