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GLUTEN-FREE RUM BALLS -- WITHOUT RUM

These are quick and easy to make.

Ingredients:

200g (6 1/2oz) gluten-free rice cookies (from health food shop)
400g (13oz) condensed skim milk
1 cup dessicated coconut
cup shredded coconut
1 cup mixed dried fruit
60g (2oz) glace cherries, chopped
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 tablespoon butter rum essence
extra dessicated coconut

Method:

Crush rice cookies in food processor. If you don't have one, put biscuits in a sturdy plastic bag, tie it up leaving as little air as possible inside, place bag on floor and use your heel to crush biscuits.

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. The consistency may vary depending on the brand of biscuits used. If it seems too sloppy, refrigerate it for a few hours. Roll into small balls -- guests tend to look for a small ball to sample, then return for a larger one. Roll balls in dessicated coconut. Refrigerate. If you can manage to leave them alone, the taste improves when the flavours have melded for a day or two.

Variations: You may like to try them flavoured with walnuts and a tablespoon of strong black coffee, or almonds and almond essence.

The original recipe had no cherries, no fruit, less coconut and two tablespoons of rum. I'd love to hear how your experiments turn out.

Kate Hughes suggests: You should try adding Caramel Sweetened Condensed milk for the Rum Balls. I used it by accident one day and it held the ingredients together a lot better - granted I was only using Cocoa, Coconut, Biscuits and Peppermint with the milk - but it's just an idea if you're bored or anything.

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Allan Gardyne, Golden Beach, Queensland, Australia.
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