Monday, October 31, 2011

Homemade Reese's - A Halloween Tale & Treat

Peanut butter balls - a delicious little Reese's-like truffle

Remember back in the day when folks actually used to give out homemade candies and goodies to trick-or-treaters? My sister and I would occasionally get a popcorn ball, or a small bag of chocolate chip cookies from the neighborhood old folks and we'd eat them just like the snack-sized candy bars that filled our plastic pumpkins. Then, the "razor blade in the candy bar" incident happened somewhere in America (who knows if it actually did happen or it was an urban legend) and moms everywhere recoiled in horror and suspicion over anything homemade at Halloween. 
As I was out walking this morning I was thinking if there was a way to bring back the homemade Halloween treat for trick-or-treaters. Would kids even want them? I thought, I could put my peanut butter balls (recipe below) in individual little baggies with my return address label on it, then people would know they could "trust" the source. But then, no, I'd have to put an ingredient list on it too because every other child out there is gluten intolerant, lactose intolerant or has peanut allergies, et cetera, so they better know what they're getting. But then if some overly eager child ate the thing before mom could thoroughly vet it, I'd be asking for trouble ... in the form of a lawsuit. What a sad, sad state of affairs we find ourselves in these days.  
So, do your family a favor and make these treats for yourselves ...

I love chocolate. And I love peanut butter. And let’s not forget salt. When I was young, my mom used to make these delicious little balls of peanut butter and chocolate goodness that contain absolutely nothing healthful. But I firmly believe in all things in moderation and eating these once a year—whether that’s Halloween or Christmas—certainly won’t kill you; though they’re so addictive they might put you in a sugar coma! Consider yourself warned.

12 ounces crunchy peanut butter (not the “natural” kind that separates)

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened

16 ounces powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 bag semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (good quality with cocoa butter; make sure the ingredients do not contain nonfat milk)

Kosher or sea salt

In a large bowl, with your hands, mix together the peanut butter, butter, sugar, and vanilla. Make sure it’s thoroughly combined and mixed. Wash your hands. Roll the mixture into balls and drop onto a wax-paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for one hour.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave, according to the package instructions for melting. Using a skewer, a mini spatula, a spoon—whatever works—roll or dip the balls in the melted chocolate and place on the wax paper. You may have to patch up the sides with melted chocolate (this is where the mini spatula comes in handy) if the candies come out a little rough. If you’ve got any fingers free from melted chocolate, sprinkle a pinch of Kosher or sea salt on top. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for a little while to set up.