My husband’s very favorite treat during the Christmas season is Buckeye Candies – chocolate covered peanut butter balls. And I didn’t think he would ever be getting any from me, until I discovered I could prepare them in a traditional, nourishing way. As part of the Holidays, I bake. And bake. I bake for myself, for my family, and as a way to spend time with friends. But this year hopefully the tradition will change slightly as I learn to keep Christmas in my heart all year long.
One tradition that I love around Christmas time is baking. As a child it was in the kitchen with my Grandma, spilling flour on my clothes and eggs on the floor. Now that I’ve grown a bit, friends will gather around the kitchen counter, putting hands in butter and sugar to prepare Christmas tins stuffed with baked goods to pass along as gifts. Champagne glasses half-full of Mimosas will be covered with greasy fingerprints, and tummies will be contentedly filled with batter and warm, just-out-of-the-oven confections.
Christmas is a time of giving, as they market well through every store you go in and advertisement you see. But it should also be a time of heart felt conversations, an intimate recounting of lives when time is spent apart – even if that can be accomplished while sharing a quick cup of coffee. By keeping the Christmas spirit, I would like to continue those type of connections, instead of trading it in, as we usually do, for a menial garble of words that do nothing but drown out the silence.
Infusing the air with the inviting scent of cookies instead of slander, December brings cold breezes and warm hearts that dwell on something other than superficiality. I’m done with those type of associations. I long for December to take up residence in my relationships much as Scrooge learns to keep Christmas in his heart all year long. Warm, dense friendships like hot chocolate; not the carbonated, artificially sweetened relationships of year’s past. And to that I’ll toast to the Christmas Holidays, digging in elbow-deep and hopefully getting so involved that flour on my nose, chocolate in my hair, and butter stains on my clothes will go unnoticed by Christmas-spirited friends of a like mind.
And finally, chocolate covered peanut butter balls that I feel good about baking!
- 1 1/4 Cup No Stir Peanut Butter (I love Earth Balance for this)
- 1/2 Cup Cream Cheese
- 1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
- 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 Cup Powdered Honey Granules *
- 1/8 – 1/4 tsp. Stevia
- Pinch of fine Sea Salt
- 1 Cup Melted Dark or Grain Sweetened Semi-Sweet Chocolate (Chips Work Best)
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Beat together cream cheese, vanilla, sea salt, and powdered honey granules smooth and granules are mostly dissolved. This might take a couple of minutes. Then beat in peanut butter, softened butter, and Stevia. Taste and adjust sweeteners if necessary. Chill mixture for 5 minutes, or until firm enough to roll into balls. Roll and freeze for 10 minutes. Melt chocolate. Stick toothpicks in centers of balls and dip in melted chocolate, swirling the center around in the chocolate to cover. Leave a small area at the top of the candy for the filling to peek through. Quick set in the freezer for 5 minutes, then store in baggies in the refrigerator.
Makes quite a bit!! Enough for many smiling faces when they open up their gifts!
* To make powdered honey granules, simply put Honey Granules in blender, food processor, or coffee grinder and blend on high for 10-15 seconds, stopping to shake the container and redistribute the granules. Continue until all are powdered, but avoid over-blending, which can begin to melt the granules. Honey Granules are a 1:1 substitute for refined sugar in almost all baking recipes, and 1 Cup of honey granules will yield 1 Cup powdered honey granules.