Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls

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I think the invention of peanut butter and chocolate together is genius, and these chocolate peanut butter calls are a prime example of this!

As I was putting my Christmas cookie list together (by the way, this is NO easy task), I found this recipe. I usually make my go to peanut butter cookie recipe with a chocolate kiss placed on the top after it comes out of the oven.   Being a favorite with my family, they have always made the list.

The addition of mini M&M’s is the “icing on the cake”, so to speak. I added 1 cup of peanut butter, as opposed to the ¾ cup called for in the recipe.  After I added the confectioners’ sugar it seemed like it needed more, and the extra ¼ seemed to do the trick.

I used my 1 tablespoon scoop for the dough and it made 30 cookies. I dipped the balls in Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate and drizzled with extra chocolate after they set.  I placed mine in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill.

I served these at my son’s “100 days of storms” reveal party at his art gallery. If you get a chance, go to his Instagram page @davidmacomber_dotcom and check out his artwork.  I’m a very proud Mom, I know, but his work is amazing and you are in for treat!

My daughter-in-love said they are her new favorite cookie. You have to love compliments like that…I know I do!

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Ingredients:

  •  ½ cup unsalted butter (115 grams) room temperature
  • 1 cup * creamy peanut butter (185 grams)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups confectioners’ sugar (360 grams)
  • ½ cup mini M&M’s (100 grams)
  • 16 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (I used Baker’s semi-sweet chocolate)

Directions:

Beat the butter on medium speed in a large mixing bowl until smooth and creamy (about two minutes).

Add the peanut butter, salt, and vanilla extract. Mix until everything is combined and creamy.  With your mixer on low speed, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar until combined.  It will be a little crumbly,

but will come together when you add the M&M’s. Work the dough with your hands.  As you mix them in and the dough will become soft and easier to work with.

Scoop into one inch round balls and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for half an hour. While the balls are chilling chop the chocolate and place in a double boiler until the chocolate has melted, and smooth and creamy.

After the peanut butter balls are chilled, dip them in the chocolate one at a time. Tap off the excess chocolate and place on the parchment lined sheet pans.  Put the extra chocolate in a squeeze bottle and work the bottle back and forth over the dipped chocolate balls, making a design on the top (shown in the above pictures).

You really need to make these, and I think they will be your new favorite too (or at least on the top five of your list)!!

These cookies were inspired by Sally McKenney’s Peanut Butter M&M’s truffles. Check out her Instagram page @Sallysbakeblog (you’ll be glad you did!)

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Mousse Cake

chocolate chip peanut butter mousse cake

Birthday cakes are a big deal in my house. My children and grandchildren know that I like to start the cake planning process long before the birthday gets  here.  Whether it’s making a sculpted lizard or Elmo, or a fancy cake topper that’s been molded “just so” by watching hours of you tube videos,  the cake flavor is the real star of the show.  A cake not only has to look good, but it needs to taste good too!

I am a lover of ALL things chocolate and this chocolate cake recipe has been my go to chocolate recipe for a really long time. Sometimes I like to add a cup of chocolate chips to the recipe to give it that extra punch of chocolate…oh my!!  So when my son-in-love (not a typo! I don’t like the term “in-law”) asked for a chocolate chip cake for his birthday, this is the cake I made for him.

You have to trust me. This is THE best chocolate cake you will ever eat!  When my daughter’s friend asked me to make her wedding cake years ago, and then proceeded to tell me she wanted vanilla and chocolate layered cake, this is the recipe I used.  Boy, am I glad I did.  I was approached at the reception by the bride’s grandmother who was going on and on about the cake.  She said it was the best cake she ever ate and asked me if I would share my recipe with her.  What an honor!!  I did share my recipe with her and I am going to share it with you too!

This recipe will make two 9″ cakes.

Ingredients for cake:

  • 2 ounces (55 grams) unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 Cups (226 grams) cake flour
  • 2/3 Cup (65 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ Sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter-room temperature
  • 1 ½ Cups (297 grams) packed brown sugar
  • ½ Cup (104 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs –room temperature
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ¼ Cups (300 ml) buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, add 2 tablespoons vinegar or lemon juice to measuring cup and fill with whole milk until you have 1 ¼ cups-let it set for 5 minutes)

Mousse ingredients:

  • 8 oz. (227 grams) cream cheese-room temperature
  • 1 cup (250 grams) creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup (125 grams) confectioners sugar-sifted
  • 1 cup (240 ml)chilled heavy cream
  • 1 Teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Ganache Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups (480 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 Cups
  • (510 grams) semi or bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Teaspoons pure vanilla extract

*Five peanut butter cups for topping (optional)

Instructions

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2- 9” cake pans with non stick spray and line with parchment paper.  This keeps the cakes from sticking to the pans.               

Melt the chocolate in the microwave or by using the double boiler method. Put aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together (*stir in cup of chocolate chips) and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter and sugars on a medium speed until smooth and creamy (about 2 minutes). Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl.  Mix in the eggs one at a time (mixing until each egg is blended into the batter).  Add the vanilla and beat for about a minute.  Mix in the melted (and cooled) chocolate.   Add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk in two additions (beginning and ending with the dry ingredients)  until the dry ingredients are incorporated and the batter is smooth.  DO NOT OVERMIX!!

Evenly divide the batter into your cake pans and bake for 35 minutes (or until inserted toothpick comes out clean). Allow cakes to cool in pans then release them onto a wire rack to cool completely before decorating.

While the cake is baking make the peanut butter mousse. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and vanilla on a medium speed until blended and smooth.  On a low speed,  incorporate the confectioners sugar and set aside.  In a large clean bowl, beat the heavy cream and vanilla until stiff peaks form.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the peanut butter mixture (adding 1/3 at a time) until the mixture is smooth.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

While the cakes are cooling let’s get started on the yummy ganache frosting!

Heat the heavy cream and butter in a saucepan until the butter melts and the cream is hot (tiny bubbles will begin to form). Just before mixture begins to boil, remove it from heat and pour over the chocolate chips.  Allow mixture to sit for about five minutes. This gives the chocolate a chance to melt.  After five minutes have passed, whisk the ganache until  all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.  Stir in the vanilla.  At this point the smell of deliciousness may be overwhelming and you may want to dive right into the bowl but don’t…I know you can wait until this luscious bit of ganache is crowning the top of your masterpiece!!  You will thank me for waiting!

To assemble the cake I begin by torting (fancy word for cutting my two layers in half and making four layers). I just like throwing it around to impress my non baking friends.  Like street cred for bakers😆.

I only used three of the layers in my cake because I wanted more mousse between my layers.  You can freeze the extra layer for making cake pops in the future or you can nibble on it while you’re working in the kitchen (that’s what I like to do).  That was always one of my children’s favorite part of me baking…eating the cake scraps!

Start with your bottom layer of cake on a cake board that’s the same size as the cake. Put ½ of the mousse on the cake and spread, leaving about ½ around the edge of cake.  This is so the mousse doesn’t ooze out of cake.  Repeat with the next layer of cake and put third layer on top.  Frost the top of your cake first and then the sides with your ganache.  It should be at a nice spreadable consistency.   I chopped up five peanut butter cups and sprinkled them around the top.  *This is just an option, but trust me, it’s a very good option!!

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family does!

*Coating the chocolate chips with the dry ingredients keeps them from sinking to the bottom when baked.