If you love peanut butter in your chocolate, and chocolate in your peanut butter, these baby bonbons were born just for you. Sweet and creamy, with a savory, crunchy kick from crushed pretzels and a lively crackle from bits of chopped English toffee, these candies will knock your socks off. They have been sampled by hungry elementary school teachers, skeptical culinary students, and little kids at the park, and everywhere they went these fat little bonbons were met with astonished delight at how tasty they were—and you will be amazed at how easy they are to create in your own kitchen.
"Sticky, Chewy, Messy Gooey Treats for Kids" by Jill O'Conner (Chronicle); copyright 2009. Photographs by Leigh Beisch
|1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature||1 cup crushed Heath English Toffee Bits, or Heath Almond Brickle Bits|
|2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted||1 1/2 pounds finely chopped semisweet chocolate melted with 4 tablespoons vegetable shortening, or 1 1/2 pounds dark chocolate confectionery coating, melted, or 2 tubs (7 ounces each) dipping chocolate|
|2 cups creamy peanut butter||1 cup finely chopped salted peanuts for rolling (optional)|
|2 cups (about 10 ounces) finely chopped pretzel sticks||1 cup Belgian chocolate jimmies (or vermicelli) for rolling (optional)|
In a large bowl, using a hand-held electric mixer set at medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the peanut butter until combined. Using a large rubber spatula, fold in the pretzel sticks and toffee bits. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until it is very firm, 2 to 3 hours. Roll the mixture, by heaping tablespoons, into 1-inch balls. Place on a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Cover the bonbons with plastic wrap and freeze until they are very firm, about 30 minutes.
Combine the chopped chocolate and shortening, cut into small bits, on a large, microwave-safe dinner plate. Microwave at half-power for 1 minute. When melted, the chocolate will appear soft and shiny but will still hold its shape; stir smooth. If the chocolate is not completely melted, heat in 30-second increments, stirring until smooth. Transfer the chocolate to a medium bowl. If using confectionery coating, repeat this process without using the shortening. If using dipping chocolate in a tub, follow the dipping directions listed on the container.
To make dipping the bonbons easy, and less messy, try wearing latex gloves, available in most pharmacies. Working with one bonbon at a time, quickly dip it in the melted chocolate, rolling it around to coat it completely. Rest the bonbon on a fork and let any excess chocolate drain away. Immediately roll the bonbon in the chopped peanuts or chocolate jimmies and place on the parchment-lined baking sheet to harden.
Alternatively, place the dipped bonbon without the jimmies or nut coating, on the parchment-lined baking sheet and top with one perfect salted peanut or a sprinkling of crushed English toffee, or when the bonbon is firm, drizzle lightly with melted white chocolate.
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