Thursday, February 13, 2014

Reese's Peanut Butter Balls

So, Valentine’s Day is almost upon us, and according to the Greeting Card Association, it’s the 2nd biggest holiday for cards. For candy sales, Valentine’s Day is the 4th leader. Not as impressive, but $950 million is a pretty hefty sum. When I was growing up, my mom used to make these Reese’s Peanut Butter Balls, and when I had a family of my own, they became a recipe that I made frequently at Valentine’s Day. When I had paper routes, when my daughters were young, I sometimes made them also for the staff at the newspaper office, and they were popular!

I have to admit, they really are so good, and even though I don’t eat a lot of sweets, I can’t help but scarfing a few when I make these! They rival their commercial counterpart in taste and quality. The only adjustment I’ve made to the recipe my mom used is using natural peanut butter, which I prefer for any peanut butter use anyway. Do not be fooled by some of the new “natural” peanut butters in the average grocery stores; read the labels and you’ll see that they have sugar and other ingredients that are not different than regular peanut butters. I use Smuckers Natural Peanut Butter almost exclusively; the only ingredients are peanuts and salt. Because I have found that using a true natural peanut butter with only peanuts and salt as ingredients makes for the best flavor in these treats, that is what I list for the recipe and what I recommend. Take my experience in this matter and use it. If you can‘t trust the lady with the wand in a cooking matter, who can you trust? ;)

So, first measure out your peanut butter and place in a bowl with the softened butter.

Using a mixer, beat together well, making sure there are no lumps.

Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix well using a strong wooden spoon.

Using a 1 oz. scoop, measure out the mixture….

….and roll into balls, placing on a platter or sheet pan. Refrigerate for half an hour or so.

Meanwhile, in a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips and the wax until smooth. If you don’t have a double boiler, do what I do: use a saucepan on top that is slightly smaller than the pot on the bottom. Fill the bottom pot with enough water to boil but not touch the bottom of the smaller top pot. When the water comes to a boil, lower heat so it keeps to a low boil. Keep stirring the wax and chocolate.

A little bit of information here: you’re using paraffin wax to make the chocolate coating of the candy shiny and able to be handled without just melting from the touch of  your hot little hands. ;) This is what some commercial chocolatiers do.The amount of wax you use can also be individual. When making this recipe, I’ve used as little as ¼ bar and as much as ½ bar (the original measure in the recipe). The amount I came to prefer for keeping melting at bay but keeping it from feeling like you’re chewing a wad of waxy chocolate is about a scant 1/3 bar.

So, using a toothpick poked into the middle of each peanut butter ball, dip them into the melted chocolate/wax mixture.

There will be a small area at the top with no chocolate on it; after they are all dipped, I simply dip a spoon into the melted chocolate/wax mixture and touch the tip of it to the “un-chocolated” spot to cover. You may have to reheat the chocolate/wax mixture as needed.

Serve to your family in whatever way you wish. They can be simply placed on a dish to enjoy, or put in a box or other container. Here is a special heart shaped box (that I made) that you might like to make to showcase them so sweetly: Do It Yourself Valentine's Box. Enjoy! ~TMMF

          Reese's Peanut Butter Balls

          2 c. natural peanut butter
          1/2 c softened butter
          4 c confectioner's sugar (1 lb)
          1 12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
          1/3 bar parafin wax

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