Give the gift of sweetness this season by cooking up some of these fabulous, giftable treats. Today's recipe, featuring two great tastes that taste great together, comes from www.joyofbaking.com.
Peanut butter balls:
2 cups creamy peanut butter
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1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 - 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
9 oz. semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons shortening
Place the peanut butter, unsalted butter, and salt in a microwaveable bowl, and heat in the microwave for about one minute or until just soft (check and stir the ingredients every 20 seconds). Stir in the vanilla extract and powdered sugar and mix until it has the consistency of a dough (add more sugar if necessary).
Roll the dough into 1 inch round balls. Place on the cookie sheet and refrigerate for about one hour, or until firm.
Melt the chocolate and shortening in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Dip the balls, one at a time, in the melted chocolate, making sure the entire ball is coated with chocolate. Then, with two spoons or a dipping fork, remove the peanut butter ball from the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the chocolate covered balls back on the baking sheet. When all the balls have been dipped in the chocolate, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Note: If you want to make Buckeyes: place a toothpick into each peanut butter ball and dip, one ball at a time, into the melted chocolate, leaving the top quarter of each ball undipped.
Makes about 40 pieces, depending on size.