By Terry Harris
Anyone who reads my column regularly knows that I love finding a quick and easy recipe with few ingredients, but when I stumbled across this recipe for basically a cross between a candy and a cookie a few years ago, my first thought was “NOTHING that quick and easy can be very good.” Wow was I wrong!
Seriously, on top of being absolutely delicious, with the use of a food processor or even a blender, this is literally the fastest from thought to consumption sweet treat I have ever encountered. Of course, when you start playing with various coatings to discover your favorites it can take as long as you like, but that experimenting is the fun part.
I was thrown a bit by the inclusion of rum as one of the suggested (optional) liquids for this recipe as I do not like that flavor even in an extract. Thank goodness for a spirit of adventure! With the simple directions I have included here, they are just amazingly simple to make and hey! If you are a fan of Rum Balls, bet you would love these made that way!
The recipe calls for using a food processor, and I imagine a blender would work also, but I am not sure how hard they would be to duplicate without one or the other. Probably you could break the cookies up in other ways, but with the processor it actually takes longer to gather the ingredients than it does to mix them all together!
Naturally, I played with the recipe. For example, it originally called for vanilla wafers or shortbread. I used graham crackers because I already had some of those in the cabinet. I suspect that the vanilla wafers or the shortbread cookies would make a slightly sweeter – and possibly crunchier – treat, but they were delicious as they were.
The recipe also says nuts are optional. Well, they are probably fine without them, but besides adding flavor and texture, that little extra crunch that the processed pecans provide makes them taste pretty special to me!
I can verify that “cold” is key on the liquid that you use, because these would probably be pretty sticky to roll out if they were warm. I even refrigerated my Light Karo Syrup. Also, in a moment of wild abandon, I used a bottle of orange soda for the liquid because it was what I had on hand and I thought it would be good. They turned out fine, but I honestly cannot say that I detected any orange flavor in the finished product.
I definitely recommend that you butter your hands before beginning to shape the balls. This mixture can be pretty sticky to work with otherwise. Fortunately, putting it in the freezer for a couple of minutes takes care of that. And, honestly, with having used the refrigerated soda for the liquid, they stayed cold enough that stickiness was not much of an issue anyway.
Probably my favorite thing about these Chocolate Balls is their versatility, both in taste and serving options. They would be perfect on crystal for an elegant soiree, on “Princess” dishes for a children’s tea party, or just on a plate or in a basket as a quick treat when unexpected friends drop by – or you are just craving a little sweetie!
Here is the real bonus. They are also great for gifts! Simply tie up a few in a sandwich baggie or a square of clear wrap and some colorful ribbon for a perfect Thank You, Thinking of You, or Welcome to the neighborhood gift.
So, by all means hold onto this recipe for making special treats for any holiday table. With Easter just around the corner, a festive dish or some pastel ribbon can instantly transform these into a centerpiece for any table! Whether you serve them plain, roll them in crushed nuts, powdered sugar, coconut, or powdered chocolate, they really are delicious, and an assortment in a little box is just a great way to say, “I care” any time. Enjoy!
Queenie Cooks – 5 Minute Chocolate Balls
1 ¼ Cups vanilla wafers, shortbread, or graham crackers
1/2 Cup powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 Cup COLD liquid: juice OR rum OR water (I used Orange soda!)
1 1/2 Cups pecans (hazelnuts, walnuts, or almonds – nuts are OPTIONAL)
1/2 cup topping - crushed nuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, flaked coconut
Process cookies and (optional) nuts in food processor until finely ground.
Add powdered sugar and cocoa powder and process until combined.
Add corn syrup and process until it creates one massive lump on side of bowl.
Butter hands and shape mixture into 1-inch (or smaller) balls.
Roll finished balls in toppings of your choice.
NOTE: If balls are too sticky, place in freezer for a couple of minutes