Chocolate and peanut butter are an irresistible combination, and these classic peanut butter balls bring them together perfectly!
My mom made these almost every year around Christmas time. I remember watching her dip the peanut butter balls in the chocolate and hardly being able to wait until they were ready to eat! Growing up, these just became synonymous with Christmas for me. I now get to create the same anticipation for my kids as they patiently – or impatiently – wait for me to finish making these amazing peanut butter balls.
These are similar to traditional Buckeye Balls but have Rice Krispies, which give these the perfect crunchy texture. But unlike Buckeye Balls, the entire ball is dipped in chocolate.
I have a couple of suggestions that I believe take these traditional peanut butter balls to the next level:
- Dark chocolate: Dark chocolate is healthier than milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate, and there are many actual health benefits to eating it (read more here). To me, dark chocolate tastes better as well, and it certainly gives these peanut butter balls more of a rich, decadent flavor.
- Chunky Peanut Butter: Again, this is personal preference, but chunky peanut butter adds to the wonderful crunch of these balls. I would also recommend using natural peanut butter without so many artificial ingredients.
- Toppings: You certainly can dip these in chocolate and call it a day. But if you want to elevate these balls to the next level, I highly recommend topping these with finely chopped salted peanuts. Not only will they look amazing, but the little extra salty crunch on top is a game-changer. Also, you can drizzle leftover dipping chocolate over the top for additional visual appeal. To make my peanut butter balls look delectable, I top half of them with chopped nuts and drizzle chocolate over the other half (instructions for adding the toppings are found in the recipe below).
- Chocolate: Whenever you melt chocolate for dipping, it is always better to use baking chocolate bars found in the baking aisle instead of chocolate chips. They melt so much smoother, and you will have chocolate with a better consistency for dipping. Chocolate chips contain stabilizers that prevent them from melting into the correct consistency for a smooth coating when dipping.
- Using shortening or vegetable oil with the chocolate: Adding a couple of teaspoons of shortening, vegetable oil, or even coconut oil to the chocolate you are melting helps the chocolate melt more smoothly and makes for the perfect consistency for dipping. My preference is shortening because of its natural flavor.
Peanut Butter Balls
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups peanut butter, chunky or smooth
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 cups Rice Krispies
For Dipping Balls
- 20 ounces of melting chocolate, either dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate. (use chocolate bars, not chocolate chips) **See notes
- 2 teaspoons shortening or vegetable oil
- ¼ cup finely chopped salted peanuts
- Leftover dipping chocolate to drizzle on top
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the softened butter, sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Add the Rice Krispies and stir together on the lowest setting until completely incorporated. It's okay if some of the Rice Krispies get crushed.
- Form the peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls by squeezing the dough to compact it slightly and then rolling it into a ball. Place rolled ball onto a parchment paper or wax paper-lined baking sheet.
- Once all the balls are rolled, place them in the refrigerator for one hour to allow the balls to chill completely.
Dipping the Peanut Butter Balls:
- Cut up the chocolate bars into smaller pieces, and add to a microwave-safe bowl or glass measuring cup, along with the shortening or vegetable oil. Microwave on high in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval. Continue until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
- Drop the balls one at a time into the chocolate, and using a dipping tool or fork, remove the ball from the chocolate, tapping off the excess chocolate. Place the ball back on the baking sheet and immediately top with chopped nuts. Repeat with the remaining balls.
- Once all the balls are done, return them to the refrigerator to allow the chocolate to set.
- If you plan to drizzle leftover dipping chocolate over some or all the balls, allow them to chill for 20-30 minutes in the refrigerator. Give the dipping chocolate a good stir and pour it into a small zip lock bag, press the air out, and seal the bag. Snip off just a tiny bit of the corner and drizzle the chocolate in a back-and-forth motion over each ball. Return the pan to the refrigerator again to allow the chocolate to set.
- Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for five to six days. These also freeze well; place in an airtight container and eat within six months.