Saturday, February 13, 2010

Peanut Butter + Chocolate > Peanut Butter

My brother loves peanut butter and I love him.  I have this overwhelming urge to spoil him rotten and feed him beer whenever he's around.  Last year for Valentine's Day I sent his family ingredients to make Peanut Butter Balls after seeing an episode of John & Kate (back when we watched it).  I figured Travis could use it like PlayDoh before eating it.  Kate said to use equal parts PB, dry milk, and honey, but I tried it later and they were runny.  (The recipe linked above looks like a better ratio.)  When we were kids I remember Mom putting wheat germ in as well.  I also remember her having a cartoon on her fridge of Dennis the Menace saying to a friend at lunch, "Stay away from Margaret - she's got wheat germ."  Heh.

This year I tore out a page from Real Simple and made PB buckeyes for Tom & Co.  Mom made some at Christmas and I figured Tom would like them, and then when he was visiting he saw the recipe sitting out and was like, "Oh, yum."  Basically they're PB Balls dipped in chocolate.  I was watching Good Eats last night and Alton was making chocolate truffles, so I transferred some tricks to making buckeyes.  Use teaspoons to drop dough on waxed paper and chill in the fridge, THEN roll them into balls.  Alton made a big deal out of tempering the chocolate (heat until it just melts at 91°-92°, but not above 94° because of the cocoa butter's crystal structure, cool to like 89°, then heat to like 91°) - way too complicated, especially without his infrared thermometer.  So I just nuked chocolate chips until they *just* melted.  It turns out that's not warm enough because the chocolate was sticky, making it difficult to coat more than half of a ball AND get it back out of the chocolate without getting chocolate on the uncoated part.  Plus it made a thicker coating of chocolate on each ball (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just had to heat more chips).  But at the time I didn't think to just heat the chocolate more because Alton's speech on the crystal structure being just right was still echoing in my head.  I bet they still taste good, although I didn't actually try one.

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