Friday, December 24, 2010

Buckeyes, Peanut Butter Balls, and Holiday Wishes!

As we all know, the peanut-butter/dark chocolate combination is one of the best around, and these little treats display this truth marvelously. (Here: a peanut butter ball).

I could literally eat one after another...
after another after another of these. (Here: a buckeye)

They are incredibly easy to make, but they turn out really impressive! Perfect for the holidays, no?

Start with two cups of creamy peanut butter.
Then add some unsalted butter and salt to the bowl.
Microwave the bowl in 15 second bursts, stirring after each burst, for about a minute, until the mixture is .just. soft.
Then, add in some vanilla and powdered sugar.
(Note: do use a large bowl. Things got a little 'cramped' in this one).

Start by adding about 2 cups of the sugar. And mix it up. If it feels like a dough, then you are in business. Mine felt like a soft dough after 2 cups, which I was fine with, but if you want a stiffer dough add 2 1/2 cups sugar.
Now, roll the dough into 1-inch balls. If you care about presentation, shoot for exactly 1-inch. If they are oven 1-inch, ahem..., they don't quite 'fit' in the mini-cupcake holders.
Pop those into the refrigerator to chill for about an hour.

Then, chop up your *good* dark- or semi-sweet chocolate.
Put the chocolate into a bowl with some shortening.
Melt the chocolate mixture in a heatproof bowl over simmering water.
To make peanut butter balls, plop the whole ball into the chocolate, then pick it up with two spoons, rolling it around to let the excess chocolate fall off.
Place on the sheet.
For the buckeyes: get the ball on a long skewer, and dip into the chocolate.
Coat it about 3/4 of the way, pull it up, and let the excess chocolate drip off.
Place on the sheet.
Put the sheet in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set.

Then, place the treats into little mini-cupcake holders, and enjoy!
Happy Holidays from the Bicoastal Chefs!

Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes) (from
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2-2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

For chocolate coating:
9 ounces semi-sweet or dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shortening

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the peanut butter, unsalted butter, and salt in a microwavable bowl, and heat in the microwave for about one minute, or until just soft (check, and stir every 15 seconds*). Stir in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar until it has the consistency of a dough (add more sugar if necessary).**

Roll the dough into 1 inch round balls. Place on the cookie sheet and refrigerate for about one hour, or until firm.

Melt the chocolate and shortening in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. For buckeyes: place a long skewer*** into each peanut butter ball and dip, one ball at a time into the chocolate, leaving the top quarter of each ball undipped. For peanut butter balls: dip the balls, one at a time in the melted chocolate, making sure the entire ball is coated with chocolate. Then, with two spoons or a dipping fork, remove the peanut butter ball from the chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the chocolate covered balls back on the baking sheet. When all the balls have been dipped in the chocolate, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.**** To serve: place in small flute candy cups or mini cup-cake cups.

Makes about 40 pieces depending on the size.

*The recipe has you check every 20 seconds, but I think 15 seconds is better.
**I added two cups of sugar, and it had the consistency of a soft dough. It got a little messy about half way through rolling the balls, but I liked the idea of less sugar. If you want a stiff dough, add all 2 1/2 cups.
***The recipe calls for a toothpick, but a skewer makes it much easier.
****We stored ours in the refrigerator, so the inside didn't get too soft.

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