Friday, July 24, 2009

Today's trial a flop...

SO today I was working on some gifts in a jar for a wedding shower present (Jen if you're reading this, DON'T!) and the first recipe I tried was a complete flop in the sense that it did not work as described... I'll post the recipe, but explain what I did in the end so as not to waste ingredients :) This recipe, along with three others that I will post about in future blog entries, comes from the Ultimate Gifts for the Cookie Jar by Cookbook Resources LLC. All the recipes in this book are meant to be mixes which you layer in mason jars and then give as gifts. This particular recipe is for Rum Balls. Here's a link to the book on Amazon if you'd like a copy (there is no image of the book on the site so forgive the text only link...):

Ultimate Gifts for the Cookie Jar

Now, let me preface this by saying that the other three recipes from the book that I have tried did NOT suffer from the particular problem that this recipe did, so don't let it dissuade you from trying the others, but I think there may have been either a misprint or some other issue with this particular recipe which caused the problem I'll explain below. Here's the recipe as printed in the book:

The Recipe:

Rum Balls

Consider this spirit-filled recipe for the holidays! For a truly unique gift that's sure to be a hit, combine the jar of cookie mix in a decorative holiday basket with a small bottle of rum.

Ingredients for jar:

  • 3 cups crushed vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
Instructions for jar:
  • Put crushed vanilla wafers in 1 quart (1 L) jar.
  • Layer cocoa powder and then powdered sugar over crushed cookies.
  • Top with chopped pecans.
Instructions for making cookies:
  • 3 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup rum (or bourbon)
  • Powdered or granulated sugar
  • Empty contents of jar into large mixing bowl. Stir to mix dry ingredients.
  • Stir in corn syrup and rum. Blend until dry ingredients are moist.
  • Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in powdered sugar or granulated sugar.

My Results:

Ok, first, let me see if you can figure out why this recipe didn't work out... It is meant for a 1 quart canning jar. 1 quart=4 cups right? And how many cups of ingredients do you see in the recipe? 5 1/2!!! So, no, this WON'T fit into a quart jar, no matter how hard you tamp the ingredients down! Had I thought to look at the math BEFORE beginning the recipe, it might have prevented the unfortunate result, which was that when I got to the adding the cocoa powder step, well, it just did NOT fit! The only thing I can figure is that either, a) it should be three cups of vanilla wafers BEFORE crushing (meaning fewer wafers and therefore less crumbs) or one of the other amounts is off. Either way, because I was doing two of this jar and started with just a single, I was able to simply dump the first jar and the remaining ingredients into a bowl and go ahead and make them up (adding a bit of water and a bit of extra corn syrup since there was not enough moisture to moisten the entire mass). The flavor of these is great, but they are not practical as an "in the jar" gift mix. So if you want to just make up a batch of the mix ingredients in a ziplock baggy for later use or even just make the cookies from the entire recipe, they are worth it, but don't rely on it as a "gift in a jar" recipe...

I did find another rum ball recipe on the Internet that I used for the SECOND jar I made up, and I'm happy to post a link for that one here as well. That recipe DOES fit into the jar quite nicely and should be a hit with the recipient. The Internet recipe is for Mocha Rum Balls Mix in a Jar.

All of these recipes in this book come with photocopy-able tags to put on the jars when giving with the directions for making the cookies from the jarred mix. These make a great gift and I have actually sold jars of similar mixes at craft fairs for $8-10 per jar. Not bad for something that only cost $1-2 to make! Anyway, the other three recipes that I am using from this book for this particular gift worked out much better and I hope you'll check back in to see how they worked out. I'll have to wait a few more days before posting though so that the recipient doesn't accidentally see her gift on the blog before she gets it! Be sure to check back this weekend for more fun recipe play and for a few (hopefully!) great grilling trials with my hubby's help!

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