Dee Emmerson is a piece of work. When we were young and lived in a brownstone in the West Village, she used to make peanut butter balls in a kitchen the size of your glove compartment. The building was old, the appliances were old, the pipes were ancient. You will note that the recipe below has paraffin in it- that’s right paraffin! Dee caused quite the plumbing debacle when she poured the extra paraffin down her tiny sink and jammed the works of the building. For the next five years, the pipes that she had blown out had me standing in 5 feet of water every time I took a shower. We had laughs about the paraffin- a few, not many, because her stunt did cause discomfort. When I pressed her as to why she used paraffin she explained that dipping the peanut butter ball in hot wax put a high gloss on the chocolate- in fact, without the paraffin, the peanut butter balls look ordinary. It’s like this- if you painted a car matte- without shine, it looks like a car that’s been set on the side of the road and burned- whereas when the surface is high gloss- and is waxed, it looks like something that could win the Indy 500. You know what I mean- shine matters.
Dee made these every fall- and I remembered them from Big Stone Gap Elementary school. Kids would run for Halloween prince and princess- and you could win if your mother made a batch of peanut butter balls- because they were the most popular item sold on the playground. Everybody loved them. In Ohio... they are called buckeyes. Other places, have other names- I think they’re called moose droppings in Wyoming- well, they are called that somewhere. In Big Stone Gap they are called Peanut Butter Balls- and if you were lucky to snag a couple at a covered dish supper, you didn’t brag about it- because once they were gone, the party was over. Make these for Halloween- or to bring to your next soiree- and remember that shine matters.
About 20 years ago, when my debut novel was published, Todd Doughty (Little Pieces of Hope) was my publicist, and now is an author himself! Little Pieces of Hope is fabulous, it’s about the little things that add up to make your day feel lighter, brighter and full of hope. Todd was starving during the book signing in Big Stone Gap and proceeded to indulge in peanut butter balls for several hours figuring the peanut portion meant protein- he enjoyed them- but I don’t recommend swapping out these confections for a real meal. With a salad.
-Blend: one box confectioners' sugar
-18-oz. jar of crunchy peanut butter
-2 cups of graham-cracker crumbs
-2 sticks melted butter
-Roll into bite-size balls
-Melt: 12-oz. package of semi-sweet chocolate chips
-1/4 box of paraffin wax
-Dip balls into melted chocolate and wax and place on wax paper.