Most people seem to associate Christmas with cookies but at our house we end up making other kinds of treats at Christmas, like these Peanut Butter Truffles, Oreo Truffles, Rice Krispie wreaths (which we regrettably didn't make this year) and the new but delicious addition of Coconut Rum Balls. Cookies are great but candies stay good longer and it's nice not to have only cookies. This is my third year of making Peanut Butter Truffles at Christmas because they're so good! You may have heard them called Buckeyes but we call them Peanut Butter Truffles because I dip the entire balls in chocolate instead of just the bottoms/sides (which is how Buckeyes are normally done) and Peanut Butter Truffle just sounds nicer. If you've never had them and love peanut butter, you should really give them a try. They practically melt in your mouth and are very tasty. Also I can't really attribute this recipe to anyone because it's the result of trial and error after looking at about 10 recipes.
A few tips:
-Weigh out the powdered sugar with a kitchen scale. I buy 2 lb bags and just weigh the bag, then add powdered sugar to the mixing bowl until I've added 14 ounces. Surely you will find a use for the rest of the sugar!
-Almond bark's other name is chocolate candy coating and it doesn't actually have almonds in it. It's basically low quality chocolate but is just fine for this type of thing. You can find it in the baking aisle next to the chocolate chips and it basically looks like a very thick chocolate bar and is scored so you can break it into pieces. The grocery store we usually go to doesn't always have it but WalMart does.
-Parchment paper is amazing. You can bake cookies (and biscuits!) on it without them sticking (even without greasing it) and truffles come off it perfectly! Buy some if you don't have it already.
-To speed things along you can put more than one truffle in the container of chocolate at a time.
-A plastic fork with the middle tines broken off is perfect for lifting the truffles out of the chocolate.
-A toothpick works great for nudging the truffle off the fork and onto the parchment paper.
Peanut Butter Truffles
1 stick butter at room temperature
18 oz peanut butter by weight (you can buy an 18 oz jar or scoop some out of a bigger jar)
1 t vanilla extract
14 oz powdered sugar by weight (I know, odd amount, but it's perfect)
16 oz package almond bark/chocolate candy coating
Place the butter, peanut butter and vanilla extract in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat with the paddle attachment until well combined. Add the powdered sugar and mix on low until the powdered sugar has been incorporated. The mixture will look crumbly but it should be easy to form it into non-sticky, non-crumbly balls. You can add a little more peanut butter if it's too dry or a little powdered sugar if too wet but it should be fine. Also you can probably do this with a hand mixer too or just a spoon but it will likely be more difficult.
Once the mixture is ready, roll it into balls the size of walnuts. Tear off a big sheet of parchment paper and place it on your work surface glossy side up. Heat the almond bark according to the directions on the package. Place the balls in the chocolate and use a spoon to pour chocolate on top. Lift them out of the chocolate with the plastic fork and scrape the excess off on the side of the bowl/container. Place on the parchment paper and let set. Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. They'll keep for at least 3 weeks or so.
Yield: 40-45 truffles