Thursday, December 15, 2016

Balls!

It's December so that means I trot out festive sweet treats that I only make this time o' year. One is my Italian grandmother's anise-flavored waffle cone cookies also known as pizzelles. Those are a throwback to my childhood and now my mom, cousin and I continue the tradition. Check out some silly photos from a 2012 baking sesh with Mom & Angela HERE.

There is a new sweet that I recently folded into my stable of holiday rituals. It's a variation on what some people call "Buckeye Balls." But I class it up with fine artisan chocolate that takes this treat to the next level. Also the addition of graham crackers gives the balls a little crunch and texture while also binding the balls together. (It's an optional ingredient though, if you are gluten sensitive.) I'll list the base recipe and provide my Pro-Baller Tips that further improve the process and the final product.


Kali's Fancy Schweddy Christmas Balls
  • 2 cups Finely Crushed Graham Crackers
  • 1-2 cups Powdered Sugar (adjust if you want less sweetness than a Reese's PB cup)
  • 2 cups Chunky Peanut Butter (Adams Chunky recommended)
  • 1/2 cup Butter (Organic Valley Pasture Butter recommended)
  • 1 lb Chocolate for melting (2 x Scharffen Berger 62% Cacao 9.7oz pkgs recommended)

1. Mix together all ingredients, except chocolate
2. Freeze mixture for at least a 1/2 hour
3. Roll balls, 1 1/4" in diameter is ideal


[Tip: Use a balling tool to keep them uniform size and to keep your hands out of the peanut butter]
4. Place peanut butter mix balls on non-stick or parchment paper-covered metal sheet/flat pan 
5. Freeze for at least a 1/2 hour 
[Tip: The harder/colder the balls are, the easier it is to work with the chocolate later.] 
6. Melt chocolate over low heat in a sauce pan
7. Move pan off burner. Let it cool to lukewarm. 
[Tip: Is it cool enough that you rest your hand on the side of the pan? If so, go get the balls out of the freezer]
[Tip: Portion out the balls to only have to handle half of them outside the freezer at a time because the peanut butter balls thaw very quickly.] 
8. Using two large soup or tablespoons, scoop up some chocolate and juggle a ball between the two spoons while drizzling chocolate over it. Make sure the ball is fully covered all the way around and then set down in the pan again. 
[Level Up Challenge: If you have something to prove or are adept with proper skills, you can use chopsticks which minimize the wasted chocolate that can collect in the spoons or end up splashed on the cooling sheet.]
9. Get the chocolate covered balls back in the freezer as soon as possible to set.
10. Once chocolate hardens, store in sealed container or ziplock bags in fridge or freezer.
Enjoy!

Makes 48 balls (with baller tool)