Almond Fruitcake Rum Balls

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Not sure about you, but I have been living Spring in full!

Witnessing the rebirth of my garden, watching every leaf, stem, and shoot turning into bud then flower almost overnight is such an invigorating experience!

Barely warming three weeks ago and, as we were busy raking the last remnants of winter off our yard, narcissi were blooming, peonies and daylilies were just poking out of the ground. Already then, I noticed that my ladybug friends were back on the budding birch tree.

One week later, the first tulip and crocus were opening their bright petals while the first chartreuse leaves appeared our rose bush.

(Click for more garden pictures)

Very tempting to start any planting outdoors at that time, with the high risk of frost I decided for kitchen spring cleaning instead.

Perfect time to go through the pantry! I found a good chunk of Christmas cake– the best fruitcake ever, homemade packed with candied cherries, dried apricots and raisins, pecans (Note to self : Will have to blog the recipe sometime*). Adam and I LOVE this Christmas cake so much that we usually preserved it wrapped in plastic and foil, making last until Easter, lovingly basting it with dark rum or rye to keep it moist and germ-free.

With Easter being April this year, it was time to transform our fruitcake into rum balls.

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Wrong season for rum balls? Pas du tout!

Most recipes use graham crackers for their dough but why not recycle leftover fruitcake instead? Especially when all you have to do is to mix fruitcake crumbs with chopped nuts, cocoa, syrup, sugar and rum and roll the dough into balls.

The recipe I found in Canadian Living is so simple that you could use any leftover cake, including some of that spice loaf I made recently. I adapted it by replacing the pecans with unblanched almonds for which I doubled the amount. I also doubled the quantity of rum to make the dough more malleable, thus easier to roll, and easier to coat. The rum balls were firm enough after coating that I skipped the drying and refrigeration steps altogether.

I dove in right away: soft and sweet inside, crunchy outside…

Adapted from Canadian Living.

Ingredients for 1½ dozen rum balls:

2 cups almonds (I toasted unblanched almonds because their more earthy, richer taste)
1½ cup chopped fruitcake
2 tablespoons icing sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons corn syrup

¼ cup dark rum, preferably Madagascar rum

1. Toast almonds in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat until fragrant and light brown, tossing frequently to prevent them from burning.

2. Let cool to room temperature.

3. Chop the fruitcake in a food processor, pulsing to make fine crumbs, and transfer to a bowl.

4. Finely chop the toasted almonds using the food processor.

5. Add 1 cup of almonds to the fruitcake and transfer the rest to another bowl.

6. Stir in sugar, cocoa powder, corn syrup and rum to form a sticky dough.

7. Line a baking sheet with wax paper.

8. Roll the dough using one tablespoon of dough per ball. (Note: Rinse hands as needed)

9. Coat the balls with almond crumbs and place on prepared tray.

10. Enjoy ASAP (or refrigerate for up to one month if you can resist)

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