Friday, December 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Ball Time!

So it's Christmas time and I am far away from my family.  We had a good run there, three holiday seasons in a row in California, but this year we are here and you are there.  And that means that you don't have peanut butter balls.  So in lieu of the actual product, I present to you the recipe for said peanut butter balls, as written out by my Grandma Gloria, who passed away the year before my oldest girls were born.  I'm sad that she couldn't be around to watch yet another generation make a mess with this recipe. My grandma wrote out a whole box of recipes for me for Christmas one year, and I treasure it because I can hear her in my head each time I make the recipes. So the commentary is hers, unless it's written in red.  Then the commentary is mine!

Peanut Butter Balls- a mess to make but so good!
1# powdered sugar (C&H confectioner's) (It actually took me a long time to figure out that # means pound.)
2 1/2 # jar of Skippy (no substitute!) Chunky p-nut butter (And when she says "no substitutes" she means it!  I used Jiff this year because there wasn't Skippy in the right size jar, and it wasn't wet enough.)
1 stick Imperial Margarine (no substitute)
4 c. Rice Krispies

I can hear this snowman thinking, "NO SUBSTITUTIONS!"

-Mix well -- best way is with your hands with disposible plastic gloves on, it is icky/sticky. (I have to add that the best way is with your sister, auntie, and/or step-mama, some gossip and some wine.  It's not a coincidence that this particular recipe card has wine stains on it.)
-Make small balls- put them on cookie sheets on waxed paper-chill in refrigerator at least 2 hours.

Second best way is with a couple of six-year olds
and with six-year olds, you get various sized balls!

although with the six year olds, you're likely to end up finishing it yourself.

Put 2 big Hershey bars (or 1 super-size) and 1 bag Nestle's chocolate chips (semi-sweet) (I have to admit I don't know what she's talking about with the sizes here.  I never have enough chocolate to cover the balls, so I make twice this amount.) and 1/2 stick paraffin, grated (this is in the grocery store with the canning supplies.) (Aaaand this is the part of the recipe where I lose some people.  Yes, paraffin is wax.  And though we've always made it with wax, and have suffered no ill effects, I must mention that no where on the box does it say that you can or should actually consume this stuff.  Last year my sister and I toyed with the idea of tempering the chocolate so the wax wasn't necessary, but in the end we couldn't be bothered.  Besides, NO SUBSTITUTIONS!)
-put into a small bowl - heat in microwave and GO SLOW stir and check it every minute or so-Don't let it get hot or chocolate will separate and you'll have a greasy mess.
This is what grated paraffin looks like, BTW.
-Keep warm (put bowl into large bowl filled part way with hot water-put back in microwave for 30 seconds if it starts to get thick and unmanageable. (Let me just say here that I HATE THIS METHOD. I always end up getting water in the chocolate bowl and that's bad.  Last year we had very good luck with a hot plate set on warm.  This year, I experimented with a fondue pot, which eventually worked pretty well.)

Dip chilled p-nut balls into chocolate-let excess drip off - put balls onto cookie sheets lined with wax paper - let sit in a cool place til chocolate is hard.-This makes a LOT of p-nut butter balls, about 150 or so- SO good!

This makes so many balls, you may want to consider cleaning out your fridge before you start!

        So it's Chistmas eve, and I'm missing family, and missing my Grandma.  Christmas makes me think of Gloria more than any other time of year.  Part of it is the recipes.  I usually make 4 or 5 different candy recipes of hers, and it's almost like hanging out with her.  And so many of my Christmas decorations used to be hers.  These wise men for example: 

I think it's funny that I have the Three Wise Men, but no Baby Jesus.  But come on, these dudes are so sixties-licious!  One of their heads fell off but I super-glued it back on!  And my grandma, she had the best Christmas parties!  She would have fellow lawyers, judges, neighbors, family and friends all together, and it always seemed lovely and effortless.  Of course, her family knew how she worked for weeks before the party to make cookies, candies, lasagnas, Swedish meatballs and always, always, towers of peanut butter balls.  I miss you, G!


  1. You definitely brought me to tears, and I hate peanut butter balls. I hear her voice as I decorate cookies.

    She would be very happy to see her traditions carried on by the next generation.

    I love the chicken legs she always made for the parties.

    We miss you all so much! The wine and the talk and the time.

  2. I really loved this Autumn. I was using the same book she made for you of the recipes (I copied it) with all the comments. She even lays out the family tree and whose recipes were whose. I miss her a lot!