Peanut Better Balls

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on December 16, 2013

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I have fond memories of making peanut butter balls with my mom and sister every holiday season. The women in my family are all big peanut butter and chocolate fans, so it seems like a natural holiday dessert to splurge on. In fact, I know when they see this post they’ll be running to the kitchen to make this version! You can’t beat how easy peanut butter balls are to throw together during those hectic last-minute preparations.

This year, I came up with a lighter version of my childhood favourite. Rather than using 2 cups of powdered sugar and plenty of butter like the old recipe, I turned to a few lighter ingredients to do the same job.

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This version contains much less sweetener than classic recipes, but I promise you won’t even notice the difference, especially once the chocolate coating is in place!

The secret to achieving a similar dough (without all the powdered sugar) is a little trick I picked up from making homemade nut butter in my food processor. I noticed when I added too much maple syrup into the machine, it would cause the nut butter to seize up (i.e., get really thick). After that point, no matter how much I processed the nut butter, it never returned back to it’s creamy, drippy state. A similar thing happens when you add water to melted chocolate.

For this recipe, I used this knowledge to my advantage by stirring the peanut butter and maple syrup vigorously, until the mixture “seized” and thickened up. Well, it worked like a charm! All I had to do after that was add a couple tablespoons of coconut flour for additional thickening powers. Coconut flour is quite dense and drying, so just a little bit did the trick. No powdered sugar necessary. Yes!

Tip: If you are new to coconut flour and don’t want to buy a whole bag, try buying a small amount from a bulk food bin. I’m pretty sure Bulk Barn carries coconut flour.

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At first, when you stir in the maple syrup, it will look quite runny and you’ll think there’s no way it’s going to thicken up, but it does. Just keep on stirring! It took me probably 30 seconds of stirring and letting it sit a couple minutes helps it firm up too (the coconut flour absorbs a lot of moisture). The timing will depend on how thick (or thin) your brand of peanut butter is (I only recommend using 100% all-natural peanut butter with nothing else added). It’s quite possible you might need a touch more (or less) coconut flour than what I used. I’m not sure if other sweeteners will work the same way that maple syrup does, so I can’t vouch for the results if you swap out the maple syrup.

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Once it thickened up, I stirred in some sea salt to enhance the flavours and rice crisp cereal for a crunchy texture. Oh my….simply irresistible!!

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Watch them disappear almost as quickly as they were made.

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4.8 from 36 reviews
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Peanut Better Balls

Vegan, gluten-free, no bake/raw

By

These peanut butter balls forgo the powdered sugar and butter, and instead use a few lighter ingredients using only a fraction of the sweetener compared to traditional recipes. You'll wonder how you ever lived without this recipe around the holidays! It's quick to throw together and makes about 16-20 balls that will fill a platter for a holiday party. For mess-free finger food, place the balls in mini cupcake liners.

Yield
16-20 balls
Prep time
Cook time
0 Minutes
Chill time
25

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup 100% natural peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 3.5-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup, to taste (see note)
  • 1-3 tablespoons coconut flour, only if needed
  • fine grain sea salt, to taste (I used 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 6 tablespoons gluten-free rice crisp cereal
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life)
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil

Directions:

  1. Stir the jar of peanut butter well before using. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter and maple syrup vigorously, for 30-60 seconds, until it thickens up. It will go from runny to thick during this time.
  2. Stir in the coconut flour until combined (if your PB is dry, you might be able to skip this step or only use half). We're looking for a texture that isn't too sticky, but not too dry either. Let it sit for a couple minutes to firm up as the coconut flour will continue to absorb moisture with time. Add a touch more coconut flour if necessary. Or if it's too dry, add a touch more syrup.
  3. Add salt to taste and stir in the cereal.
  4. Shape into small balls (I made about 17).
  5. In a small pot, add the chocolate chips and coconut oil and heat over low heat, stirring frequently. Once half the chips have melted, remove from heat and stir until completely smooth.
  6. With a fork, dip the balls into the melted chocolate. Tap off excess chocolate on the side of the pot and place the ball on a plate or cutting board lined with parchment. Repeat for the rest. Save any leftover melted chocolate for later.
  7. Place balls in the freezer for around 6-8 minutes until mostly firm.
  8. Dip a fork into the leftover melted chocolate and drizzle it on top of the balls to create a "sophisticated" design like the baking diva you are.
  9. Freeze the balls for another 10-15 minutes, until the chocolate is completely set. If you can wait that long, you win life.

Nutrition Information

Tips:

1) I'm not sure if other liquid sweeteners will work in this recipe (and firm up the peanut butter the same way as maple syrup does), therefore I can't recommend any. A reader did tell me that agave nectar worked for her though! 2) I recommend only using 100% natural peanut butter for this recipe. You just want to see roasted peanuts on the label (and maybe salt, if it’s salted). The no-stir kinds made with oil and sugar might not work the same way. The PB I used was very drippy. If your PB seems dry, you probably won't need to use all of the coconut flour.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

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Stacey Dunn November 30, 2016 at 12:19 pm

Can I freeze these?

Reply

Angela Liddon December 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Hi Stacey, You sure can! The balls can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for about a month.

