Most people would agree celebrating is always better when there are sweet treats to tempt and savor. Valentine’s Day is no exception. Whether it’s cupcakes, cookies or chocolates…there must be something sweet for your sweet!
Since I love to bake anyway, baking up a special dessert or surprise treats is right up my alley. The nap times of young children, spread over several days, allowed me to work in incremental steps to produce special surprises. But when kids get older, and you can no longer sneak the making of your concoctions under observant eyes and noses, you have three choices: 1) Give up, 2) Banish them away with a growl, 3) Recruit. I’m one to recruit. Decorating cupcakes and cookies is a treasured activity for young children. And I’ve never heard of a dad disappointed by interestingly decorated, over-frosted sugar cookies. Dads adapt well.
This month’s recipe is either VERY messy, or managed better with older kids, tweens, teens, on up (as in I made this recipe for my mother on Mother’s Day last year.) While younger hands can roll the peanut butter balls, unless you have lots of patience and are ready to deal with a melted chocolate mess, you may opt for more experienced hands to do the dipping.
Of course, I recommend special equipment for chocolate dipping. Break out the two inner tines of two plastic forks and you’ll have the inexpensive gadgets you need for expert handling.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Candies
- 2 cups smooth peanut butter
- 1/2 cup butter room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 3 cups puffed rice cereal
- 3 cups chocolate chips
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp flaky sea salt optional
- Add peanut butter and butter to a mixing bowl and beat with a hand mixer until well blended. Add in the powdered sugar and beat until smooth and well combined. Mix in vanilla and kosher salt. Then add the puffed rice cereal mixing on low just until combined.
- Roll into 1” balls then transfer to the fridge or freezer until chilled and easy to handle. Once the balls are chilled, melt chocolate chips and coconut oil over a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can easily create one: Fill a saucepan with about an inch of water, then fit a bowl over the pan. Check the bottom of the bowl to make sure it does not touch the water. Place the saucepan over med-high heat bringing the water to a boil. Place your bowl with the chocolate chips and coconut oil over the saucepan and stir until completely melted and smooth. Remove bowl from heat.
- Roll balls, one at a time, in chocolate mixture until completely coated. I find that using two plastic forks with the center tines removed makes this process the easiest and least messy. Transfer each chocolate covered piece onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if using, while chocolate is still wet. Let candies set up completely, about one hour.