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Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes)



My favorite thing to make at Christmas are these chocolate covered peanut butter balls, also known as buckeyes, (which I have been making every year for well over 10 years now.)  I generally only make them at Christmas because even though it's just a couple of super simple ingredients, they do take a little bit of time to assemble... you have to roll all the peanut butter balls, freeze them and then dip them in melted chocolate, (dipping that many at once in chocolate is definitely a labor of love!)  However, it's TOTALLY worth it because it is a family favorite and everyone loooooooves them.  I usually make two or three batches and once they are all finished I place them in the mini cupcake wrappers and box them up as little gifts for friends and neighbors!  (One batch makes about 60 peanut butter balls.)  

Ingredients:
2 cups creamy peanut butter (not reduced fat)
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 cups powdered sugar 

2 cups semi sweet or dark chocolate chips
2-1/2 Tbsp vegetable shortening, (I use the butter flavored)

Line baking sheets with waxed paper.  Beat peanut butter and butter in large mixer bowl until creamy.  Beat in the powdered sugar until the mixture holds together.  (If it's too sticky add in a little extra powdered sugar.)  Roll in to about 3/4 to 1 inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.  Freeze for at least 1 hour.  

Melt chocolate chips and shortening in the microwave on high for one minute.  Stir and if necessary, microwave at additional 20-30 second intervals until just melted.  Dip the frozen peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate using a fork and toothpick or chocolate dipping tool.  Shake off excess chocolate and return to baking sheet.  Refrigerate till chocolate is set.  Drizzle with additional chocolate if desired. Store in covered container in the refrigerator.

(Note:  To get the perfect, thin drizzle over the top, I put some of the melted chocolate in a little baggie and snip just the very, very tip of the bag off of one corner.)


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