‘Tis the Season for Cookies: Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

There’s something very satisfying about the peanut butter/chocolate combo, especially peanut butter and milk chocolate. Those two are part of classic combos that you easily think of, peanut butter and jelly, milk and cookies, cake and ice cream, just to name a few.

Also be sure check out the other participants of ‘Tis the Season for Cookies to see their fabulous cookie recipes as well!:

Diana Cannone at To Di for Bakery.
Judy Chiappini at No Fear Entertaining.
Mandee Racer Pogue at The Kitchen Wife.
Marye Audet-White at Restless Chipotle.
Renee Joslyn at Flamingo Musings.
Sandy Smith at Eat Real.
And Sherri Jo at The Adventures of Kitchen Girl Jo.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls

This week’s theme is Fancy Cookies! But nothing says fancy has to be hard. 😉

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls: Peanut Butter Ball Fillings

What You’ll Need for the Peanut Butter Balls:
1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup of peanut butter (Note: You can use smooth or crunchy.)
1 cup of powdered sugar

Mix together a can of sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter until thoroughly mixed.

Mix the powdered sugar in to the peanut butter mixture until incorporated a ball forms.

Take roughly a tablespoon of the mixture and roll it in to a ball. Place the ball on a lined baking sheet and repeat until you run out of filling.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls: Peanut Butter Balls

Next make your chocolate coating.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls: Chocolate Covering

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Coating:
1 package of chocolate chips (Note: I usually use milk chocolate with peanut butter, but you can use dark or semi-sweet if you like instead.)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil

In a large glass bowl melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave on 10 seconds intervals, stirring between rounds, until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Dip each peanut butter ball in chocolate until completely covered:

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls: Dipping in Chocolate

And place each ball back on the baking sheet:

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls: Dipped

Next make the peanut butter drizzle.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls: Peanut Butter Drizzle

What You’ll Need for the Peanut Butter Drizzle:
1/2 cup of peanut butter chips
1 teaspoon of coconut oil
1 heaping tablespoon of peanut butter

Melt the peanut butter chips with the coconut oil on the same 10 second intervals you used for the chocolate, stirring between, until melted. Once melted stir in the peanut butter until smooth.

Drizzle each covered peanut butter ball with the peanut butter drizzle and put them back on the sheet.

Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls: Done!

Notes: You can sprinkle with crushed peanuts if you want, instead of the peanut butter drizzle (honey roasted peanuts would be particularly nice) or you can dust them with cocoa.

Easter Fun: Chocolate Covered Peeps

Chocolate Covered Peeps

It’s that time of year again, I’m not sure how we’re back here but we are, it’s Easter! Today I’m sharing a couple of fun little things to do, that aren’t complicated, and the kids will love. So break out the Peeps and get ready to color some eggs. It’s time to have some fun!

Oh and don’t forget to check out a few links at the bottom for egg salad and deviled eggs so you’ll have something to do with those eggs after you’re done dying them.

Let’s get our Easter on!

What You’ll Need for the Chocolate Covered Peeps:
Peeps (Note: Preferably bunnies)
Bamboo skewers
1 package of chocolate chips (Note: I used semi-sweet, but you could use dark or milk chocolate instead.)
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
Sprinkles

Place chocolate chips and coconut oil in a glass bowl. Microwave for one minute and then stir. Next microwave on 20 second intervals, stirring between each round, until chocolate is melted and completely smooth.

Place a Peep on a bamboo skewer. You want to push the skewer all the way up in to the bunny to its ears. When you put chocolate on the Peep it’s going to get heavy and if you don’t push the skewer all the way in it will fall off in to your chocolate with the weight.

Chocolate Covered Peeps: Bunny!

Dip the Peep in Chocolate and use a spoon to cover the bunny completely with chocolate:

Chocolate Covered Peeps: Dipped in Chocolate

Hold chocolate covered Peep over a plate and sprinkle with your choice of sprinkles.

Carefully lay the chocolate/sprinkled Peep on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking mat, or wax paper and let chocolate harden.

Then eat!

Notes: These are good as is, or you can dip them into hot chocolate. Yum!

Kool-Aid Dyed Easter Eggs

What You’ll Need for the Kool-Aid Dyed Eggs:
White eggs, boiled and cooled
Kool-aid packets (Note: We use Tropical Punch, Pink Lemonade, Grape, Orange, Lemon Lime and Lemonade. They all worked except for the Lemonade. There isn’t enough color in the mix to work.)
1/2 cup of water for each packet of Kool-Aide
Narrow glasses (Note: You want them to be narrow enough so that the liquid will cover an egg entirely, but not too narrow or the egg won’t fit.)

