A homemade christmas gift is often the one that your friends and family will treasure the most. If you’re still trying to think of something inexpensive and elegant to give this holiday season, look no further than your local thrift store. The following gift idea was prompted by spotting a set of vintage glass holiday plates at the Hospice Hodgepodge II Thrift Store in Novato. I simply threw the dishes into the dishwasher to make them sparkly and sanitary. Then, I made a batch of yummy and simple Peanut Butter Balls from scratch (recipe below). After placing them on the dishes, I wrapped them up with saran wrap, beautiful ribbon, and added a vintage decoration that I found at the same thrift store for only $1 for the entire bag. And, Voila! A simple, elegant and handmade gift that even Martha would be proud of.
Peanut Butter Ball Recipe (From Joy of Baking)
Line two baking sheets with parchment or wax paper.
Place the peanut butter, unsalted butter, and salt in a microwaveable bowl, and heat in the microwave for about one minute or until just soft (check and stir the ingredients every 20-30 seconds). Stir in the vanilla extract and confectioners sugar and mix until it has the consistency of a stiff dough (add more sugar if necessary).
Roll the dough into 1 inch (2.5 cm) round balls. Place on the cookie sheets and refrigerate until firm (several hours or even overnight). You can also place the peanut butter balls in the freezer and freeze until firm (I find this makes it easier to dip them in the melted chocolate).
Melt the chocolate and shortening in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Dip the balls, one at a time, in the melted chocolate, making sure the entire ball is coated with chocolate. Then, with two spoons or a dipping fork, remove the peanut butter ball from the melted chocolate, allowing any excess chocolate to drip back into the bowl. Place the chocolate covered balls back on the baking sheet. If desired, sprinkle the balls with finely chopped peanuts. When all the balls have been dipped in the chocolate, place in the refrigerator until the chocolate has set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. They can also be frozen. To serve: place in small fluted candy cups.
Note: If you want to make Buckeyes: place a toothpick into each peanut butter ball and dip, one ball at a time, into the melted chocolate, leaving the top quarter of each ball undipped.
Makes about 60 pieces, depending on size. Preparation time 30 minutes.
Peanut Butter Balls
2 cups (480 ml) creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup (57 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 – 2 1/2 cups (230 – 300 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar
9 ounces (260 grams) semi sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I just used Trader Joe’s semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 tablespoon (15 grams) shortening
Read more delicious recipes : http://www.joyofbaking.com/candy/PeanutButterBalls.html#ixzz2Eh4bZf8G
Happy Holidays, everyone!