February 14, 2010 by Flora Dawn
What could be a more perfect combination than peanut butter and chocolate? And few treats could be easier than peanut butter balls. It’s a win-win situation. Peanut butter balls have been a holiday tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. The version my mom made had rice crispy cereal and dipped in chocolate. I ate a ton as a kid, they were pretty good. I have also had other people’s peanut butter balls, some aren’t covered in chocolate, some are made with chunky peanut butter, some contain liquor. None of these were really perfect in my opinion. I wanted something smooth and creamy, slightly sweet, but still very much a peanut butter and chocolate dessert.
After trying several things, I have a version that I think makes the perfect peanut butter balls. You can mix this by hand, but you will literally have to use your hands; it will be easier if you use a stand mixer. Kids especially enjoy helping roll the peanut butter mixture, don’t worry if they aren’t consistently sized, they’ll taste just as good. And we don’t save these treats for Christmastime, we have decided they are good year-round, especially for birthdays and Valentine’s Day.
Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate can be used, but bittersweet will give a more intense chocolate flavor; you can also use chocolate chips, but they don’t melt as smoothly as baking chocolate, so you’ll need to add butter, oil or shortening.
Peanut Butter Balls ready to dip
Dipped Peanut Butter Balls ready to eat
Perfect Peanut Butter Balls
- 1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter (this is an entire 16 oz jar)
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 12 oz bittersweet of semisweet chocolate (depending on the humidity and type of chocolate you use, you may need to add several tb of oil, butter or shortening to make the melted chocolate thin enough to dip properly)
- Line a baking sheet with parchment, waxed paper or a silicone mat; set aside
- In bowl of stand mixer, combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar, mixing until smooth, stiff dough is formed; you may have to knead dough a little with your hands.
- Using about 2 tsp dough, roll into balls; refrigerate until chilled.
- Place chocolate, and oil if using, in microwave safe bowl, and cook in 30 second intervals, stirring as needed, until melted. This usually takes about 2 minutes. Add more oil if needed to create a steady stream of chocolate when poured off a spoon.
- Remove peanut butter balls from refrigerator and either insert toothpick into balls or use slotted spoon to dip them into melted chocolate; we like them entirely covered in chocolate, but you could just dip half of them.
- Place on prepared pan, and remove toothpick if using. Return to refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to set.