Tuesday, January 04, 2005


I’m not much of a baker, mostly because if I made cookies or cakes or bread regularly, then I’d be compelled to eat them all, so usually I wisely avoid even opening that door. But it is helpful to have at least a few homemade treat recipes up your sleeve, so when Christmas is coming and your office decides to have a cookie exchange, you can whip up a tasty confection and bask in some complements (as well as a buzzy-brained sugar high). It’s even better if said confection requires no actual baking, only four ingredients, and cuts into very little of your gift-wrapping, card-writing, wassail-drinking time. And, oh yes, it tastes like the best Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup you’ve ever had.

I got this recipe from my mom, who used to make these for Christmas when I was younger. For the past several Christmases, she’s been making an even better variation involving pretzels (you’ll find directions for this at the end of the recipe).

1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter, softened
8 ounces chocolate candy coating

1. Mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter in a large bowl (you can do this with your hands). Mine turned out a bit sticky, which, I discovered later, can be remedied by adding a little more sugar—my mom says it should have the consistency of soft Play-Dough.

2. Line a baking sheet with waxed paper (actually, I Martha-Stuartly used parchment, left over from A’s former roommate). Form the mixture into one-inch balls by rolling it between your palms, placing them on the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet in the refrigerator and chill until the peanut butter is firm.

3. Melt the candy coating in a large bowl in the microwave, according to the package instructions. Dip the peanut-butter balls into the coating (a toothpick would work best here, but I didn’t have one and used a fork instead). Place the candies back on the wax paper and chill until the chocolate is dry.

VARIATION: Make peanut-butter balls as directed, but place each one on a miniature pretzel before chilling. Once peanut butter is firm, hold each one by the pretzel and dip into the chocolate coating (so that only the peanut-butter ball is coated, not the pretzel). Chill until dry.

Makes: 2 dozen
Time: 30-40 minutes

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