October 5, 2008

Peanut-Butter Balls

(Updated 12.19.21) Peanut-butter balls are some of our all-time favorite Christmas cookies and we make them every December. They are so rich (lots of sugar, lots of butter, peanut butter, and chocolate) that it's probably just as well that we only make them once a year. They also make possibly the best cookie dough ever, and I always eat almost as many before dipping them as after. 

1: I'm never sure if natural peanut butter, which we normally have on hand in our house, would perform right in these cookies, so I always buy JIF or Skippy for this recipe just to be safe. 
2: On the chocolate: don't use bags of chocolate chips to melt and dip the peanut-butter balls in. Chips have wax in them and it seizes up as it cools and it just doesn't work as well. Baker's chocolate works well-- I prefer semi-sweet, but this year we also did a small number in melted bittersweet for the dark chocolate lovers in the house. 
3. We remove the double boiler of melted chocolate from the stove top to the table or counter for dipping because it's less messy that way. 
4. Last, we store our peanut-butter balls in a tin in the fridge, though maybe they'd be fine at room temperature. If chilled, let them sit out for a minute to warm up before eating them and they are softer and much more flavorful that way.  

Peanut-Butter Balls

12 graham crackers, finely crushed (we use food processor)
12 oz. chunky peanut butter 
1 lb. confectioner's sugar 
1/2 lb. butter, melted and cooled 
1 t vanilla 
16 oz. semisweet Baker's chocolate

Mix all ingredients except chocolate in large mixing bowl. 

Form into balls and chill. (As you can see from these pictures, we don't stress about the balls being uniform size since they aren't getting baked.)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. 

Bring entire double boiler (including warm pot of water underneath) to the counter or table. Dip peanut-butter balls in chocolate: toss them in, one at a time, quickly cover with chocolate, then lift up with a fork, gently tap once or twice over the bowl to get rid of excess chocolate, then slide fork off the side of the pot. Let dipped balls slide off the fork and onto wax paper. Let cool. Store in a container in refrigerator.

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