Peanut Butter Balls
The older I get the more I admire the hospitality of my grandmother over the holidays. She would make a dozen different cookies, bars, and these peanut butter balls every single year — all on top of making a huge dinner spread and housing guests overnight. I did not recognize the amount of work and personal sacrifice she gave to making everything so nice until I started hosting events in my own home. I wish I could sincerely thank her one last time.
My grandmother's homemade peanut butter balls taste like they could have been picked up at a chocolate shop. The key is using quality ingredients and pulverizing the graham crackers completely in a blender. Obtaining an even coating of chocolate on each ball is a tedious process, but well worth the pain for the end result of gourmet chocolate peanut butter candies.
Recipe yields roughly 3 dozen peanut butter balls.
1 ½ cup Peanut Butter
1 cup butter (two sticks)
4 cups powdered sugar
1 ⅓ cup graham crackers (crushed)
3 cups milk chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. shortening
Crush graham crackers by sending through a blender or food processor.
Combine peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and graham crumbs in large mixing bowl and mix until uniform.
Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.
Using a tablespoon measuring spoon or dough baller, scoop and form 1" balls on lined baking sheet.
Freeze balls until they are solid enough to be picked up by a toothpick (at least 30 minutes).
Melt chocolate and shortening in a small double boiler or fondue pot.
Remove about ⅓ of the peanut butter balls from the freezer and pick one up at a time with a toothpick. (This keeps the others nice and frozen while you work in batches.)
Dip balls in melted chocolate and let set on a lined baking sheet.
Use the toothpick to create a swirl pattern to cover the toothpick hole.**
Repeat until all the peanut butter balls have been coated.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to consume.
While technically not necessary to blend the graham crackers, it is absolutely necessary to have finely powdered crumbs to achieve a gourmet, smooth filling.
*I find the more frozen the balls are, the easier it is to coat evenly with the hot chocolate. There is no harm in making the peanut butter filling ahead of time and freezing completely.
**You may also cover the toothpick hole with a chocolate or peanut butter chip. Another alternative is sprinkling excess graham crumbs overtop as a decorative accent.
Semi-sweet chocolate chips can be used instead of milk, but the end product will be a little less sweet.
Peanut butter balls are a dessert I make a couple times each year. Peanut butter and chocolate is my husband's favorite dessert combination, so these disappear pretty quickly. If you don't plan to eat them all within a couple of weeks, you can easily freeze and pull out a few at a time to enjoy.