There’s a storm headed this way, and I’ve gone into full Christmas mode, you guys. There’s no stocking, but there are glittery acorns and lights that I plan on tripping fantastic, and winter berries and cinnamon pine cones and there are these: what my family called peanut butter balls. Yours might call them buckeye balls, but you’d be wrong. Alright, alright, not wrong, exactly, but why not just call it what it is: peanut butter & butter, creamed together with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, dipped in semi-sweet chocolate. It’s a peanut butter ball. We grew up making peanut butter balls every December, along with a handful of other family staples: fudge from the red & white checked Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook, gingerbread and other assorted cookies, an occasional divinity or two. But these. These were it. These peanut butter balls were Christmas, wrapped in a chocolate coating. And since Christmas is the time for giving, I thought I’d share my recipe, so that you can share them with someone, too. Ingredients (makes approximately 30-odd peanut butter balls) 3 cups confectioner’s sugar 5 T unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter (the less oil separation the better, but be sure to choose peanut butter with no sugar added) 1 tsp vanilla To make, cream butter, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla together until combined. The dough will be a little crumbly, but not too dry. The dough should be easily moldable into balls, but not at all sticky. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper, and roll dough into 1-inch balls. Place in refrigerator to chill for at least two hours. When the fats in the dough have solidified (I told you; I’m telling it like it is. This is Christmas candy, you guys.), melt 2 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips over a double boiler. Do not let chocolate get too hot; I like to bring the water to a rolling boil, then turn it off and place the chocolate on top. The residual steam is usually enough to melt the chocolate to dipping consistency. To dip the balls, poke the top with a toothpick, and swirl around in the melted chocolate. Keep the toothpick clean, and leave a small circle uncovered around the hole. Some people leave this part uncovered, to resemble the “eye” of the buckeye (also known as a chestnut). My family always dipped the entire batch, leaving the eye uncovered, then used a small spoon to spread a little cap on top of each one. I think they look a little nicer this way, but it’s up to you! Allow the peanut butter balls to cool completely, then store in an airtight container. They will keep in the fridge til long past Christmas, but I don’t think you’ll need to worry about that.
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