My all-time favorite holiday candy is chocolate covered peanut butter balls, or Buckeyes. I've been making these homemade candies for over 20 years (yikes!) and last year I decided to amp them up a bit by adding bacon. After all, everything tastes better with bacon, right?
Not only do these chocolate covered peanut butter balls with bacon taste amazing, they are relatively easy to make. The most time consuming part is dipping the balls in melted chocolate.
One thing I have found to be incredibly helpful is to insert a toothpick into the center of each ball than freeze for at least an hour before dipping in chocolate. Also, when dipping in chocolate I work in batches of no more than 20 balls at a time since it doesn't take long for them to thaw out.
Another tip is to line baking sheets with parchment paper. This is especially helpful to keep dipped PB balls from sliding around while the chocolate is wet. Remove toothpicks right after dipping. The toothpick is a great tool for spreading chocolate over the top and covering up the hole.
Last, but not least, sprinkle bacon bits on top of balls right after dipping in chocolate. Dipping chocolate sets up fast once it hits the cold candy. If it dries too quickly the bacon bits won't stay attached. I usually dip 2 to 3 balls than sprinkle bacon bits, instead of stopping between each one. If you're making a lot of peanut butter balls it is helpful to have an assistant who can add the bacon bits.
Yield: 60 (1-inch) balls
Prep Time: 1-1/2 hours
Freeze Time: 1 hour
1 pound Cherrywood Bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1 cup smooth Peanut Butter
1 stick unsalted Butter, softened
2 cups Confectioner's Sugar
16 ounces milk or dark Chocolate Candy Wafers
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place bacon on sheet and bake for 20 minutes or until crisp. Turn slices halfway through. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to absorb grease. Once cooled, chop into small bits.
3. In a mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter and butter until smooth. Gradually add confectioner's sugar and 1/2 of the bacon bits until well incorporated.
4. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small cookie scoop, roll into 1-inch balls and insert a toothpick in the center. Freeze for 1 hour.
5. Add chocolate candy wafers to a double boiler or small saucepan. Heat on low setting until wafers melt. If chocolate becomes too thick add a teaspoon of coconut oil or vegetable shortening.
6. Transfer 20 balls at a time to a small baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
7. Dip 2 to 3 balls in chocolate. Remove toothpick and sprinkle with a pinch of bacon bits. Repeat until all balls are coated and topped with bacon.
8. If desired, transfer peanut balls to decorative paper cups and package in colorful boxes.
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