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peanut butter balls
Makes: 60 to 70 tiny balls
Preparation Time: up to 3 hours
On one of my long stays in Paris, I was invited to a very chic house party in a gorgeous apartment that towered high above Montmartre. In attendance were many Parisians, several Europeans, and a few of us Americans. I was nervous about fitting in because I didn’t speak French and I had heard stories about the perfection of Parisian parties. I expected vintage music crooning from an old player and wide floor-to-ceiling windows strung open to let church bells and that perfect Paris light drift all around the fashionable room.
To avoid standing out with an average dish, I timed my arrival just so to buy a fresh apple and rhubarb tart from Les Petits Mitrons, a revered neighborhood bakery. I surmised that a local dessert might make me a hit with the swank crowd. Indeed, my first French house party was exactly how I pictured it. Everyone was terribly cool but also exceptionally sweet. And by the time the dessert offerings were passed, guests grabbed a little bit of everything, including my tart. But the real American victory was yet to be won.
One of the American guests who had lived in Paris for more than few years began to pass her dessert. She floated about the apartment, her tray floating, too, filled with tiny bites that became fewer in number the closer she got to me. The Parisians clearly loved it. I managed to grab one of the last sweets on the tray and when the maker explained the ingredients, I flipped. As it turns out, the Parisians love peanut butter and chocolate just as much as we Americans. Despite vintage music, Paris light, perfect fruit tarts and very stylish guests, the biggest hit were these Peanut Butter Balls.
The only change between this recipe and traditional “Buckeyes” is the rice cereal. The crunch cuts some of the sweet peanut butter flavor nicely. Crushed corn flakes work well too. Because they are so rich, I prefer small pieces — about 1 teaspoon each — but larger or smaller is just fine.
[3/4] cup confectioners’ sugar
1 cup peanut butter
3 tablespoons (1 [1/2] ounce) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup rice cereal
2 cups milk chocolate chips
Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
Add sugar, peanut butter and butter to a bowl. Mix to combine well - until no trace of confectioners’ sugar remains in the bowl.
Add rice cereal and mix to combine well - it’s easiest to combine with your clean hands.
With a measuring spoon or small scooper, form small balls the size of about 1 teaspoon. Use your hands to pinch, press and roll each into a little ball and place on cookie sheet.
When all the mixture has been formed into balls, place the baking sheet in the fridge overnight or in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill and harden.
When ready to coat your peanut butter balls with chocolate, prepare the double boiler. In a double boiler set over medium heat, place a bit of water in the bottom pot - making sure the water doesn’t touch the underside of the top pot. Assemble the double boiler. (If you don’t have a double boiler, just place a metal or glass bowl on top of a medium pot.)
Place the chocolate into the top part of a double boiler to melt until a smooth consistency. You may opt to temper the chocolate (see directions on page X) instead. If you plan to temper the chocolate, reserve half the chocolate for the tempering part of the process.
Roll each ball in the melted chocolate and return to the baking sheet. Chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours until hard. They will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
Gift Wrap Supplies:
Add balls to bowls. Cut a long length of ribbon and tie in a knot around the bowl. Trim excess ribbon.
Excerpt from FOOD GIFT LOVE by Maggie Battista. Copyright © 2015 by Maggie Battista. Photography © 2015 by Heidi Murphy. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.