Just in case you’re cramming in some last minute holiday desserts, or just have a sweet tooth driving you nuts like me, I thought I’d share one of my family’s favorite recipes that you can still make in time for the festivities. There are tons of versions and copies of this recipe, so I’m not claiming any new ground here. I do have a few tips though, plus I really want to share such a yummy AND easy enough recipe that even I can do it. If a recipe is Georgia-proof, then I feel it must be shared with the world. *smile* As usual, the easy to copy and paste recipe will be at the bottom, below the pictures and tips.
In a food processor or sturdy stand mixer combine crushed graham crackers, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and melted margarine until the mixture is thoroughly mixed.
If the mixture seems too crumbly, then add a little more melted margarine. If it’s too creamy to shape, or won’t hold shape, then you can add a little more crushed graham crackers (use caution, since this will change the flavor a little) or you can cover it and let it chill in the refrigerator for a little bit. (Sometimes the room temperature can cause issues, or tiny variations in the ingredients, or just that wild tendency for things to go wrong like I have.)
Chilling worked perfectly for me and you can either grab a little out by hand or use a small scoop, like me. The mixture should be thick and hold together pretty well, yet is still pliable, so it can be shaped into balls. Prep a cookie sheet with some waxed paper for easy cleanup. Powder free vinyl gloves work wonderfully, too.
One handy step in making these, other than the scoop taking the work out of trying to keep things somewhat uniform, is to smash the scoop of filling in your hand, and then roll it into a ball between your hands. The smashing seems to help it stick together better and makes rolling a lot easier without crumbs trying to escape.
When all of the mixture has been rolled insert a toothpick into each one (unless you prefer to use fondue style dipping tools, then you can skip the toothpicks), cover loosely with a sheet of wax paper, and then refrigerate them for at least two hours. Or set them in an outdoor smoker if you live in the Midwest and it’s December. *laugh*
Once they’ve chilled you can start on my favorite part, the chocolate coating. *grin* You’ll need to melt chocolate chips with a little paraffin wax in a double boiler while stirring frequently until it’s melted smooth. If you’re using two saucepans in place of a double boiler, make sure that the top pan does NOT touch the water in the bottom pan, or else the chocolate may scorch or seize. I’ve also found that cutting up the paraffin really cuts down on the stir time and therefore less worry about ruining the chocolate. I didn’t pay close enough attention this round – cut yours to about half the size of what’s in the picture for an even easier experience. (By the way, if the idea of the wax grosses you out, you can totally leave it out. Your Bon Bons won’t have the gloss and harder shell, is all. You’d be surprised how much wax you regularly ingest anyway, though, so this little bit truly isn’t a big deal.)
Dip the chilled peanut butter balls into the chocolate, let the excess drip back into the pan, and then place back on your wax paper lined cookie sheet. They can get a little squirrelly when you’re dipping, so you may have to get creative in order to make sure that they’re fully covered. Spin them, swirl with your fondue dipper, pour some over the top with your spoon – whatever it takes. My mom has the spinning toothpick technique down while mine tends to include a little jig (I wish I meant the Bon Bon), swirling the ball with the fondue dipper, and then covering any missed spots by pouring some chocolate from the spoon. You know me, I can’t do anything like a normal person. *grin* That dance is essential for my success for some reason.
Once the chocolate starts to harden a little you can remove the toothpicks, if used, and I warn you now that usually about half of the toothpicks pull right out as we set down the coated candies, so don’t worry if it happens to you. Shoot, we’ve had the ball slip right off into the chocolate even, so you didn’t do anything wrong. Ahem, back to the recipe…If you want really beautiful Bon Bons (really, the shininess of that chocolate and the allure of peanut butter and chocolate together making yumminess on your tongue isn’t enough for you? I’m all ready happy at this point, but just in case you’re planning a gorgeous spread…), then you can always cover the toothpick holes by spooning a little of the leftover chocolate over them or even by drizzling a contrasting colored melted chocolate over them. The drizzle does double duty – covers the hole and makes them look all snazzy. I don’t do it, but I’ve seen plenty of recipes that call for it. It definitely jazzes them up. I had some issues this round with marks from the fondue tool, plus some hit and runs due to my shaking hand, so there were quite a few to fix before we decided that it’s just for family and gave up. Plus, we wholeheartedly believe in the best part of being the cooks for this treat…if you have leftover chocolate you can just dig in and no one will ever know! *cracking up*
You may still have a healthy bit of chocolate in your pan after everything is coated. Just take a paper plate (or real one if it has a high edge and a dipped center), cover it with some wax paper, and pour the leftover chocolate on there. The high edge of the paper plate keeps the chocolate in a pool in the center and prevents it from running all over, like your hand or refrigerator. I use that second sheet of wax paper that was used to cover the Bon Bons earlier, when they were chilling before the dipping, to pour the leftover chocolate onto actually. If you do it right you can pull up part of that wax paper and cover the chocolate, too. Once the leftover chocolate cools you can nibble on it, use for something else later, or put in the bottom of your cup when you pour hot chocolate or coffee for a little umph. Personally I vote for nibbling. I’ll fight you for a hunk of chocolate any day. *grin*
Allow the coated Bon Bons to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours. They’ll darken, get uber shiny, the flavors will develop, and they’ll have this awesome crunch when you bite into the chocolate shell. I got a little fancy for the final picture for you, fancy for me at least, and put mine on one of my special occasion “chocolate” saucers with a cup of hot chocolate. The Bon Bons look so pretty and are pure bliss in my book.
Make sure to refrigerate until serving and to refrigerate all leftovers. In theory leftovers can be refrigerated for up to two weeks. We’ve never ever ever had leftovers, even when my mom made double batches for bigger family parties, so I can’t give any handy tips for that part of the recipe. *laugh*
Peanut Butter Bon Bons
1 cup crushed graham crackers (you can use the food processor or I find it works just as well to put them in a zipper bag and run my rolling pin over them several times)
1.5 cups peanut butter (some swear by chunky for binding, I prefer using creamy because of the texture)
1 box of powdered sugar (or 16 oz by weight)
1 cup of melted margarine (use the stick margarine, not the tub kind, or else it doesn’t have the right oil percentage)
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
Half a bar of paraffin wax , cut into pieces (comes in a box with four bars, found in the canning and baking aisles)
In a food processor or stand mixer combine the first four ingredients until smooth and thoroughly mixed. Scoop mixture and form into a ball, and set on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Once all of the mixture has been rolled into balls, insert toothpicks about halfway in each ball if you will be dipping them that way (skip this if you are using fondue style dipping tools). Cover loosely with a sheet of waxed paper and refrigerate for at least two hours. Melt the chocolate chips and paraffin in a double boiler. Dip the chilled balls into the chocolate and coat the entire surface, allow any excess to drip back into the pan, and then place back on the lined cookie sheet. Once all of the Bon Bons are coated and the chocolate has hardened a little, remove the toothpicks, if they were used for dipping. Refrigerate the Bon Bons at least two hours, until fully firm. Serve while still cool. Bon Bons can be refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Hopefully this post takes some of the mystery and nervousness out of making these tasty treats. If you follow my tips then the recipe is pretty foolproof. My pictures are proof. *grin* They sound super complicated, but once you’ve made them a few times, it’s not bad at all, as long as your arm doesn’t wear out quickly. You can always call in some reinforcements to help with the dipping and give your arm a break, like I did. I hope you give these a try and enjoy them as much as my family. I wish you a very merry Christmas and happy pampering! 🙂