I’m sitting here at my laptop, learning via youtube how to remove unwanted details from a photograph. Using a little circle I clone, heal and feather until I can no longer see my distorted face, nostrils flaring, reflected in the corner of a silver platter. I hadn’t noticed this reflection before. But when the recipe for the peanut butter balls mentioned in last week’s letter was requested, I scrolled through my images of said delicacy and found this treasure, complete with particularly porcine view of my face. This is what happens when you photograph reflective things. Mirrors are obvious – there you are, clearly reflected back. A quick duck is all that’s required to crop yourself out. Unfortunately my mother didn’t realize this when she photographed her new bathroom vanity. ( I’ll never forget that day she handed us her phone so we could all see the photo she had quickly snapped before leaving the house. In her defence, one isn’t always dressed when in an ensuite. There was the new sink, nestled in a gorgeous Cape Breton marble countertop, beneath a big mirror reflecting my topless mother.*)
But a silver tray trimmed in scroll work and topped with holiday treats is harder. Who knew a face could be distorted in the rim? Thankfully my son burst out laughing when I asked him if it was obvious. Nothing like a teenager’s reaction to force you to learn how to clone, heal and feather. I think my mother just pressed *delete*.
In any case, I bring you chocolate peanut butter balls, just in time for your last minute holiday baking needs. My grandmother used to serve them on Christmas eve, placed on a tray amongst shortbread, mince pies and slices of Christmas cake, much like the one above. But eventually the grandchildren’s cries (and fights) were heard: chocolate peanut butter balls only!
Today the family CPB torch has been passed on to my cousin Moira. She even made dozens for my wedding, served piled in a tower, croquembouche style. The original recipe calls for rice cereal; she likes to use crushed graham crackers. What’s needed is crunch. Experiment.
*Full permission given in the sharing of this reflective story
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls
2 cups (500g) creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup (115 g) butter, at room temperature
4 cups (450g) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
3 cups Rice Krispies or other ‘puffed rice’ cereal
2 cups (350g) chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
In a mixing bowl blend peanut butter, butter and icing sugar together until smooth. Carefully add puffed rice cereal and stir until combined. Form into balls – slightly smaller than a golf ball is ideal – and place on cookie sheets. Chill balls in the refrigerator until firm. Melt chocolate in a double boiler and keep chocolate melted, gently, while working with balls. Using a teaspoon, dip balls into chocolate and carefully roll around until coated. Place balls back on the same cookie sheet. When complete, chill again until firm.
Makes 20-24 balls, depending on size.