Nutty, No-bake Holiday Rum Balls

Diana Helfand
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Wednesday - December 21, 2005
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Chuck Mills, former head coach of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, is considered the father of “modern Japanese college football.” For more than two decades he has been deeply involved with the development of Japanese football, seeing it grow to almost 300 teams. The Coast Guard Academy played in Japan after the 1990 season. Soon after, and as a supreme honor to Chuck, the Japanese version of the Heisman Trophy was named the Mills Cup. Having relocated here six years ago from Chicago, Chuck has decided to spend his semi-retirement years in paradise and get away from the frigid winters of the Midwest.

During his career, Chuck held seven collegiate head coaching positions and finished his career with 140 wins. Only John Heisman, for whom the trophy is named, held more head coaching positions. When discussing these years, Chuck says that he is most proud of the 89 percent graduation rate of his players, the 17 assistant coaches who ultimately became college head coaches and the seven who joined pro football team staffs.

When asked what is the most important factor accounting for his unusual success, Chuck responds without hesitation that it was his late wife, Barbara, who let him chase his dream; they were married for 40 years.

Most mornings Chuck hangs out at a coffee shop on the Windward side, sipping coffee and taking in the beauty of the Ko’olau Mountains. This column is dedicated to a very special person who has had a profound impact on the lives of countless individuals.

The macadamia nut is the fruit of a tree that is thought to have originated in Australia. The nut has been eaten by aborigines since ancient times.

Macadamias were introduced into Hawaii in the late 1800s and became commercially successful in the early 1900s. Today both Hawaii and Australia are leading producers of macadamia nuts. Macadamia nuts are a good source of magnesium and potassium, and contain thiamine, zinc, iron, copper, niacin and phosphorous.

Walnuts have been cultivated for thousands of years and were introduced into Europe by the Romans. Walnuts are an excellent source of copper and magnesium, and a good source of potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid and thiamine. They contain fiber, phosphorus, niacin, iron, riboflavin and pantothenic acid.

It was once thought that walnuts could ward off headaches, because the shape of the walnut closely resembles the shape of the human brain. The leaves of the walnut tree contain an antibiotic substance.

To get into the spirit of Christmas, share these delicious treats with friends and family. These keep well and are great with some hot chocolate or warm apple cider. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all!


* 3 cups vanilla wafers, fine ly crushed
* 1 cup 10X powdered sugar
* 1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
* 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
* 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon melted Smart Balance margarine (no trans fats)
* 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon light corn syrup
* 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1/3 cup rum or bourbon
* powdered sugar and finely chopped nuts to roll cookies in

Mix crumbs, 1 cup powdered sugar, nuts, margarine, corn syrup and cocoa in large bowl. Stir rum or bourbon into crumb mixture until evenly distributed. Let mixture stand 20 minutes to meld flavors.

Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; roll half the balls in nuts and half in powdered sugar. Put in airtight container placing waxed paper in between layers to prevent sticking. Makes about 50.

Note: It’s better if you let them rest overnight to enhance flavor.

Approximate Nutrition Information Per Piece:

Calories: 100 Fat: 3 grams Cholesterol: 0 milligrams Sodium: 40 milligrams

(Diana Helfand, author of “Hawaii Light and Healthy” and “The Best of Heart-y Cooking,” has taught nutrition in the Kapiolani Community College culinary arts program.)

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