Holiday traditions are the best, right?
One of my more recent holiday traditions was literally handed to me by my brother Roger’s mother in law, “Lou.”
Each year when I blew into town from college for holiday visits Lou would always have a special plate of several handmade holiday sweets for me … and her special chosen ones. There were cookies and brownies and some things I never knew what they were called and I loved them anyway because they tasted great and they were made with love.
Of all the holiday treats the ones I always ate first were the chocolate pb balls. If you love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups you will love these as much as Christmas itself!
A few years after Lou had passed I remembered these favorites and finally tracked down the recipe through a family member “Dollie” who secured her spot in “Awesomeville” forever more for sending a pic of the recipe (below) my way. On Thanksgiving weekend 2013 two of my nieces (Lou’s grandkids) Kim and Lizzie and I made these together and it was one of the most special things ever!
We all love and miss Lou very much. But especially when I eat these chocolate covered peanut butter balls, she’s only a lick of a chocolatey finger and a wink away!
foodie tips ~
♥ What’s oleo? It’s margarine. What’s better than margarine? BUTTER! Which butter’s best? Falfurrias brand butter per my grandmother Nanny and my stomach! Get the unsalted stuff.
♥ Kim, Lizzie and I had a difficult time finding the paraffin wax. My local HEB Foodie intercepted our shopper’s frustration and told us to use chocolate cubes because they have more cocoa and they include the paraffin wax ingredients which makes them great for coating. He was right! We omitted the Hershey’s chocolate bar (forgive me), the chocolate chips (forgive me again) and the paraffin wax and used Ambrosia brand Chocolate Flavored Bark Coating (a.k.a. bark coating).
♥ We were only able to find Jif Extra Crunchy peanut butter. I checked out the Jif website and it appears Jif only produces creamy or extra crunchy peanut butter (no “regular” crunchy) at this time. My hunch is that the folks at Jif had some consumer insight that said their customers are big crunch lovers.
♥ About 30 balls into the mass dipping, we noticed the balls were starting to crumble when the toothpicks were inserted into them or when they were toothpick diving into the chocolate. Angry faces! We put the tray of balls into the freezer for 10-15 minutes and they firmed right back up. Happy faces! You can leverage your angry broken ball frustration by re-forming any broken balls into new balls or simply put the broken pieces into a freezer-safe Ziploc bag – I plan to decorate the top of a large bowl of ice cream with the broken pieces. Soon.
♥ If the melted chocolate becomes difficult to work with, zap it in the microwave about 30 seconds and it’ll return to creamy.
♥ We doubled this recipe and it made a ton! Plan on a single batch yielding about 50-60 balls. For the doubling we used extra butter to aid with forming (½ cup) and extra chocolate to help coat (4-6 squares) for each batch.
♥ On the next go of this recipe I’m going to try and drizzle some white chocolate on top for some contrast. That was actually Kim’s idea but since I typed this recipe up on Betty’s Cook Nook, I’ll take credit for it. Ssssshhhh! :)
1 stick | margarine (oleo)
1 pound | powdered sugar
2 cups | jif brand chunky (extra crunchy) peanut butter
3 cups | kellogg’s brand rice krispies cereal
8 ounce bag | hershey brand chocolate bar*
6 – 9 ounces | chocolate chips*
⅛ pound (½ a slab) | paraffin wax*
* See an important foodie tip above regarding a substitution for these three ingredients.
ii. tools n’ materials
1 | medium-large mixing bowl
1 | tray for refrigerating the peanut butter balls
1 | pyrex bowl for microwaving the chocolate
1 | spatula for mixing and dipping the chocolate
a few | toothpicks for dipping
a few sheets | wax paper or nonstick foil
to present | petit four cups or packaging, if gift giving
iii. what to do
1. Mix together the butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter and the rice krispies. Form the mixture into 1″ balls then refrigerate for at least 1 hour. You will have to use pressure to mold the balls as the mixture is fairly dry. You’ll get better at forming as you go!
2. Just before you’re ready to start dipping, melt your Ambrosia bark coating (or the last three ingredients above) in a microwave safe Pyrex bowl. Do not boil!
3. Insert a toothpick into the center of the rolled ball and completely dip it into the melted chocolate. With the toothpick horizontal to the bowl gently tap the toothpick and ball against the rim of the bowl a few times to return some of the chocolate “runoff” back into the bowl. If you leave too much chocolate on the ball it may form a flat foot for the finished ball and this tapping technique will yield a tight round ball.
4. While the ball is still on the toothpick move it over a tray or counter lined with wax paper (or nonstick foil) and shake it off of the toothpick. It may be helpful to use a second toothpick to free the ball from the toothpick. If there’s a crater-blemish on the top of the ball you can smooth things over with the toothpick or a dab more chocolate. Continue dipping the balls until you’re all done.
5. The chocolate will cool with a little time. You can transfer the finished chocolate covered peanut butter balls to fluted paper petit four cups or to a serving plate or gift box.
Yields: 50 – 60 balls per batch