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Chocolate Rum Balls Recipe For Christmas: Gluten Free, Vegan

[1] Kōloa Kauai Cacao Rum is used to add spirit to these chocolate-coconut rum balls (photo © Kōloa Rum).

Khadrawi Dates
[2] Dates add natural sweetness. There’s no sugar added (photo © Good Eggs).

[3] Walnuts add protein (photo © Bake Your Day).

Dutched & Natural Cocoa Powder
[4] You can use ditched or undutched cocoa powder (photo © Silk Road Spices).

[5] Roll the balls in shredded coconut or chocolate sprinkles (photo © Gourmet Food World).

Chocolate Sprinkles
[6] You can substitute chocolate sprinkles for the coconut, or divide the rumb balls and roll half in each (photo © King Arthur Baking).


Our Mom made rum balls every holiday season. As a kid, we didn’t like the taste of the rum. Because these are no-bake cookies, the strength of the spirit doesn’t dissipate.

As we moved into adulthood and our palate embraced alcohol, we found that we loved them. We eagerly anticipated the holidays…and Mom had to make a double batch to accommodate our sweet tooth.

While most people in the U.S. make rum balls as Christmas cookies, you can make them year-round.

  • National Rum Day is August 16th.
  • National Cookie Day is December 4th.
    But if you’re attending a dinner or party on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Year’s Eve, a tin of these cookies will be most welcome. They’re gluten-free and vegan.

    They’re delicious with coffee, an espresso Martini, or a glass of red wine. Or a Dark & Stormy rum cocktail.

    The history of rum balls is below—and necessity is the mother of invention!

    This recipe, from premium rum distiller Kōloa, uses the brand’s Kōloa Kauai Cacao Rum in the recipe.

    You can treat yourself to a bottle and enjoy it in cocktails as well as baked goods.

    But coconut rum, spiced rum, or plain rum will do nicely.

    For more rum-spiration, visit Koloa Rum and check out the whole line of fine rums.

  • 1½ cups pitted dates
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • ¼ cup Kōloa Kauai Cacao Rum
  • ¼ cup high-quality cocoa powder
  • ½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut (substitute chocolate sprinkles)

    1. COMBINE the dates, walnuts, rum, and cocoa powder in a food processor. Process until you achieve a very dense, fudgy texture, scraping down the sides as needed.

    2. SPOON out the mixture in 1 tablespoon increments and roll each into a ball.

    3. ROLL the finished balls in shredded coconut.

    4. STORE the rum balls in the refrigerator for up to a week or in the freezer for up to several weeks.

    5. SERVE chilled, right out of the refrigerator, for the best texture.



    Rum balls were invented by the Danish bakers to use up unsold breads, cakes, and pastry that would be stale by the next day.

    Someone came up with the idea for romkugler (rum balls). All the unsold cakes, and pastries were mixed together with cocoa powder and rum.

    The sticky dough was then rolled into balls, coated with coconut flakes or sprinkles, and sold the next day for a low price.

    It remains a popular choice in Danish bakeries.

    Recipes vary from region to region and from family to family. While chocolate and rum are givens*, the rest of the ingredients can vary.

    Some recipes use jam or condensed milk as a binding agent, and these can be part of an alcohol-free recipe.

    Others substitute bourbon for the rum.

    Some recipes add nuts and/or raisins.

    Some cooks place a whole (pitted) cherry, soaked in rum or brandy, in the center of the ball.

    Confectioners have adapted the idea to rum-infused balls of chocolate ganache.

    Here’s a recipe that uses muffins instead of leftover cake, plus raspberry jam, as well as cocoa and rum.


    *Some modern recipes do away with the chocolate, like this recipe made with vanilla wafers, pecans, both bourbon and rum, and honey as a binder.


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    Enjoy The Nobel Prize Winners Banquet In Stockholm

    You most probably will never get a Nobel Prize, but you can dine on the same food served at the awards dinner. Just head to Stockholm.

    The 2021 Nobel Banquet, celebrating the year’s Nobel laureates, takes place annually on December 10th.

    Each year’s banquet has a unique gourmet menu with Scandinavian accents.

    You can view the menus dating back to 1901, the first year the prizes were awarded (excepting the war years and 2020, when Covid-19 canceled the banquet).

    Since 1934, the banquet has been held in the Blue Hall of Stockholm’s City Hall, which seats 1,300 guests.

    You too can feast in City Hall—although not on the same day, and not in the same room.

    Instead, you can enjoy the banquet at The Stadshuskällaren, the City Hall Cellars (which is, as the name says, in the cellar of City Hall).

    The restaurant features menus from years past—for example, the main dish from the Nobel banquet of 2017, saddle of lamb and bilberry bavaroise.