First you want to boil your eggs. You’ve probably boiled eggs before, but I’m going to tell you right now how to boil the perfect egg.

Gently place eggs in a pot and cover with water until there is 2 inches of water above the top of the pile of eggs. Add in two tablespoons of sea salt, cover the pot and bring eggs to a boil. As soon as the pot begins a rapid boil turn off the heat and let the pot sit for ten minutes covered.

At the end of 10 minutes gently drain the pot and cover the eggs with cool/cold water. Let eggs sit for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Remove eggs from the cool water and let them cool completely to room temperature. At least an hour. (Note: This is only for coloring eggs. If you’re using the eggs to cook with once they’ve had the cool water bath they’re ready to go, or you can store them in the fridge for up to a week.)

When you’re ready to dye your Easter eggs here’s what you do…

Add Kool-Aid Powders to separate glasses (see note above about glasses) and then pour 1/2 cup of water in each glass. Stir to mix.

Using a spoon gently lower eggs down in the glass. Make sure to let the spoon rest under the egg so it won’t get stuck in the glass. Let the eggs sit for a few minutes, or as long as you like, until the egg reaches the desired color.

Place eggs in a carton to dry. The eggs with darken in color as they dry.

Repeat the process until all the eggs are dyed.

Store in the fridge after dying. The eggs can still be used for deviled eggs or egg salad if you don’t use them to hunt.

Notes: The Kool-Aid has citric acid in it so that is why you don’t need to add that or vinegar in to the glasses.

Sweets for Your Sweet: Salted Chocolate Truffles

Salted Nutella Truffles

I love truffles, and not the kind Italian pigs dig up, which I am sure are lovely too, but I’m talking chocolate truffles. I love truffles almost as much as I love cheesecake, and you all know how much I like that! It has its own category on Dianne’s Dishes! It’s a deep love, an abiding love, an all encompassing obsession. In short I love me some truffles!

I also love Nutella. It’s a recent love, but it’s a strong love. Chocolate and hazelnuts? What’s not to like?? I also love sea salt. Do you see a pattern forming here? Truffle? Check! Nutella? Check! Sea salt? Check! This is the collision of the perfect truffle/Nutella/sea salt storm!

Truffles are really easy to make. You’ve got a creamy center, dipped in chocolate, and then for added pizazz sometimes you even drizzle/sprinkle something on top of that. Truffles are big on wow factor, yet simple to create. They are perfect for a little gift, such as for Valentine’s Day, for that person in your life who is a chocolate lover like me. I know you have one of those, don’t we all?

One word for you….

Truffles!

Say it with chocolate. You’ll be glad you did! Heck, they’ll be glad you did too! ;oP

What You’ll Need:
1 – 13 ounce jar of Nutella
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
1 – 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 package of semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
Coarse see salt (Note: I prefer either fleur de sel or Celtic sea salt for this. This go round I used the Celtic variety.)

In a large bowl stir together Nutella, sea salt and sweetened condensed milk, until thoroughly mixed. Next add the powdered sugar and stir until “dough” forms.

Scoop out “dough” with a tablespoon and roll it between your hands to form a ball. Place on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet:

Salted Nutella Truffles: Ready for the Freezer

The balls will flatten out a bit due to the heat of your hands, but don’t worry. You’ll be freezing them for a bit and this will sort itself out.

Freeze Nutella balls for 30 minutes.

Ten minutes before you remove the Nutella balls from the freezer, place semi sweet chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of coconut oil in a microwavable glass bowl and microwave on 20 second intervals, stirring between each one, until chips are melted.

Remove Nutella balls from the freezer and rolls them between your hands to make them more round:

Salted Nutella Truffles: Making Nutella Balls

They’re firm enough now to keep their shape:

Salted Nutella Truffles: Ready to be Dipped

Dip each ball in the melted chocolate:

Salted Nutella Truffles: Drizzling

It’s easiest to do this with a fork. Unlike Alexis however I wouldn’t taste the chocolate as you go. You’ll run out! ;oP

Place them on another sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking sheet:

Salted Nutella Truffles: Ready for Drizzle and Sea Salt

Melt 1 cup of 60% cacao chips with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil using the same method as above. Drizzle over the top of each truffle and sprinkle with coarse fleur de sel or Celtic sea salt:

Salted Nutella Truffles

Let harden and then enjoy!

