Thursday, December 15, 2011

Delights of December Day 15 ~ Peanut Butter Balls

One of our family's favorite Christmas candies -- to eat and to give away -- is peanut butter balls. I have tried different recipes over the years and have narrowed it down to 2 recipes that I really like. The first one is my kids' favorite, and I really prefer the flavor of these too. The second one is much easier to make and more professional-looking. You might want to try them both and see which one your family prefers!

1 cup butter or margarine
1 1/4 cups peanut butter
3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
3 1/2 cups rice krispies cereal
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 of an 8-ounce milk chocolate candy bar
A 2-inch square of paraffin wax, cut up
Melt butter in 2-quart heavy saucepan over low heat. Add peanut butter; stir until blended. Remove from heat.
Combine confectioners sugar and rice krispies in mixing bowl. Pour hot peanut butter mixture over all; mix thoroughly, using hands. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on wax paper-lined cookie sheet.  Cover and refrigerate 1 hour.
In top of double boiler, combine remaining ingredients. Place over simmering hot water until melted. Dip chilled peanut butter balls in chocolate mixture to coat. Return to wax paper-lined cookie sheets.
Chill until set. Store in covered tin in refrigerator. Makes about 6 dozen candies.

Now, I have what I think is the world’s best peanut butter ball recipe, and it’s not this one. This is the one I always used to make before finding my favorite. I think, however, that all of my kids prefer the
ones with the rice krispies. Below, though, is what I consider


2 c. confectioners sugar
2 Tblsp. butter, room temperature
1 Tblsp. milk
2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
1 c. chocolate OR vanilla chips
1 Tblsp. crisco
For decoration: colored sugar or candy sprinkles

In a medium bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients, using your hands or a mixer until blended. Mix in peanut butter.
Line a jelly-roll pan or cookie sheet with wax paper. Roll sugar mixture (about 1 heaping teaspoon each) into 3/4” balls. Place these on the lined pan. Chill at least 2 hours until firm.
Melt the chocolate and shortening together on the stovetop or in the microwave (my preference). One at a time, spear the peanut butter balls with a toothpick. Dip in melted chocolate; lift out and let the excess chocolate drip off. Return each dipped ball to the lined pan. Remove toothpick. Before chocolate sets up, sprinkle each ball with colored sugar or candy sprinkles.
Chill candy for 10-15 minutes to firm up chocolate. Remove from pan. Store airtight in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Makes 40.

These are to my mind the best and easiest peanut butter balls. I sent many of these in college care packages over the years!

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