Peppermint Balls

Peppermint Balls

While the holiday baking season might be over, we’re still eating our left overs. No complaints though! My newest favorite candy is these peppermint balls. I originally tried to make patties, (like this recipe suggests) but they didn’t work out as well and ended up coated in less chocolate. Once we got past that part, the recipe was actually surprisingly easy, I don’t think these will be regulated to just winter holiday food after this year.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups confectioners sugar (you might need a little more or less depending on how it comes together.)
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water (we had the best luck with warm water)
2 teaspoon peppermint extract (the original recipe called for one, but we like it a little more minty)
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Beat 2 1/4 cups of confectioners sugar together with corn syrup, water, peppermint extract and vegetable shortening until combined. The mixture might crumbly (this is good!) If it isn’t, add some more sugar. Dust a work surface with remaining 1/4 cup of confectioners sugar.Empty contents of bowl onto work surface and knead until smooth (this will take a few minutes). This is when we put it back in the bowl and stuck it in the freezer. Where we left it for about an hour.

Before you take the dough out of the freezer, you need to temper your chocolate. Melt the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring in between. Cool slightly.

Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove dough from freezer. Using a spoon make a ball and dip into the chocolate and then set on the parchment paper. If the chocolate doesn’t cover the ball all the way, drip chocolate over the top once it is on the wax paper. Once all the dough is used, put the entire baking sheet into the freezer.

Once set, we stored these in the refrigerator between wax paper.

Peppermint Balls (inside)

My opinion:
The colder the dough is the easier it will be to work with. We ended up doing these in two batches because the dough thawed too much in between.

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Buckeyes

I’m sort of from Ohio, so while other people call these peanut butter balls, I call them Buckeyes. (Note: Just because I’m sort of from Ohio does not mean I love Ohio State. In fact, I don’t. I much prefer the Mizzou Tigers.) This recipe is from Fitness Magazine.

Ingredients:
1 16-ounce jar low-fat, low sodium smooth peanut butter (about 1 3/4 cups, I did this by weight)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
6 cups confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar)
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
4 1/2 teaspoons shortening
Toothpicks and waxed paper

Directions:
Place peanut butter and butter in the large bowl of a sturdy stand mixer. Beat on medium speed until very smooth, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
Roll mixture into 1-inch balls. Arrange balls on waxed paper-lined trays or baking sheets. Cover and chill for 3 hours or overnight.
In a small, heavy saucepan, melt chocolate chips and shortening over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Keep warm over very low heat. Remove about one-fourth of the peanut butter balls from the refrigerator. Use a toothpick to hold a peanut butter ball and lower it into the chocolate, leaving the top exposed so that it looks like a buckeye. Allow excess chocolate to drip off.
Place ball, undipped portion up, on waxed paper-lined tray or baking sheet. Repeat with remaining peanut butter balls until all are dipped. Chill for 30 minutes, or until firm. Store in the refrigerator.

My Opinion:
I used the entire jar of Smuckers Natural peanut butter. To get it re-emulsified, I used the bread hook on my mixer. Luckily, I didn’t toss it in the dishwasher because I needed it to help incorporate the powdered sugar into the peanut butter. Even then, I only managed to get four cups of powdered sugar into the peanut butter. So don’t fret if you can’t get all six cups in. As for the chocolate dipping, FORGET IT. I just spooned the chocolate over the peanut butter balls. Dipping them just made a huge mess and caused more frustration than good. They didn’t look perfect, but tasted just as good.