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Originally published Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 7:03 PM

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Recipe: Gingerbread-Hazelnut Rum Balls

Makes 35 ballsAbout 30 store-bought gingersnaps, ground in a food processor (about 2 1/2 cups) 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1...

Makes 35 ballsAbout 30 store-bought gingersnaps, ground in a food processor (about 2 1/2 cups)

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for rolling

1 cup skinned hazelnuts, toasted, cooled and finely chopped (see note)

4 to 6 tablespoons honey

4 to 6 tablespoons rum or whiskey

1. Combine the ground gingersnaps, cocoa powder, 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar and the toasted chopped hazelnuts in a large bowl. Add 4 to 5 tablespoons of the honey and 4 to 5 tablespoons of the rum or whiskey, stirring until the mixture is evenly moistened and slightly sticky and holds together when you squeeze a bit of it in your hand. (If the mixture seems too dry, add the remaining honey and/or rum or whiskey.)

2. With slightly damp hands, shape the mixture into walnut-size balls, then roll them in confectioners' sugar.

3. The rum balls' flavor improves with a few days' aging. Store in an airtight container between layers of parchment paper for up to 3 weeks.

Note: Toast the hazelnuts in a small, dry skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes, stirring or shaking the skillet often, until they darken in color and become fragrant.

Store the rum balls with or without the sugar coating, layered between sheets of parchment or wax paper in an airtight container and kept in a cool area for up to 3 weeks.

Adapted from "Gingerbread: Timeless Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Desserts, Ice Cream, and Candy," by Jennifer Lindner McGlinn (Chronicle, 2009) and published in The Washington Post.

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