Peanut Butter Balls

6 Min Read

I have a crave-worthy, no-bake dessert for you today, and I think you’re really going to love it! Not to be confused with my buckeye recipe, these peanut butter balls are made with cream cheese and have their own distinct taste that’s so smooth and creamy.

They’re the perfect marriage of peanut butter and chocolate, and their shiny chocolate shells are sure to impress anyone you serve them to.

While the peanut butter balls themselves are super easy to make, you may run into some challenges if you choose to temper your chocolate. Tempering chocolate simply means that you’re heating your chocolate to a particular temperature so it hardens to be smooth and shiny without any chalky white streaks.

You can temper chocolate in a number of ways (I use a stovetop method in my chocolate covered strawberries), but I really love using the microwave method that I’m sharing here today. I used this same technique to make flawlessly shiny hot chocolate bombs (if you’re a beginner, check out that post for a very thorough overview of tempering).

I’m going to walk you through every step of the process, but if tempering simply isn’t something you’re interested in, you can always just skip it and melt your chocolate normally, and I talk about that below, too.

Let’s get started!

What You Need

My peanut butter ball recipe uses only a few ingredients and no oven or stovetop. Here’s what you need:

  • Cream cheese. Make sure you use the full-fat, brick-style cream cheese and not the kind that comes in a plastic tub. The cream cheese adds a wonderful, subtle flavor without overshadowing the peanut butter.
  • Butter. Just a little bit of butter helps keep these nice and creamy inside. Unlike most of my recipes, you can use either unsalted butter or salted butter here.
  • Peanut butter. Use regular peanut butter, not the “natural” kind as I’ve found it can separate and leave you with greasy results.
  • Powdered sugar. Sugar helps make the dough roll-able without making it too sweet.
  • Vanilla. Just a little bit of vanilla rounds out the filling. Use homemade vanilla extract, if you have some!
  • Chocolate. Use dark or semisweet chocolate. My preference is couverture chocolate or finely chopped high quality baking bars, but you can use melting wafers in a pinch. I do not recommend using chocolate chips, as they contain added ingredients that inhibit smooth melting, and the quality of the chocolate simply isn’t as good.

Remember, this is just an overview of the ingredients I used and why. For the full recipe please scroll down to the bottom of the post!

How to Make Peanut Butter Balls

This peanut butter filling is super easy to make. Here’s how you do it!

  1. Combine cream cheese and butter until smooth and creamy, then stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. The mixture will be thick, this is normal!
  2. Scoop your dough into tablespoon-sized scoops and roll between your palms to make them nice and smooth. Place on a wax paper lined baking sheet and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Now comes the hard(er) part…tempering the chocolate! Tempering chocolate takes some patience, practice, and a good thermometer. If your chocolate doesn’t come out perfectly–even if you feel like you did everything right–just chalk it up as a lesson for next time. I promise they will still taste good even if the chocolate looks imperfect!

  1. Place your chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 25 seconds, then remove from the microwave and give it a stir; it won’t look melted, but it still needs to be stirred.
  2. Place your chocolate back in the microwave and heat in 15-second intervals, stirring thoroughly and scraping the sides of the bowl each time, until the chocolate begins to melt. Begin checking the temperature once your chocolate appears to be about 50% melted. To temper your chocolate, you must maintain a temperature above 87F and below 91F. If your chocolate has exceeded 87F, but the chocolate still isn’t completely melted, keep stirring until the temperature drops or chocolate has melted completely. If your chocolate exceeds 91F, add more chopped chocolate and stir until it reaches the right temperature.
  3. Once your chocolate is tempered, remove your peanut butter balls from the fridge. Dip the bottoms then drizzle the top with chocolate until it’s entirely coated. Carefully slide the coated ball onto a wax paper lined baking sheet and repeat with remaining balls, monitoring the chocolate temperature as you work.
  4. Allow the chocolate to harden before eating. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge.
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