New gift giving staple - Buckeye Balls

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. My immediate family was always close and there are so many memories that make me smile and little things that say to me, holidays, family, and love. My sister has done a great job of keeping alive the traditions our mother created for us. And with both our parents gone, we find that we're introducing my nephew to these same traditions while creating new ones of our own.

One of the traditions that I love is baking for family, friends, and neighbors. And it's also one that I've failed at miserably in the past. I love browsing through holiday editions of cooking magazines and looking at holiday gift-giving recipes. I still do it but I rarely end up making any of the recipes I've flagged. If anything I might try one, maybe two new cookies.

Last year the new holiday treat I tested out was the Buckeye Ball - a recipe from a friend. (By the way, the giggly teenager in me immediately thinks of Schweddy Balls whenever I say this.) I'm not sure where she originally got the recipe as it appeared to have been photocopied several times and had handwritten comments. I did a quick search on the Internet and it looks like a fairly common recipe with slight variations. So apologies to the original creator but hats off to giving us something that is simple to make and delicious to eat.

And when I say it's simple to make you essentially take four ingredients and mix them together, chill the mixture, form it into balls, dip them into chocolate, and let them set. That's pretty much it. What you have is a treat that everyone seems to love - who doesn't love peanut butter and chocolate.

Here's the recipe:

1 28 oz. jar of crunchy peanut butter
1 stick of butter (or margarine), melted
1 16 oz box confectioner's sugar
3 cups Rice Crispies
1 12 oz. bag of Nestle semi-sweet morsels
3 1 oz. squares semi-sweet baker's chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons Crisco shortening

Mix the peanut butter, butter, and sugar together. Add the Rice Crispies and mix. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Melt the chocolate and Crisco in a double boiler.

Remove the mixture from the fridge and form into balls (I used a 1 tablespoon scoop to keep them about the same size. Dip the balls into chocolate, place an a tray or baking sheet covered with wax paper, and chill to set the chocolate.


I used a 1 tablespoon sized scoop to form the mixture into balls
and  refrigerated them overnight (not a necessary step)

Dipped each in chocolate and shook off the excess

Placed them on a wax paper covered tray for drying

Prettied them up in little candy cups, ready for giving

This recipe is pretty forgiving. I made the peanut butter mixture one night. Formed them another night. And dipped them in chocolate another night. The only thing I've found is they need to be kept in the fridge - and this is true even in Boston in the winter (I can't imagine how these will do in Hawaii). And by substituting margarine for the butter and being sure to use semi-sweet chocolate and not milk chocolate, my friend who is allergic to dairy is able to enjoy them too.

This is definitely a recipe worth trying, everyone will love you for it, and if someone like me who fails in the homemade dessert treats department can do it, so can you.

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