I wanted to make something a little different for dessert for our weekly neighborhood potluck. After some thought, I decided to make chocolate-peanut butter balls.
These are similar to peanut butter cups, but I didn't bother with trying to shape them into the standard Reese's shape. Balls were easier.
I found a recipe here. These are the ingredients:
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
4 cups milk chocolate chips (two 11.5-oz bags)
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
Since I was making these for a group, I doubled the recipe.
I started by melting the butter, peanut butter, and brown sugar on the stove.
It melts very readily.
While it heated, I measured out the powdered sugar I needed.
I added the powdered sugar a bit at a time, rather than all at once.
By adding the powdered sugar a bit at a time and stirring after each addition, the peanut butter mixture turns grainy and thick and is no longer "liquidy."
At this stage, have cookie sheets lined with waxed paper ready.
Then I made a mistake: I chilled the peanut butter mix. Wrong thing to do. Chilling makes it too brittle to roll into balls, so I had to re-heat the mix in the microwave to make it malleable again. Lesson learned: roll the mix into balls while it's still warm. Then chill.
Next step is to make the chocolate coating. Though I doubled the recipe, I only "singled" the chocolate part, figuring I could make more if needed. As it turned out, it wasn't needed.
Melt the chocolate chips/shortening in the microwave in 30-second increments. Everyone's microwave is different, and you don't want to go overboard on melting the chocolate, so take it slow.
Once the chocolate/shortening is melted and mixed, it's time to dip the peanut butter balls. A slotted spoon didn't work for me (the slots were too small and the chocolate didn't drain from the spoon), so after a bit of juggling, I ended up using a fork to sort of roll the balls around the chocolate, then fished them out with tongs.
I laid the wet balls on waxed paper.
When everything was dipped, I put the cookie sheets in the chest freezer for a few hours, just to harden things up.
The results are positively addicting.
I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator, but it's almost guaranteed they won't last long.