    Want a dish that fêted one of your Nobel heroes?

    Fans of Gabriel García Márquez can have the banquet from 1982 (including Arctic char in dill cream sauce and Nobel ice cream).

    Marie Curie devotees can toast her 1911 chemistry prize by dining on fonds d´artichauts duchesse and poularde fermière (artichoke bottoms “duchess-style” and farm chicken).

    Want to make your own Nobel Prize dinner at home?

    Pick your birth year, pick specific winners, create the dinner on whatever theme you like.

    You’ll have to create the recipes, though: The menus are given, but that’s all—except there are beautiful photographs of the dishes from the more recent years.

    By the way, The Stadshuskällaren serves à la carte, a tasting menu and Nobel menus for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.

    Stadshuskällarens, a classic Christmas smorgasbord (buffet) is served this year from December 3rd to December 19th.

    The buffet is divided into three parts:

  • A buffet of pickled herring and cold meats.
  • Hot dishes.
  • A “gottebord” of sweets and cookies.
    The whole restaurant is dressed for Christmas. The historic room is decorated with Christmas flowers, garlands, Christmas trees, and trimmings.

    Ready to head for the airport?

    The Nobel Prize is an international award administered by the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm, Sweden, and based on the fortune of Alfred Nobel, Swedish inventor and entrepreneur.

    Each prize consists of a medal, a personal diploma, and a cash award.

    A person or organization awarded the Nobel Prize is called Nobel Prize laureate. The word “laureate” refers to being signified by a laurel wreath.

    In ancient Greece, laurel wreaths were awarded to victors as a sign of honor.

    There are 6 prize categories: Chemistry, Economics, Literature, Physics, Peace, and Physiology or Medicine.

    Since the awards began in 1901:

  • There have been 609 awards granted to 975 laureates. Here they are.
  • Women have received 58 awards. Organizations have received 25 awards.
  • The youngest laureate was 17. The oldest laureate was 97.
    Discover more about Alfred Nobel and the Nobel Prize at


    [1] 2019 starter: kalix vendace roe with cucumber, pickle-poached kohlrabi, creamy dill and a horseradish sauce (all photos ©

    [2] 2019 dessert: raspberry mousse, dehydrated chocolate mousse, raspberry kissel and raspberry sorbet.

    [3] 2018 starter: lightly baked Arctic char with crayfish broth, dill seed-infused onion, lightly smoked trout roe, crispy potato and watercress foam.

    [4] 2018 dessert: medley of apples, with caramelised Frida apples from Österlen, apple sorbet, vanilla custard, caramel sauce and oat crumbs.

    [5] 2017 main: crispy saddle of lamb, potato terrine with Svedjan crème, yellow beet, salt-baked celeriac, apple salad and rosemary-spiced lamb gravy (photo Dan Lepp).



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    Oh Give Us A Figgy Pudding Recipe (aka Christmas Pudding, Plum Pudding)

    [1] Figgy pudding, a.k.a. Christmas pudding and plum pudding (photos #1 and #2 © California Figs).

    [2] Dried green and purple figs.

    [3] California dates (photo © Bard Valley Natural Delights).

    [3] Caramel sauce (photo © Yulia Khlebnikova | Unsplash).

    [4] For dramatic effect, you can flambé the pudding with warmed brandy, before garnishing with sauce or whipped cream (photo © Matt Seymour | Unsplash).


    What is a figgy pudding, also known as Christmas pudding and plum pudding.? Discard any thoughts of creamy American puddings. British puddings are steamed cakes. When Christmas carolers ask to be given some figgy pudding, they can be handed a slice in a napkin.

    A Christmas pudding is essentially an alcohol-soaked, boiled or steamed fruit cake. Boiling creates a similar dense texture as baking, but moister.

    They can also be made without alcohol, like the recipe below. If you wish, you can stir brandy or rum into the caramel sauce after you remove it from the heat.

    National Plum Pudding Day is February 12th (coincidentally, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday).

    You’ll need a jumbo muffin tin for this recipe, which turns out six individual plum puddings. You can use a regular muffin tin for 12 smaller servings.

    You can add a scoop of vanilla or eggnog ice cream in addition to, or instead of, the caramel sauce.

    Prep time is 10 minutes. Cook time is 26-28 minutes.

    Ingredients For 6 Servings
    For The Pudding (Cake)

  • 2 cups California dried figs, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsweetened dates
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    For The Caramel Sauce

  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup half and half
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
    For The Garnish

  • Whipped cream
  • Mint leaves
  • Optional: fig slice, ice cream, pomegranate arils

    1. PLACE the figs in a medium bowl. Pour the brandy over the figs. Cover and let rest at room temperature for 6 to 8 hours.