Notes: You can use any type of chocolate you want with this. Milk chocolate would work, as would a white chocolate drizzle. It’s all up to you. If you want them to set faster you can stick them in the fridge.

Triple Chocolate Fudge

Triple Chocolate Fudge

Since we discovered that Jamison has Celiac Disease many of his favorite things have been yanked away from him. If you’ve been around Dianne’s Dishes for a while you know he’s a super duper picky eater and having one of his major food sources (gluten) taken away from him was a huge blow. It’s been a tough road for him and it continues to be so.

Before Celiac reared it’s ugly head one of Jamison’s favorite desserts was chocolate pie. I’ve tried to make gluten free versions, but he’s never been that interested. Did I mention the picky part? ;oP

For thanksgiving this year I really wanted fudge. I’m not sure why, but I had fudge on the brain, and I decided to see if I couldn’t make something that Jamison would enjoy too and low and behold I made it, had him taste it and he liked the fudge! Score for me! It’s the perfect mellow blend of chocolate. What’s not to like about that?

What You’ll Need:
4 tablespoons of butter
2/3 cups of evaporated milk
2 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 – 7.5 ounce jar of marshmallow cream (Note: Look for a variety with no high fructose corn syrup.)
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2/3 cup of milk chocolate chips
2/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup of white chocolate chips
Butter to coat the dish

Butter a 13 X 9 inch dish generously and set aside.

Melt butter, evaporated milk, sugar and sea salt until smooth. Bring to a boil and let boil, stirring constantly for 5 minutes. (Note: Fudge is one of the few things that I make that I ever stir constantly, but you really need to. You don’t want it to scorch.)

After five minutes remove from heat. (Note: If you want to do the soft ball test, i.e. dropping a bit of the hot mixture into cold water to see if it forms a soft ball you can, but I usually don’t.) Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips and stir quickly until chips melt.

Spread mixture into the prepared dish. (Note: It will be VERY hot so be careful!) Let sit until fudge cools and firms up. Cut into squares and store in an airtight container.

Notes: You can use any type of chocolate that you like. Go for dark if you prefer. Or use all of one kind.

Honey Cashew Brittle

Honey Cashew Brittle

Sometimes you set out to make one thing (in this case honey roasted cashews) and you end up with something totally different. In this case what I ended up with was not a mistake as such, but a pleasant discovery instead!

The honey gives the brittle such a lovely undertone and Alexis and I both really liked the “mistake”. You can’t win them all, but it’s always nice when you stumble onto something you hadn’t expected. I’ll get back to the honey roasting another day!

What You’ll Need:

1/3 cup of honey
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
1 teaspoon of sea salt
Roughly 1/2 pound of cashews

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a medium sized pot heat honey over medium until it is thin (about 2 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in sugar and salt. Next add cashews and stir to coat. Pour cashew/sugar/honey mixture onto a sheet pan that is lined with a silicone baking sheet and spread the nuts out. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden browned.

Stir the mixture occasionally as the edges will brown earlier than the middle and you don’t want the edges to burn. Be VERY careful because the hot sugar will burn your skin very badly if it touches you!! (I know of which I speak! ;o)) Remove pan from the oven and let it sit so the mixture can harden and then break into pieces.

Honey Cashew Brittle

Notes: You could do this with any nuts that you like. Peanuts or almonds in particular would make a nice addition or you could do a mix of nuts.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles

For Valentine’s Day Jamison had one request…”Make me some chocolate!” Last year I made him these chocolates, but I wanted to do something a little different this year. I started thinking about it and decided that it would be nice to combine his love for peanut butter with chocolate once again and the idea for Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles was born!

Overall I was very pleased with how this recipe turned out. The peanut butter and chocolate of course complimented each other perfect and the undertone of vanilla gave it just the right touch. I shaped a few of them as hearts as you can see above, but any way you make them they are divine! If you have a truffle lover in your life (in my case me) and a chocolate/peanut butter lover (again here that would be Jamison) this is the recipe for you!

What You’ll Need:
1 pint of heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, cut in half and scraped
3 – 11.5 ounce packages of milk chocolate chips (Note: I used Ghirardelli.)
6 tablespoons of dried peanut butter powder (Note: I found a product called PB2 and heard raves about it so I decided to try it. The product is made from roasted peanuts that have had the oils removed. 2 tablespoons of the powder reliquefied with water makes the equivalent of roughly 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. It has 75% less fat than regular peanut butter, which given this recipe is a moot point, but it’s just perfect for truffles because it doesn’t really change the consistency of the chocolate! Also this stuff is awesome in and of itself! I highly recommend this product if you like peanut butter and want a lighter option that doesn’t taste weird! It makes a mean peanut butter sandwich too!)
Chopped peanuts (optional)
~or~
1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 cup of cocoa mixed, for rolling (optional)

Put the chocolate chips in a large glass bowl and set aside.

