Monday, August 29, 2011

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Balls

Old fashioned peanut butter balls are a rich dessert, both in its heritage and its taste. A classic Christmas confection, peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar are rolled into balls and dipped in chocolate. If you remember these from your childhood, one bite will take you right back.

Old Fashioned Peanut Butter Balls

In the Deep South, we don't typically do buckeyes, the peanut butter and chocolate confection from Ohio, that is partially dipped so that the result is patterned after the nut of the buckeye tree. We do peanut butter balls down here. The concept, of course, is the same, we just completely encase our peanut butter balls in chocolate. Raise your hand if you have memories of these peanut butter balls at Christmastime. I certainly do.

Mama made these every Christmas for as long as I can remember and back in the day she used the recipe for chocolate chips melted with the edible paraffin wax over a double boiler to make them. As a young gal I always thought it was odd to be consuming wax, but hey, they were so tasty that it really didn't make much never mind to us kids. You can just use your favorite chocolate candy coating, whatever you usually work with, though I have to admit, nothing really seems to work as well as the old paraffin method did.

While I realize that it's not Christmas quite yet, I recently made these for my grandson's pirate-themed birthday party - calling them cannonballs - and of course they were a hit as always, though I think they were more of a hit with the adults than the kids! Might have a bit to do with that whole nostalgia thing.

These are a little different from the no-bake, cafeteria peanut butter balls out there that contain some form of cereal, oatmeal, graham cracker, or other form of binder. Those are delicious too, but I prefer the creamier insides, and this is the way my Mama made them, so it's the way I make them too. Hard to break that tradition, I guess.

Here's how I make my Old-Fashioned Peanut Butter Balls.

Cream together, by hand, the peanut butter and the butter, then mix in the powdered sugar a little at a time until well mixed. 

Use a small 1-tablespoon cookie scoop or just pinch off dough to form balls, rolling them into about 1-inch size. I love my scoopers, but I just pinched these off. Place onto wax paper or parchment covered baking trays and store in the refrigerator to firm up, for about an hour.

Melt the chocolate and the shortening in the top of a double boiler. I use the shortening in place of the edible paraffin that was once very common with these chocoalte balls to both provide adhesion and add sheen to the chocolate. 

Drop peanut butter balls, one at a time, into the chocolate and toss with a fork to cover. If you want to make Buckeyes, dip the balls so that you leave just a little bit of the peanut butter ball underneath showing at the top - toothpicks are handy for this job. Lift them out, letting the excess chocolate drain off, and transfer to wax or parchment paper to set. Repeat until you've done all the balls.

For more of my favorite candy recipes, visit my page on Pinterest!

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Posted by on August 29, 2011
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