    2. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Grease the 6 wells of a jumbo muffin tin with butter.

    3. MAKE the cake the cake. Cream the brown sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light and almost fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in the eggs.

    4. RESERVE 2 tablespoons of the fig’s soaking brandy, then strain the figs and discard the rest (we repurposed it and add it to our coffee!). Mix in the figs, the reserved brandy, and the dates. Add the salt and stir in the flour until combined.

    5. TRANSFER an equal amount of batter to each of the 6 muffin wells. Use a buttered spoon to smooth the top of each as much as possible. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes, until the puddings are firm in the center, but still soft. Be careful not to overbake. You want the batter to be baked through, but for the cake to remain soft.

    6. REMOVE the tin from the oven and let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. While the puddings cool…

    7. MAKE the caramel sauce. Melt all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until the sauce begins the thicken, about 45 seconds. Remove from the heat.

    8. PLACE a plate over the muffin pan and invert it to de-pan the puddings. Arrange them on individual serving plates and spoon warm the sauce over the top. Garnish with whipped cream and mint leaves. We added pomegranate arils for some color. Serve warm or at room temperature.

  • Christmas Pudding With Rum & Cinnamon Cream Sauce
  • Figgy Pudding Sauce Options
  • London Lennies English Christmas Rum Pudding
  • Mexican Christmas Pudding

    The first records of plum puddings date to the early 15th century England, when a savory version made with meat and root vegetables, “plum pottage,” was served at the start of a meal. Back then, “plum” was a generic term for any dried fruit—raisins, currants, prunes, and other dried, preserved, or candied fruits.

    By the end of the 16th century, dried fruits were more plentiful in England, and plum pudding recipes moved from savory to sweet.

    By the mid-1600s, plum pudding was sufficiently associated with Christmas that when the Puritan Oliver Cromwell came to power in 1647, he had it banned as associated with Druidic paganism and Roman Catholic idolatry (also banned: Yule logs, carols, and nativity scenes).

    Across the pond, in 1659, the Puritan government of the Massachusetts Bay Colony actually banned Christmas! Here’s the story.

    When the Puritans were deposed in 1660 and the English monarchy was restored, so were Christmas pudding and the rest.

    By the 19th century, the pudding ingredients were standardized to include breadcrumbs, brown sugar, candied orange peel, currants and raisins, eggs, suet, sweet spices (allspice, cloves, nutmeg), and alcohol. The cake was soaked in brandy (or if preferred, rum or whisky) and set aside to mature for 30 days.

    Maturation preserved the Christmas pudding so that it could remain tasty for more than a year—and thus, it could be sent to soldiers and colonizers overseas for a holiday taste of home.

    The standard components of an English family Christmas were solidified during the Victorian era (1837-1901), including Christmas pudding. The pudding was considered so important that Christmas savings clubs helped poor housewives lay away pennies throughout the year, to purchase the costly pudding ingredients at Christmastime.

    In the U.S., Christmas pudding is mostly known from English literature and song. But there’s no reason why that has to be!

    Here’s more detail on the history of Christmas pudding.



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    Seven Sisters Scones For Breakfast, Snacks & Scone Gifts

    Traditional scones can be dry, crumbly, and in our opinion, more punishment than pleasure, requiring lots of butter and jam to add moisture. Yet, more modern recipes can be moist and layered with flavor. Such are Seven Sisters scones. Take a denser version of a muffin, flatten it, and you can approximate one of their delightful scones, moist and flavorful.

    Made with butter, cream, eggs, and all-natural flavors, the scones are individually packaged for grab-and-go.

    The 4-ounce scones are 4 inches in diameter.

    Want something smaller? Sconies, mini-scones, are 2.5 inches in diameter.

    And the flavors!

    What a selection! There are:

  • 20 conventional flavors
  • 17 gluten-free flavors
  • 9 vegan flavors
    The gluten-free and vegan flavors represent the most popular conventional flavors, which are both sweet and savory.

    The conventional flavors include:

  • Sweet Scone Flavors: Apple Caramel, Banana Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, Butterbeer, Chocolate Kahlua, Cinnamon Coffee Cake, Cinnamon Fireball, Cinnamon Roll, Cranberry Orange, Dark & Stormy, Fig & Goat Cheese, Lemon Poppy, Maple Pumpkin, Strawberry Champagne, Sweet Potato & Cardamom, Triple Chocolate, Vanilla Bean
  • Savory Scone Flavors: Bacon Cheddar, Garlic Herb, Jalapeno Green Olive & Cheddar
    Mix and match your own flavors; and if you can’t choose, there’s the Chef’s Choice sampler.⁣

    If want to give a gift but can’t decide what the giftee would prefer, there are gift cards.