Place the heavy cream in a medium sized sauce pan. Cut a vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds into the heavy cream. Put the cut bean into the heavy cream as well and bring to a quick boil. Remove the vanilla bean and pour heated heavy cream over chocolate chips and stir until chocolate chips are melted and mixture is creamy. Stir in the peanut butter powder and mix until completely incorporated. Sit the bowl aside at room temperature and let the chocolate mixture become firm, yet still scoopable. You want to consistency of ice cream at this point. This can take several hours.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles: First Scoop

Once the chocolate mixture has set up scoop out round balls with a tablespoon or a melon baller. Don’t worry when you scoop them out they won’t necessarily but round at this point. You’ll make them more round in the next step. (See above.) Put on a baking pan that has been lined with waxed paper or a silicone baking sheet. Let them sit for about 30 minutes.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles: With Chopped Peanuts

At the end of thirty minutes roll the ball briefly between your palms to ensure a mostly round truffle. You aren’t looking for a perfect sphere, just a general round shape. If desired roll in chopped peanuts or a powdered sugar/cocoa mixture. Store in the fridge or in a cool dark place.

Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Truffles: With Powdered Sugar and Cocoa

Notes: You could roll the truffles in something else if you liked, such as coconut, or even leaven them unadorned.

Double Layer Peppermint Chip Bark

Double Layer Peppermint Chip Bark

This recipe (and tomorrow’s too!) is for the peppermint/chocolate lover on your list. This take on the classic peppermint bark takes it to a whole new level! The best part of this is that it’s done completely in the microwave making it simple, yet delicious! Try it and see.

What You’ll Need:
2 – 11.5 ounce bags of milk chocolate chips
2 – 11 ounce bags of white chocolate chips
1 – 10 ounce bag of Andes Peppermint Crunch baking chips

In a large bowl melt the milk chocolate chips at 1 minute intervals until smooth. Spread melted chocolate out onto a cookie sheet lined with a silicone baking sheet or wax paper and let cool until hardened (30 minutes to an hour).

Double Layer Peppermint Chip Bark: Chocolate Layer

Once the milk chocolate is hardened melt the white chocolate chips at 1 minute intervals until smooth.

Double Layer Peppermint Chip Bark: White Chocolate Layer

Layer Spread out over the milk chocolate on the cookie sheet and sprinkle the top of the spread out chocolates with Andes Peppermint Crunch chips and let the chocolate harden and then break into pieces.

Double Layer Peppermint Chip Bark: Setting Up

Notes: No notes for this one. It’s pretty straight forward. 😉

White Chocolate and Blueberry Fudge

White Chocolate Blueberry Fudge

When you think fudge you automatically think rich and chocolatety, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Recently we took a jaunt down Peanut Butter Fudge Lane and that made me start thinking about fudge in general. That little journey made me wonder how White Chocolate Fudge would turn out and then I went a step further and thought that some dried blueberries would make the white chocolate taste all the better!

This take on fudge is different, but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. The white chocolate and blueberries meld together and provide a wonderful compliment for each other. If you’ve got a white chocolate lover and/or fruit lover on your Christmas list this year, then this fudge is the fudge for you!

What You’ll Need:
3 cups of organic cane sugar
1 1/2 sticks of butter
2/3 cups of evaporated milk
12 ounces of white chocolate chips
1 – 7.5 ounce jar of marshmallow cream (Note: Look for one with no high fructose corn syrup.)
2 teaspoons of vanilla 2 cups of dried blueberries (Note: If you’ve never seen these before they are like raisins only made from blueberries instead of grapes.)

Melt butter, sugar and evaporated milk until smooth. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat stirring almost constantly. You want to reach soft ball stage (235 F) and you can gauge this by using a candy thermometer to determine temperature. This process takes roughly 3-5 minutes depending on your stove top.

Keep an eye on the mixture. Given you are using white chocolate you don’t want the mixture to brown at all. Also anything that is cooked with sugar over heat can scorch quickly so make sure you watch and stir!

Remove pan from heat and stir in marshmallow cream until smooth. (Note: To make the marshmallow cream come out of the jar easier pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and it should slide right out.) Next add white chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Add vanilla and blueberries and stir to mix.

