Friday, August 29, 2008
In celebration of Peanut Butter Exhibition #4 I'm doing something a little different.
A friend of mine was raving one day about his wife's amazing skills in the kitchen. He cited many examples, but one struck the Peanut Butter Exhibition cord with me! In the middle of a heat wave here in Philly, I had a craving for something sweet, and quickly e-mailed her to get the details on these no-bake treats. My next e-mail was to Nick, The Peanut Butter Boy, insisting that our next PBE theme be No-Bake so that I could share this recipe with the world! The following recipe is not mine, it belongs to my friend Debbie, but she has agreed to let me enter it via Foodaphilia into Peanut Butter Exhibition #4. It's quickly become a go-to dessert for me this summer, I've brought them to a few picnics and eaten quite a few from home out of my freezer in the middle of the night, they're just that good.
What's even more beautiful about this recipe is that there isn't really a recipe, rather its a short list of ingredients in general proportions that you can mess around with to your own liking. Basically you need just 5 things to get started:
Butter or Margarine
I started with about 1 cup of peanut butter, I used chunky because that's what I had, but smooth would work just as well. Melt it in the microwave with about 1 Tablespoon of butter or margarine for about 30 seconds and blend with a fork. Add around 1/2 cup of oatmeal and a few drops of vanilla and blend again. Add enough sugar to make the peanut butter mixture into a consistency that will easily roll into balls. The picture above illustrates the consistency you're looking for. Debbie uses white sugar, I used a mixture of white sugar and brown sugar, mainly because I ran out of white sugar in the middle of making this dessert the first time around. In subsequent attempts, however, I've repeated the substitution because I like the carmely flavor the brown sugar adds to the peanut butter.
Use a good size cereal spoon to measure out the peanut butter mixture and roll into balls. Then stick them in the freezer to chill out for about an hour.
The final ingredient you'll need is some chocolate for the coating. You can use any chocolate you like, I've used semi-sweet, milk, a combination of those two and white chocolate. My favorite is the semi-sweet, but I tend to like my chocolate on the less sweet side and I find the semi-sweet chocolate is a nice compliment to the sugary interior of these treats. I used one whole bag of chocolate chips and 1 tsp of vegetable oil melted together in the microwave to coat my peanut butter balls.
Once all the balls are coated in chocolate, stick them back in the freezer until completely firm. At this point I took them off the cookie sheet and tossed them into a plastic container with a lid and stored them in the freezer. I wouldn't recommend keeping them outside of the freezer, the texture of this No-Bake treat is just superior in frozen form.
Seriously, there's never been an easier or more adaptable recipe for such a wonderful dessert. If you're not that into chocolate, just drizzle some over each ball instead of coating the whole thing. If you don't like chocolate at all, or are really trying to count those calories, just roll the balls in a light dusting of white sugar. Similarly, you can replace the oatmeal with crushed pretzels or fiber cereal to increase the saltiness or crunch of the filling. The possibilities are endless, so I hope you try it out and let me know of alterations that provided you with something tasty