Cook This: Brownie Balls Get an Update with Lambanog and a Trip to the Deep FryerMay 20, 2017
Many good things in the world are born out of necessity, as is the case with rum balls. Originally created to make use of cake and bread scraps (which would be dried out by the next day), bakers would combine the crumbs with some form of liquid (jam or condensed milk) and rum before forming little balls that they’d roll them in crushed nuts, coconut, or sugar. The truffle-like, no-bake treat that emerged would come to evolve into a thing in its own right—and it’s still a favorite in many parts of the world, to this day.
But making already-good things even better sometimes entails going beyond what’s necessary. While rum balls are plenty good on their own, we thought we’d take the kitschy treat to the next level with a tried-and-tested method of improving (almost) any and all good food known to mankind: by battering ‘em up and give ‘em a good-ol’ dunk in the deep fryer. Over-the-top craziness aside, we do assure you that it is a worthy extra step as the heat from the oil turns the mix from its cookie-cutter, stiff and doughy roots to a semi-molten and pudding-like dream waiting to be devoured.
In this recipe, we create our own ball mix from brownies (we prepped brownies from a mix to illustrate, but you can totally go by your own recipe or even go the store-bought route) and give it a Filipino spin by combining it with chopped macapuno, coconut milk, and in place of rum, lambanog—the distilled coconut liquor notorious for its especially potent alcoholic kick. Dipped in pancake batter, deep-fried, and dusted with powdered sugar, the resulting balls resemble doughnuts with their snowy coating and lightly crisp crust—but with the surprise chocolate interior waiting to ooze out from within.
Chocolate and coconut are a natural pair, and the addition of lambanog adds a deep, lingering dimension that not only brings out the gata and the macapuno, but also goes really well with the bitterness of the chocolate. You do want to cool the balls down just enough that the filling doesn’t burn your tongue as you take a bite, but definitely devour them warm—which, with their inner-fat-kid-tickling, sigh-inducing deliciousness, won’t be much of a problem.
Deep-Fried Lambanog Brownie Balls
Yield: 6-8 servings
Time: 45 minutes
- 1 box brownie mix, prepared and baked according to box instructions
- ¼ cup macapuno, chopped
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- 2 tbsp lambanog
- 1 box pancake mix
- oil, for frying
- Crumble the baked brownies into a large bowl.
- Add the chopped macapuno, coconut milk, and lambanog to the crumbled brownies and mix until thoroughly combined.
- Take the mixture and form balls about 2 tbsp. in size.
- Place rolled balls onto a parchment-lined baking tray and refrigerate for 10 minutes, or until hardened.
- While brownies are chilling, prepare pancake batter according to box instructions and set aside. Meanwhile, heat the oil to 350 F.
- Take the hardened balls and submerge each completely in pancake batter.
- Drop the balls into the hot oil, making sure to leave enough space for them to not stick together.
- Fry for about 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Take the fried brownie balls out of the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to cool.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.