Pour white chocolate/blueberry mixture into a 13 X 9 inch pan that has been buttered liberally and spread out to the corners of the dish using a rubber spatula or a wooden spoon. Let cool to room temperature and cut into small squares. This fudge can be stored in the fridge or even freezer if you want until you are ready to use it, but that isn’t necessary. It will last about a week at room temperature.

White Chocolate Blueberry Fudge

Notes: You could add in other dried berries to change it up a bit. Dried cherries or Goji berries would work wonderfully.

Brown Sugar Peanut Cashew Brittle

Brown Sugar Peanut Cashew Brittle

Sometimes it’s nice to combine a little sweet and salty. Brittle does just that! This take on the classic peanut brittle utilizes brown sugar and even a little maple syrup to add a taste sensation with just the right amount of sweet and salty. Most traditional brittles are made with only white sugar, but the brown sugar gives it a depth of flavor that is very nice. If you’ve got a hard candy or brittle lover on your list, then this recipe is the one for you!

What You’ll Need:
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of natural brown sugar
1 cup of corn syrup (Note: Light or dark works fine. Just make sure it doesn’t contain high fructose corn syrup.)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
1 cup of water
1 pinch of sea salt
1 cup of peanuts
1 cup of cashews
2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 teaspoons of baking soda

In a very large stock pot melt sugars with corn syrup and maple syrup in water. Add salt once sugar is melted and cook to hard crack stage (Note: There is some debate out there as to where hard crack stage lies. Some say around 290 F and others say closer to 300-301 F. My candy thermometer falls in the latter category so I cooked this to around 301 F.)

When the sugar mixture reaches around 245 F then add the nuts and continue to cook, stirring frequently until you reach hard crack stage. (Note: If you don’t stir this you’ll end up with a scorched mess. Keep a close eye on the mixture!)

Once mixture reaches hard crack stage remove from heat and immediately add butter stirring to melt.

When the butter is almost completely melted add the baking soda and stir quickly. It’ll foam and fizz. Don’t be surprised if you’ve never made brittle before.

Spread mixture out onto two cookie sheets that are covered with silicone baking sheets or buttered using a spatula or wooden spoon until thinly spread. Let cool and harden and break into pieces.

Brown Sugar Peanut Cashew Brittle

Notes: You can use any type of nut that you want. You can use one nut or a mixture. It’s completely up to you. I’ve done this with peanuts and cashews in the past, but almonds, macadamia nuts, etc. would work just as well.

Rocky Road Bark

Rocky Road Bark

Rocky Road Bark Chocolate barks make the perfect gift! You can dress them up however you like and this version is a take on Rocky Road ice cream, which I must admit I’m not a big fan of, but I do like this bark! The almonds are crunchy and the marshmallows give it just the right amount of gooey. This is another recipe that is sure to please most chocolate lovers and after all don’t we all know one or two of those? 😉

What You’ll Need:
2 – 11.5 ounce packages of milk chocolate chips
1 – 11 ounce package of white chocolate chips
2 tablespoons of butter
At least 1 cup of whole raw almonds
At least 1 cup of miniature marshmallows

Rocky Road Bark: Chocolate Chips for Melting

Melt chocolate in a double boiler until smooth. (Note: If you want to temper the chocolate you can. I will admit I have a love/hate relationship with tempering…Sometimes I can get it to work, other times not so much. I was watching the Barefoot Contessa the other day and Ina said she couldn’t be bothered to take the time to do it and it made me love her all the more! To get around the issue she said she just makes it the day she wants to serve whatever she is making and it takes care of the problem.)

Once the chocolate is melted remove from the heat and stir in two tablespoons of butter until melted. Spread the mixture out onto a cookie sheet that is lined with wax paper or a silicone baking sheet.

Rocky Road Bark: Chocolate Ready for Topping

Next add marshmallows and almonds to the top of the spread out chocolate and gently push them into the mixture. (Note: My little sous chef (AKA Alexis) had a lot of fun with that step! 😉 )

Rocky Road Bark: Adding the Almonds and Marshmallows

Let the bark set up until it’s hard and break or cut into smaller pieces. (Note: I like to use a pizza cutter and cut it into squares when it hardens and is sort of at a fudge like consistency, but isn’t completely hard yet.) Store in an airtight container.

Rocky Road Bark

Rocky Road Bark Notes: You can really add anything into chocolate bark that you like as I mentioned above. You can even make a white chocolate bark. Dried cherries, raisins and cocoa nibs make a good combination as do cashews and coconut. If you can think it it can be done! ;o)