Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Faves: Buckeyes & Rum Balls

I am all about holiday baking these days. I will admit to getting a little obsessed at this time of year. What can I say? I love making cookies, and I especially love decorating them with Kara. But folks can't live on cookies alone. So over the years I have added two holiday candy-like treats to our repertoire - buckeyes, which are peanut butter balls covered in chocolate, like a Reese's cup on steroids, and rum balls which are pretty much what they sound like. Not only are these candies delicious, they are easy to make and require no baking.

By the way, when this part of the holiday sweets fest is going on, we are all about the ball jokes - after the kids are in bed, of course. I know, it's very highbrow around here. I think we were inspired by one of my all time favorite Saturday Night Live skits where Ana Gasteyer, Molly Shannon and Alec Baldwin spoof NPR cooking shows. If you haven't seen it recently, or ever, check it out. I believe it is called "NPR's Delicious Dish - Schweddy Balls". It's basically one long series of pastry ball innuendo - it is really funny.

All lewd jokes aside, try these two recipes when you are making holiday treats.

-With a hand mixer, cream
  • 1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter (not the natural variety - think Jiff, Skippy, Safeway brand etc.)
  • 1 stick of butter softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 cups confectioners sugar. You read that right - these are serious business.
  • 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs. You can use vanilla wafer crumbs too.
-Chill for 15 minutes or until the peanut butter mix is firm - the colder it is, the easier to roll the balls. Roll into 1 inch balls and set on parchment or wax paper lined cookie sheet.
-Freeze for 10-15 minutes until the balls are firm. If you live where it is cold, just set the sheet outside for a bit.
-While the balls are chilling, melt 6 oz (1/2 a bag) of chocolate chips with 2 tbsp shortening. I usually do this by placing a glass bowl over a small pot of simmering water. Microwave works too.
-Dip each ball into the chocolate and set on sheet to cool. Check out the picture. You don't want to totally submerge the pb balls - you want them to look like buckeyes, which are actually a kind of nut. I use a toothpick to do this and smooth over the little hole with my finger. Better yet, get your kids to help out on this part - and stifle all urges to make inappropriate jokes.
-Store in refrigerator or freezer.

Boozy Rum Balls 
-In a food processor finely chop 1 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened coconut. Pour in to mixing bowl.
-Finely chop 1 package worth of chocolate wafers in food processor. I use Nabisco's wafers. Transfer to mixing bowl with nut mix. Note: If you can't find chocolate wafers, you can use about 2 cups of vanilla wafer crumbs plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder.
-Add about 1 cup confectioners sugar,  1/2 tsp allspice, a dash of nutmeg, 2 tbsp light corn syrup and 1/2 cup rum - dark or light or whatever is languishing in your liquor cabinet from last summer's cocktails.
-Mix until combined. It should be very moist.
-Chill bowl for 30 minutes in the fridge and when mixture has firmed up, roll out 1 inch balls.
-Pour out about another 1/2 cup confectioners sugar in a small bowl. Roll each ball in sugar. Set on cookie sheet to rest - store in fridge or freezer until ready to serve. They get better over time.


  1. must... resist... ball joke... urge...

  2. I personally think you CAN live on cookies alone ... but my husband would love the buckeyes.

    And who doesn't laugh at a ball joke?! : )