Top Secret Crispy Peanut Butter Balls And The Key To True Happiness.
I was going to name this post something like “My Mother’s Secret Balls” or “Real Domestiphobes Like Balls Any Time Of Year,” but I didn’t. Which I think it a true testament to how far I’ve come, maturity-wise, since that time I kept talking about nipples.
Because I realized that people from all different walks read this here blog, and while I’m probably going to always be an arm’s reach from politically correct, I should probably reach out and touch it every-now-and-then, just to make sure it’s still there, dangling relaxed and provocative, right outside my periphery.
(And that’s called symbolism, kids.
Just to demonstrate how much this blog has helped me improve my writing skills.)
So. The Holidays are over, and I’m kind of happy about it because it means we can actually get to work. Yep. I said it. Hopefully contractors will start actually showing up at my house for estimates so Justin and I can stop living in this half-baked limbo of stripped-but-not-stained floors and partially demolished kitchen.
Oh, yeah. The floors? Well. The pet stains didn’t completely come out of the dining area after Justin sanded, so we’re trying to get a professional’s opinion on what our next step should be. And we ordered a new range and refrigerator just before the holidays to take advantage of sales, so we started ripping out a portion of the kitchen to make them fit. Except now? Now this”simple” kitchen update, true to form, has snowballed into a rearranging of the cabinets and appliances, a removal of soffits, a replacement of countertops and, most foreboding of all, a fairly complicated flooring project.
But I’ll get you up to speed on that when I actually have some answers.
In the meantime, I will share with you a recipe that I probably should’ve shared with you before the holidays, because it’s one of those things you’ll likely only be inclined to make — and eat — but once per year. But I’m sharing it now just in case you want to make them for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Now I realize about a million food bloggers shared recipes for peanut butter balls this year. They were all over Pinterest from Thanksgiving to Christmas, taunting the fact that I’ve hoarded my mom’s recipe from you for so long. And of course their pictures are better than mine and their staging is better than mine and probably they stored them in beautiful containers with brown paper lining and festive holiday ribbon, but I assure you — their balls? Their balls are not better than mine.
Because the peanut butter balls my mom used to make every year when I was a kid had an extra element that put them over the top — a slight, crispy crunch that was so satisfying to the palate, I could eat them by the dozen even before the dipping-in-chocolate part.
Crispy Chocolate-Covered Peanut Butter Balls
To make them, you will need:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 4 cups crispy rice cereal
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 1 (12-oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 (12-oz.) package butterscotch chips
- 1/3 – 1/2 bar paraffin wax (optional)
Now listen. Let’s not balk at the ingredients. I kind of want to throw up when I read them, too. Especially since food and I have come to terms on a fairly agreeable living arrangement. But these are special occasion peanut butter balls. The intent is to make a batch, stuff as many into your mouth as you can until you’re utterly disgusted with your own lack of willpower, then package the rest up to share with friends and family so that they can feel bad about themselves right along with you.
Sharing is caring, people.
Oh, and the wax? Yeah, kinda creepy. But the thing is, I tried it without the wax, and the coating is too thick and doesn’t hold. I did about a minute of online research and came to the conclusion that while it’s probably not good for you (in terms of preservatives and artificial ingredients), it’s safe to eat. And okay. We’re making peanut butter balls, here. Health isn’t exactly at the forefront of our priorities. Here’s The Kitchn’s take on the subject, and there are some helpful alternatives in the comments section.
Now for the good part:
1) Mix the powdered sugar and rice cereal together in a large bowl.
Oh God. You can really appreciate the hideousness of our olive-green laminate counters here.
2) On the stove or in the microwave (I prefer stove so I can keep an eye on it), melt the butter and peanut butter.
It should be pretty runny:
3) Pour the melted peanut butter/butter over the cereal and sugar, then mix everything together.
Once mixed, refrain from eating (too much of) it by the spoonful.
4) Form it into 1/2″ – 1″ balls.
I made my balls a little big.
Set them on a wax paper-lined cookie sheet, cover, and refrigerate until solid. (I actually freezed mine at this point for a few days until I was ready to dip.) It’s probably a good idea to padlock the fridge so you don’t continuously snack on them.
5) When you’re ready to dip them, remove the balls from the fridge/freezer. Melt the chocolate, butterscotch, and wax using whichever method you prefer.
I like to create a double boiler by filling about half of a large pot with water, bringing it to a boil, and setting a smaller pot with the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, and wax inside to prevent scorching. This way, I can also add the wax a few small chunks at a time to get the consistency I like.
Take a second to admire your coil-topped stove and olive-green counter combo.
After a while, it will start to get gooey.
The above photo is before I added any wax and it was way too thick.
So I added a few chunks…
Until finally it was ready for the balls.
I’d just toss ’em into the pan one or two at a time, roll them around, then remove them with a spoon and let them dry on waxed paper. My mom preferred the toothpick method, but then she’d have to go back and add a little dab of chocolate to the top of each ball to cover the hole.
My way is sloppier, but faster.
Plus, I still had plenty of chocolate leftover to pour over graham crackers. (The larger your balls, the less overall surface area you’ll have to cover, leaving more leftover chocolate. It has nothing to do with the fact that I ate two or fourteen of them before dipping. Nothing.)
They don’t take long to set up, and once they do, I definitely suggest eating one or seven while they’re still warm.
And now that I’ve gone back and re-lived the ecstasy that is my mom’s crispy chocolate peanut butter balls, I’m thinking maybe we should have them for MLK day. And Flag Day. And also every Thursday, just for good measure.
Don’t forget to pin this recipe to Pinterest so you can find it again later: