I made a chocolate cake that was delicious, but impossibly crumbly. I turned leftovers into rum balls, adapting a recipe from the NYT that the New York Times Dessert Cookbook (p. 504) stated originally came from the restaurant Windows on the World, but actually came from Henry Dinardo, chef/owner of Windows Catering.
This recipe is perfect for recycling those holiday cookies that come in big boxes. Take ho-hum cookies and cake and turn them into luscious rum raisin chocolate truffles.
The recipe is the typical kind of rum ball recipe that is designed to use up bits and pieces of leftover cake and cookies. It calls for 2 lbs. of cake/cookie crumbs (ground fine like breadcrumbs) to be mixed with 1/4 cup to 1 cup of water until the crumbs are moistened enough to make a dough.
The cake crumbs were sufficiently moist that I did not need to add any liquid. To the moistened crumbs, add raisins that have been macerated in rum (3 ounces raisins/4 ounces rum) for a couple of hours (or overnight is probably better). The recipe also calls for adding some chopped pecans or walnuts (1 cup), but I left these out.
An interesting aspect of the recipe is that it calls for incorporating chocolate twice: first you add in 6 ounces of melted bittersweet chocolate, then, after the dough has chilled for a couple of hours (pressed 1/2″ thick in a pan), you are supposed to mix in some ganache (1 cup). Then you form tbl. sized balls and then roll the balls in 1/3 cup of cocoa.
In making this post and trying to find the recipe online, I discovered that the recipe in the book is a bit misleading. The original recipe calls for 1 cup of ganache that is different from the ganache referenced in the NYT book. The recipe in the NYT book refers the reader to a recipe from Robert Linxe that is 2/3 chocolate and 1/3 cream, by weight. The original recipe calls for 6 ounces of chocolate, 3/4 cup plus 1 Tbl. cream, 1 ounce of butter and a Tbl. of brandy. This is once cup of ganache? Are you supposed to make the ganache and then measure out 1 cup, or are you supposed to use the whole batch?
Interesting also is that the original context of the recipe was an article about using up holiday leftovers, like gifted holiday cookies that are going to waste. Henry Dinardo, chef/owner of Windows Catering explained that he is the “king of the rum balls” using leftover cakes and cookies.
adapted from a NYT recipe from Windows Catering
2 lbs. cake/cookie crumbs
1/4 cup – 1 cup water, if needed (might not be needed at all if using moist chocolate cake crumbs)
3 ounces raisins macerated in 4 ounces of rum overnight (or at least a couple of hours) (I used Amaretto)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
6 ounces melted bittersweet chocolate
1 cup ganache (8 ounces?) (based on ganache made from 6 ounces chocolate/6 ounces cream/2 tbl. butter/1 Tbl. brandy, all of this?, part of this?) (or use this recipe: a mix of 1/3 cream and 2/3 chocolate by weight, 5.33 ounces chocolate and 2.66 ounces cream)
1/3 cup cocoa, for coating rum balls
Pulverize the cake and cookie scraps to make fine crumbs. Moisten, if needed, to make a moist dough (Didn’t need to moisten). Mix in the macerated raisins and nuts (if using), plus the melted chocolate. Chill dough (press into pan, making 1/2″ thickness) if dough is impossibly sticky. Mix dough with ganache, and roll into balls. Rolls balls in cocoa powder. Makes about 80 balls.
Note: These would be nice dipped in melted chocolate like truffles. I would also think this might work as a base for cake balls, especially if the rum raisins were left out. The dried fruit makes it a bit harder to get perfectly smooth balls.