The following recipe is a no-bake candy recipe using peanut butter, butter, honey, powdered sugar, and a little vanilla extract.
Although it is presented as one recipe, it has eight important variations that allows you to create eight different candies, and each candy has its own unique flavor. This is similar to the way many of the recipes in my Gourmet Cookbook are written. Instead of repeating the same recipe several times, all of the different unique variations are presented in one recipe. This significantly minimizes the total number of recipe pages in my cookbook. And it makes it easy for you to see how you can modify a specific recipe so you can be constantly surprising your family with delightful variations of some of their favorite recipes.
Peanut Butter Balls (about 20 to 26 balls)
1 c. peanut butter, creamy
2 c. powdered sugar
4 T. butter, softened
opt. 1 1/2 c. crispy rice cereal, crushed
2 T. pure honey
opt. 1 c. milk chocolate chips
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
opt. 24 Hershey's chocolate kisses
Instructions: In a large bowl combine the peanut butter, softened butter, honey, and vanilla extract. Stir until well blended. Add 1/4 cup sugar and stir until well blended. Add another 1/4 cup sugar and stir until well blended. Continue to gradually add sugar but stop when the mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl and stays together in a large ball. The mixture contains enough powdered sugar when it can be formed into a ball without sticking to your hands.
Options: There are 3 basic options: crispy rice cereal, mini chocolate chips, or chocolate kisses. None of the options are necessary. The candy tastes delicious without any of the optional ingredients. Or you may use each option by itself. Or you may combine the crispy rice cereal option and the chocolate chip option at the same time. However, the chocolate kisses option should not be combined with the crispy rice cereal or chocolate chips. This gives you the flexibility to produce eight different versions of this candy as follows: (1) Candy with no options, (2) Candy with Crispy Rice Cereal, (3) Candy with Chocolate Chips inside, (4) Candy with Crispy Rice Cereal and Chocolate Chips inside, (5) Candy coated with melted Chocolate, (6) Imitation Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups, (7) Candy with Crispy Rice Cereal coated with melted Chocolate, or (8) Candy with Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses inside.
Crispy Rice Cereal Option: Gently crush the crispy rice cereal with a rolling pin before adding it to the mixture. Do not flatten the cereal. Just break the cereal into smaller pieces. Then stir the cereal into the mixture until it is well blended throughout the mixture.
Chocolate Chips Option: Stir the chocolate chips into the mixture until they are well blended throughout the mixture.
Hershey's Chocolate Kisses Option: Push your thumb into one ball and put one chocolate kiss (with the tip cut off or with the tip melted flat) in the center of the ball and cover with candy so it cannot be seen. This makes the chocolate a "surprise." Serve at room temperature or the chocolate kiss with be too hard to bite into.
Instructions Continued: Shape the mixture into 7/8 inch round balls and place the balls about 1/4 inch apart in a single layer on a serving plate.
Imitation Reece's Peanut Butter Cups (no crispy rice): Press each 7/8 inch round ball down into a 1/4 inch flat circle about 1 3/8 inches in diameter with a slightly tapered side. Dip in chocolate.
Balls (or Cups) Coated with Melted Chocolate: Refrigerate the balls (or cups) for 30 minutes before dipping in chocolate. Melt 1 teaspoon lard and the milk chocolate chips in a nonstick saucepan over low heat until the chocolate is melted (do not overcook or the chocolate will burn). Use a spoon to dip and roll the balls in the melted chocolate. Put on parchment paper to cool. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.
Storage: Eat the candy the same day it is made. Or save uneaten candy in an airtight plastic storage container in the refrigerator.