Reply

Sara December 26, 2016 at 10:01 am
Recipe Rating:

Oh my goodness. This recipe was a home run!! I added a little extra PB for my peanut-butter-loving family. The slightly gooier texture made it harder to dip the balls into the chocolate on a fork, but it was so delicious that I willingly used my fingers and got a bit messy.
My family has always had a bit of an aversion to trying “healthier” versions. For Christmas yesterday, I gave some of these to my mother, who has been addicted to Reese’s peanut butter cups for YEARS. This morning she told me that she threw out all of the Reese’s in the house because “they just don’t taste good any more”. Thank you SO much!! This one’s a keeper. :)

Reply

Jessica January 10, 2017 at 11:30 am

These look great! Can you substitute with almond butter to make it healthier? Have you tried that? I try to avoid peanut butter even though they look amazing! Thoughts?

Reply

Angela Liddon February 22, 2017 at 8:34 am

Hi Jessica, I haven’t tried that substitution myself, but a number of readers have and had success. If you want to go nut butter-free, you could also try using sunflower seed butter instead. If you try a swap, please report back and let me know how it goes. :)

Reply

eva April 15, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Gorgeous!! I added 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp maca, 1/2 tsp vanilla essence, yumm!

Reply

Hannah December 22, 2017 at 6:48 pm

What can be substituted for coconut flour?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) December 23, 2017 at 7:41 am

Hey Hannah, I haven’t tried it, but I do think you could use a bit of all-purpose flour (just add it very slow so as to not dry them out). I think I’ve tried oat flour (maybe 1 tbsp or even less) and it worked out okay. The amount you’ll need to add will depend upon how “wet/runny/oily” the PB is. If it’s on the dry side you may not need any at all. I hope this helps!

Reply

Gaetane December 26, 2017 at 3:37 pm

Hi, I absolutely love the idea of skipping the icing sugar. I have a family favorite Peanut Butter Ball recipe that I have not seen elsewhere. All the Peanut Butter Ball recipe use Rice Krispies. The recipe I grew up with and no one in the family will do without at Christmastime does not have Rice Krispies rather it has dried cherries and more. This is my recipe :
¾ cup peanut butter
1 cup Icing Sugar
1 cup coconut
1 egg
1 cup walnuts
1 cup dates or cherries
½ tsp salt.
And of course the melted chocolate
Lately I hesitated to make the recipe because of the egg that is not cooked. But this is a family staple and I can not not make them.
This year, I made it with an egg substitute (water, vinegar and soda) And it is not the same. I wish I had found this recipe beforehand. Am I wrong in thinking that the egg is for holding everything together. Do you think I could adapt my recipe with yours and
and add the walnuts and cherries instead of the Rice Krispies?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) December 28, 2017 at 7:10 am

Hey Gaetane, Thanks for sharing your family recipe! So interesting. Yes, I totally think you could add walnuts and cherries…that sounds lovely. Let me know how it goes if you try it out. The main thing with my recipe is not to add too much coconut flour (it’s drying)…sometimes depending on the consistency of my peanut butter, I don’t need to add any at all. EnjoY!

Reply

Gaetane December 28, 2017 at 5:25 pm

Thank you so much for your feedback. I mentioned this to one of my sisters and we plan to try to take our recipe and adapt our to yours .
Maybe for Valentine? We do need an excuse to indulge :)…
I will let you know how they came out. We all would be so happy if we could do without the raw egg.

Reply

Stacy April 9, 2018 at 8:34 am

I’m wondering if the egg is used with the powdered sugar to make a meringue type froth that is part of what’s holding it up / giving it the body. If that’s the case, I’d try aqua faba and ditch that extra sugar! ;)

Reply

Brenda April 1, 2018 at 2:53 pm

I made these with cashew butter. They turned out excellent!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 1, 2018 at 3:31 pm

Yum!!! I love that twist Brenda! Did it remind you of cookie dough at all?

Reply

Michelle April 3, 2018 at 4:11 pm

Do you think PB2 would work in this recipe?

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) April 5, 2018 at 9:55 am

Hey Michelle, that’s such a fun idea, but I’m not sure. PB2 is quite powdery, right? I think the whole recipe would need to be adjusted (especially to add moisture). if you try anything please let me know how it goes!

Reply

Stacy April 9, 2018 at 8:26 am

Based on playing with it, this is my best guess… it would work the same as regular peanut butter, but, if I was going to use it AS the full amount of peanut butter, I’d make it thicker, and omit the coconut flour, maybe 2:1 instead of 3:1 (called for on the label). It does work to thicken your peanut butter up, instead of using coconut flour, so that’s an option. And you could use a combo of pb powder with cocoa powder to roll the balls in, if desired. (and you can add cocoa powder to the filling, as well. This does work, I tried it, and it was delicious!)

Reply

Stacy April 9, 2018 at 8:18 am
Recipe Rating:

I altered the recipe a bit, so reporting what I did. I used peanut butter powder instead of part of the coconut flour. This worked superbly. I also didn’t feel like the mess of melting chocolate, so I chopped the chips in the mini food processor and rolled the balls in the chopped chocolate. This was awesome, as well! Excellent recipe! Totally a make again!

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