Over the weekend, in New York, I had a delicious wholesome lunch with two wonderful childhood friends. There’s nothing like spending time with people who have known you your whole life over quinoa salad and sautéed brussels sprouts.
And there’s nothing like indulging in a chocolate truffle after filling your belly with organic veggies. Which is why, after taking a leisurely, sunny walk through Soho, I made a stop at Kee’s Chocolates (Kaffir lime infused dark chocolate truffle!) and then another at Jacques Torres (did you know they sell chocolate covered Cheerios?) and a final stop at Chocolate Bar (spicy milk chocolate!).
I adore the beauty of a chocolate shop. From a cozy corner confectionary serving steaming cocoa in china tea cups to an over-the-top high-end boutique with truffles displayed like jewels. I love the smell of chocolate, the symmetry of each pretty little square. How do they get each and every truffle, each caramel, each cherry cordial to shimmer with perfection? Every corner of every strawberry creme is an exact 90 degree angle, every morsel of cashew bark a slim parallelogram.
And while I well never turn down a beautiful bon bon from the latest and greatest chocolatiers, I am just as content to enjoy a homemade, lopsided confection. I’ve had dreams of opening my very own chocolate shop, but the dream vanishes when I remember that every truffle would have to be identical and perfect, over and over. Perfect is simply not in my nature. I like messy. I like my jeans ripped and my wine glasses unmatched. I like my oddly shaped truffles and fingerprints in my turtles.
These peanut butter balls (also called buckeyes) are perfect in their imperfection. If they are slightly different sizes, so much the better. If they aren’t perfectly round, that just makes them easier to bite. These are homey chocolates. These are chocolates that have no place in a velvet-lined glass case but every right to join in on Sunday dinner. Peanut butter balls are beyond easy to make, and are ideal for kid kitchen helpers. And no matter how awkwardly shaped they turn out, they will still be delicious. How can you go wrong with peanut butter and chocolate?
These peanut butter balls would make a great addition to your Easter dessert spread. They are also fantastic for Passover, if it’s your family or community tradition to consume peanuts on Passover. Peanuts are a strange gray area. As a nut, they would be generally considered acceptable Passover fare, but as a legume they come into question. In any case, you can certainly substitute almond butter for the peanut butter if that works better for your needs.
Peanut Butter Balls
Makes about 5 dozen
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup salted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups powdered sugar
24 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
In a medium sized bowl, stir together the peanut butter, melted butter, vanilla, and sugar until well combined. The mixture should be soft, but firm enough to form into balls (if too soft add a bit more sugar). Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Refrigerate the balls for at least an hour.
Melt the chocolate very slowly over a double boiler, or in 20-second bursts in the microwave, stirring often whichever method you choose. Dip each peanut butter ball in chocolate, carefully tapping off the excess. (Although messy, I find this easiest to do with my hands. You could use a fancy dipping spoon, or simply pierce each ball with a toothpick and use that to neatly dip it in the chocolate. But hands are most fun!) Place each chocolate coated peanut butter ball on the wax paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens. Remove from the refrigerator a few minutes before serving. They will keep in a container in the fridge for up to a week.