Our extreme cold snap has broken here in Vermont – it’s been a toasty average of 10° instead of -10°.
I’ll take it.
What I don’t like is the fact that it warmed up one day enough to melt almost all our pretty snow, poured rain, froze back up at night and now everything is a giant ice skating rink. Just in time for the Olympics, aye? Anyways, it’s made getting outside for activities pretty tough and we’ve been a bit cooped up. We attempted to take the dogs to our favorite off leash trails, but when we arrived there was so much ice everywhere that people had turned the front field into a hockey rink. So we walked along the bike path for a little bit to stretch our legs (it was only 50% covered in ice).
When we got home, Jesse was a bit restless. I dove into this recipe and Jesse dove into constructing his Big Ball Factory K’nex set.
In case you aren’t a child of the 90s or a plastic building set connoisseur, this is a Big Ball Factory:
Now, let’s back up. Jesse has had this K’nex set since he was 10. He moved it across the country to Colorado with him and never set it up. He mentioned it quite a few times – a twinkle of childish fun in his eye whenever be brought it up – but we never set it up. Colorado weather was just too perfect all the freaking time to stay inside and play with things like K’nex. We thought about it a few weekends, but then we’d feel guilty about staying inside so we’d go out for a hike followed by beers at our favorite dog friendly breweries with great patios. So in Colorado, the Big Ball Factory sat in our closet, unused.
And then we moved it back across the country with us to Vermont. And then the weather got realllllly crappy. And out came the Big Ball Factory. So I guess crappy weather is good for something.
It seemed only fitting that I make Peanut Butter Better Balls as a snack for K’nex construction time.
Because I like to make snacks for all occasions.
Especially when they include chocolate, peanut butter and sea salt. And balls.
Okay, so a few weeks ago I made a buckeye recipe that I found online that included 3 cups of powdered sugar. Yes, they were delicious. Yes, they burned the inside of my mouth a little bit. And yes, I still have sugar shakes from it. But, they’re one of Jesse’s all time favorite desserts so I became a woman on a mission to remake these little sugar bombs. There are loads of “peanut butter protein balls” out there, but once you add protein to it, I’ll pass. Same with recipes using dates or raisin to sweeten – they make the texture all wrong. So here you are, a better for you buckeyes recipe sans 3 cups of powdered sugar, protein powder or dried fruit.
Peanut Butter Better Balls
what you’ll need:
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup
4 oz melted dark chocolate
sea salt for sprinkling
Powdered peanut butter and peanut flour are not the same thing. And yes I know powdered peanut butter usually contains some amounts of added sugar, BUT this amount is waaaay less than the normal amounts of powdered sugar called for in Buckeyes. So live a little.
I melted my chocolate by chopping and putting half in a microwave safe bowl, zapping for 30 seconds then stirring in the other half until smooth. But if you have a double boiler, that would also work…and be more fancy.
Also, my buckeyes don’t look like buckeyes because I like chocolate ALL ROUND that ball. You can leave a bit bare at the top if you desire.
how to whip it up:
Cream together first 4 ingredients in a stand mixer or with a hand mixer on medium. Dough will be fairly crumbly, but hold shape when pressed together. Use a 1.5 tablespoon scoop to scoop balls onto parchment lined baking sheet. Roll into smooth balls and then freeze for 30 minutes. Once chilled, remove from freezer and dip in melted chocolate, sprinkle with sea salt if desired. Chill in the refrigerator until chocolate is set. Yields 18-20 peanut butter better balls – I highly recommend doubling the recipe because they wont last long!