Saturday, December 12, 2009

Chocolate Balls (12 Days of Christmas Treats)

Chocolate Balls Lede

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Chocolate Balls!
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Chewy Cherry Chunk Cookies!
On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... School Fudge!
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Rolo Cookies!
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Peanut Butter 'Sandwiches'!
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Tiny Chocolate Chip Cookies!
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Santa Buttons!
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Cranberry Crumb Bars!
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Chocolate Crinkles!
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Cinnamon Roll Cookies!
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Microwave Peanut Brittle!
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me ... Almond Lace Cookies!

This is the one Christmas treat my family simply must find on the table every. single. year. I've seen other versions of them on the Internet, but this is the recipe in my mom's cookbook, and it's also the recipe my grandmother always used. They're fabulous: bite-size portions of peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter, graham-cracker crumbs, pecans and coconut. Of course my sisters and I had to marry the fuddy-duddies who request every year to "Leave out the coconut!" and "Leave out the pecans!" We just end up making several batches, which is not exactly a bad thing because it leaves us with a ton more chocolate balls to eat! They're obviously very rich, but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone who dislikes them. They're also a dessert that's fun to make together; everybody gets messy and there is plenty of work to spread around! Gather with your siblings this year and try them out. I promise you won't be disappointed!

This recipe brings us to the end of my 12 Days of Christmas Treats. I hope you try some of these treats this holiday and share them with your family, too.

Chocolate Balls
Source: Confabulation in the Kitchen
Printer-friendly recipe

Ingredients:
2.5 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 pound powdered sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
1 12 ounce jar crunchy peanut butter
3.5 ounces unsweetened coconut
1 cup pecans
3 bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/3 bar paraffin wax (optional - makes chocolate coating shiny)

Directions:
1. In very large bowl mix graham cracker crumbs and powdered sugar. Pour melted butter over mixture and stir to combine. Add peanut butter, coconut and pecans to mixture. Using your hands, mix well, then form 1 to 1.5-inch, tightly packed balls.
2. In double boiler (or in glass bowl over pot of simmering water), melt chocolate chips and paraffin wax. (I keep burner on low; water only needs to be warm to melt chocolate. And be VERY SURE not to get ANY WATER in the chocolate or it will seize and you will cry.)
3. Sit balls on top of fork, dip them into chocolate, then carefully tap fork on edge of pot to remove excess chocolate. Line up balls on wax-covered trays. Place trays in coldest spot of house to allow chocolate to set. (I put mine on the attic steps; my mom uses the garage.) After packaging balls in tins be sure to store them in a cold spot.