Elena’s peanut butter balls

The truth is, I was going to make something with frozen bananas for today’s post because I am still so psyched about the power breakfast smoothie. But… Marcos had put the leftover frozen bananas away in the refrigerator. That’s right, a big pile of mush. I asked my helpful honey, why he didn’t put them back in the freezer, and he innocently asked, ‘Well we still can, can’t we?’

Note: We have a “leave no man behind” rule in our house. So, if you are one of my readers who eats out way too much, and you are scratching your head right now, wondering why frozen bananas don’t go into the refrigerator, don’t worry I will help you (and my husband) learn to cook delicious healthy foods.

Anyway, I did find a bag of peanuts from Trader Joe’s and remembered that I promised my cousin Elena a post. So today is her day.

Elena came over to visit with her new sewing machine for a girls day which included a very serious discussion about peanut butter balls. I told her that the recipe I was working on had too much sugar and butter in it. That I wanted to do just peanut butter and chocolate but it was so boring. She considered my dilemma and decided resolutely that I needed pretzels in the mix creating the holy trinity: pretzels, chocolate and peanut butter. Pretzels on top, to be exact. I also added Uncle Sam cereal. Yum.

Believe it or not, these balls are pretty healthy for you. They have about 100 calories and sneak in 3-4 grams of protein each. The balls are rolled in crushed pretzels or cereal before being rolled in melted chocolate, then topped with yet another crunchy layer. As opposed to the traditional sugar and butter laden ball, this just has pure unadulterated peanut butter. We are talking about the good fat category! And, a high-quality dark chocolate encasing the whole thing.

This recipe is flexible and you should be too. Depending on the consistency of your peanut butter, you may need to place it in the freezer a few times to make these pretty. Other than that, this recipe is super easy.

Peanut butter balls

1 lb of fresh peanut butter, pure crushed peanuts (I made mine by demolishing 1 lb of peanuts in my Vitamix, you can also find a market near you that has a peanut butter machine such as the Sacramento Food Co-Op or Raley’s in Sacramento.)
6 oz of dark chocolate
1/2 cup crushed pretzels or Uncle Sam cereal
1/2 tsp olive oil

Chill the peanut butter in the refrigerator for at least an hour so that it is about the consistency of cookie dough. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Using a spoon or a cookie scooper, spoon 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and form by hand into a ball and place on the cookie sheet. Place cookie sheet in the freezer for a few minutes until ready for use.

Crush the pretzels or Uncle Sam cereal and place on a plate. Heat the chocolate and olive oil in a double boiler or microwave (in a glass bowl in short increments so that it doesn’t burn). Stir frequently. The oil will help the chocolate spread smoothly over the balls. Remove the chocolate from heat and place it at your assembly station with the balls and the plate of pretzel/cereal.

Roll the balls in the pretzel/cereal. Then roll them in the chocolate, using a spoon to ladle more if you need the assist. Place the ball back onto the cookie sheet and sprinkle a little of the pretzel/cereal on top. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Warning: I have had one consistent complaint to these. People say that they are too big. Personally, I feel good about an entire tablespoon of peanut butter, but feel free to make them smaller.

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