My favorite holiday food tradition is making peanut butter balls, or what we often (especially in the state of Ohio) referred to as buckeyes. This was a long held tradition for my beloved mother-in-law, Velma Anderson. She was an excellent cook and taught me how to make the peanut butter balls soon after I joined the family. These delicacies taste something like Reece’s cups but much better. Mrs. Anderson made several batches during the holiday that she served to family and friends and packaged in little boxes for gifts. They were well received by everyone. When my older daughter got married, she made 500 of them and flew cross country with them in tow. They were the first item to disappear from the buffet table.
Sadly, we lost Mrs. Anderson when she was only 67. I have since taken up the tradition of making this treat during the holidays, using her recipe and precise instructions. I treasure getting out the recipe card each year since it is written in her handwriting. When my children were young and regularly involved in bake sales, I made these balls and put a few in each sandwich bag and they sold them. They were always the first items to be sold and were a great money maker.
My mother-in-law covered her peanut butter balls with fully with semi-sweet chocolate and place a pecan half on the top. I usually leave a small circular opening at the top, exposing the peanut butter. It thus resembles a buckeye. They are traditionally covered with the semi-sweet chocolate, but milk chocolate or even white chocolate can be used. Smooth peanut butter is best but crunchy can also be used but that does make it more difficult to get a smooth ball. Other tips from my mother-in-law: as you roll the balls, place them on cookie sheets and put them in the freezer. They are easier to dip when very cold. It’s best to melt a half block of paraffin and melt with the chocolate, stirring well to blend. I melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler and dip balls with toothpicks while the chocolate remains on the stove on lowest setting. Use a toothpick to smooth out the indentation made by the toothpick. Lay them out on waxed paper and let them cool thoroughly. Enjoy
2 sticks softened margarine
12 oz. (1 1/2 cups) peanut butter
1 box powdered sugar
1 12 oz. package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 block paraffin
Mix together margarine, peanut butter, and sugar. Roll into balls and refrigerate. While the balls are in the refrigerator, melt together in top of double boiler the chocolate chips and paraffin. With toothpicks, dip the balls in the chocolate mix and refrigerate.
~ Debbie Anderson
Gracious God, we thank You for the many who have paved ways for us in this life. We thank You that John the Baptist prepared the way for the coming of Christ, who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Amen.