    The scones are baked fresh and shipped daily.

    Get 12 scones delivered in your preferred timeline, from month to every 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 months).

    If you have more scones than you’ll eat in a few days, just freeze them and microwave them when you’re ready.

    Head to

    Owners Farrah and Hala Yassine are two of seven sisters. The other sisters, and two brothers, enjoy the scones and make suggestions for new flavors.

    Want to bake your own?

  • Coffee Date Scones
  • Cranberry Chocolate Scones
  • Gingerbread Scone Mix
  • Lavender Scones
  • Rosemary-Lemon Cream Scones
  • Sundried Tomato Scones

    [1] Ready for brunch (all photos © Seven Sisters Scones).

    [2] Bacon Cheddar Chive scone.

    [3] Blueberry scone.

    [5] Lemon Poppy scone.

    [6] Jalapeño, Green Olive, Cheddar scone.



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    Easy Light Fruit Cake Recipe & A Fruit Cake Baking Kit

    [1] Make a fruit cake look dazzling with a Bundt pan and a topping of frosted grapes (all photos © King Arthur Baking).

    [2] This fruit cake is made with a kit and recipe. Get one for yourself or as a gift.

    [3] The Golden Fruitcake Kit has the essentials you need to bake the cake.

    [4] A quick fruitcake that’s less sweet, dense and spicy. The recipe is at the right.

    [5] Homemade candied cherries. Here’s the recipe.

    [5] You can garnish the fruit cake with coarse sparkling sugar, available at retailers or online from King Arthur Baking.


    National Fruitcake Day is December 24th, but we didn’t want to wait to share these recipes. If you’ve always wanted to bake a fruit cake but have hesitated, hesitate no more. King Arthur Baking* has put together a bundle that makes it a cinch to produce a beautiful, delicious fruit cake easily at home.

    The essentials are bundled together (photo #3), including a recipe and a lovely star-shaped baking pan (photo #2) that you can use for other cakes year-round.

    You can get the Golden Fruitcake Bundle here, for yourself or as a gift.

    Plus, there’s an easy fruit cake recipe below.

    So is it fruitcake or fruit cake? Both are correct, although we prefer the more elegant-appearing two-word form.

    Before you proceed to the recipe, and additional frut cake recipes below, check out:

    > Beverages To Serve With Fruitcake

    > The History Of Fruitcake

    Some fruitcakes, made with less sugar, are called fruit breads. This quick and easy batter bread is packed with fruit and nuts, but is less sweet and very mildly spiced, unlike traditional fruitcakes.

    If you find traditional fruit cake cloyingly sweet, too heavy, and too packed with candied fruits, this recipe is for you.

    It’s a great cake—or bread—for dessert, breakfast, brunch, coffee breaks, or snacks.

    You can serve it a la mode with caramel sauce, custard sauce, or raspberry purée. And for a different texture, you can toast the slices.

    Thanks to King Arthur Baking for the recipe.

  • 8 tablespoons (113g) butter, at room temperature, at least 65°F
  • 3/4 cup (149g) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1-1/2 cups (180g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (256g) crushed pineapple, undrained (1 small can)
  • 1 cup (113g to 170g) dried fruit, of your choice
  • 1/2 cup (57g) diced walnuts or pecans
  • 1/2 cup (99g) red candied cherries†, each cut in half
  • Optional: 1-1/2 tablespoons coarse sparkling sugar, for topping

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan.

    2. PLACE the butter, granulated sugar, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, salt, and vanilla in a bowl, and beat till smooth.

    3. ADD the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the flour, stirring to combine.

    4. STIR in the undrained crushed pineapple. Stir in the fruits, nuts, and candied cherries.

    5. SPOON the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

    6. BAKE for 60 minutes, then tent the cake with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

    7. REMOVE the cake from the oven. After 20 minutes loosen its sides, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool the cake completely before slicing.

    1. PREPARE the cake batter according to the recipe instructions, and scoop a heaping 3 tablespoons of batter into the wells of a cupcake pan (a jumbo cookie scoop heaped with batter works well here). You’ll be baking another batch, so about half of the batter will remain.

    2. BAKE the cupcakes for 15 to 18 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack, and after 5 minutes turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

  • Custard Sauce For Fruitcake
  • ‘Fruitcake’ Ice Cream
  • Sour Cream Fruitcake Recipe (light and airy)
  • Fruitcake Milkshake Recipe
  • Cookbook: Fruit Cake ~ Recipes For The Curious Baker: 75 Fruitcake Recipes

    *Formerly King Arthur Flour.

    †Candied cherries can be found at most supermarkets and online. You can also make your own with this DIY Candied Cherries recipe.






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