Happy New Year everyone! I’m a little late in saying it, but I have my reasons. Although I feel like every time I post I’m making excuses for not posting as much as I’d like to, I have completely valid reasons this time. This time I haven’t been living at home for a few weeks and am not around my gluten free staples to create wonderful new recipes for you.
I rang in the New Year out of town with friends and then four days later waited for my Mom to have surgery for Colon Cancer. She was diagnosed a few months ago and had surgery booked immediately after the Christmas/New Years holidays. I’ve been staying home with my parents ever since to help out making low fiber meals, as well as helping with any task that requires lifting more than 5 lbs (my Mom’s allowed limit). Thankfully she appears to be doing superbly well, but as you can imagine it’s been a worrying time for us all. I think it’s a pretty good reason for not posting.
However, I did promise you a recipe for Peanut Butter Balls back in December, so that’s what this post will be about. My Nana (on my Mom’s side) has made peanut butter balls as Christmas treats for years. I used to be pretty lazy though … ah who am I kidding I still am lazy. Any ways, in my laziness I made her recipe in the form of bars. Who had the time to dip each ball of peanut butter and into hot melted chocolate and transfer it to a baking sheet while not putting fingerprints all over the place in the chocolate? Too much effort for me! Now I can’t have them because I’d have to read the ingredients on the chocolate and other ingredients and really I’m not supposed to have chocolate, but I cheat a bit on that one. I’d never cheat with gluten though. Also, my brother has now developed food allergies including peanut butter. So as a result, my Nana stopped making these delicious treats for us, because we just don’t make it easy.
When I first met my boyfriend (of 3 years now) it was just before Christmas. What are you supposed to give someone you just met a few days ago for Christmas? I couldn’t not get him something, but I wasn’t going to spend a lot of money on someone I barely knew. What to do, what to do? Well I made him my Nana’s peanut butter balls in bar (actually pie) form and gave it to him for Christmas. Apparently it was quite intimidating as it took him about 4 weeks before he even tried a piece, but when he did it went quickly. This year he reminded me of my first gift to him so I decided to make some again. This time I made both the traditional version and a sunflower seed butter (sun butter) version for my brother. I also got fancy new quiche tins that I used as chocolate molds, so although they aren’t the traditional ‘ball’ I keep mentioning, they do the trick.
Nut Butter Balls
¾ cup Peanut Butter or Sun Butter (or any other nut butter)
1 cup Icing Sugar
½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 or 3 tablespoons Margarine, melted
¾ cup Nuts, Dates or Maraschino Fruit
2/3 cups gluten free chocolate chips
1 tablespoon Margarine
1 tablespoon Paraffin Wax, food grade (optional)
Place the nut butter and icing sugar in a bowl and blend. Next add vanilla and melted margarine and mix. Then add fruit (or nuts or dates). Form into 1-inch balls. Meanwhile, in a double boiler melt chocolate and butter together and stir. If you wish you may add a small piece of wax. Stir in until well mixed. Wax simply gives your chocolate a nice shine. Dip balls into the chocolate and place on wax paper and freeze until solid.
Alternatively, if you don’t feel like doing balls you can place the nut butter mixture in a baking dish then top with melted chocolate and freeze to form bars. Or, as I did, paint the inside of a chocolate mold freeze, fill with nut butter, top with more chocolate and freeze again. Chocolates should be store in refrigerator as they can be quite melty if un-tempered or follow this link and learn how to temper chocolate so that it will be stable at room temperature!
*Note: the peanut butter version is similar to reese's peanut butter cups in flavour. Other nut butters will give different and intriguing flavours. Sun butter is tasty and I have a feeling hazelnut butter would be pretty good (and rich) too!