Wednesday, June 5, 2013



Yield: 36 to 42 tablespoon-sized candies

1/4 cup (2 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups peanut butter (smooth, but you can use chunky if you are looking for more texture)
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 14 graham crackers
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups powdered sugar
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
12 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped

Make the filling: In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together until combined. Add the graham cracker crumbs and beat for 10 seconds. Add the sugar and butter then increase the speed until the ingredients are combined. Scrape down the whole bowl well, then mix again. The mixture will be quite sturdy and a little dry — perfect for shaping. Set it aside while you prepare the coating.

Make the coating: Melt the chocolate either over a double boiler, stirring until it is completely smooth or in a microwave in 30 then 10 second increments, stirring before you start it again until it is completely smooth. Let it cool to tepid  while you shape the peanut butter balls. 

Assemble the candies: Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scoop out slightly more than one tablespoon’s worth of filling and use your hands to form it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared sheet and repeat the process until all of the candies have been shaped. They can sit close to each other but make sure they are not touching.

Using a fork or large skewer, dip each ball into the chocolate and roll it about so that almost the entire candy is coating, leaving a small circle uncoated. 

Chill the buckeyes until they are set, about 30 minutes.

Do ahead: Buckeyes will keep in the fridge for what the book says is 3 days, but I’d say at least a week, should you keep them in a lockbox and hide the key.

Churro Balls

Churros Balls with Warm Chocolate Dipping Sauce

Serves 4-6

For the cinnamon sugar:
1/2 cup sugar
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the churros:

1/2 cup whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup water
4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup (4 1/4 ounces) all-purpose flour 
4 large eggs 
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
Canola or peanut oil, for frying

For the chocolate dipping sauce:
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
1 cup whole or 2% milk
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 cup heavy cream (or milk)
1 heaping teaspoon cornstarch

For the cinnamon-sugar, whisk together in a small bowl. Transfer to a shallow dish and set aside.

For the churros, combine the milk, water, butter, cinnamon stick, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium to medium-high heat, stirring once or twice, until the liquid begins to boil. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick. 

Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously to combine. Return the pan to medium heat to dry out the dough. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a round mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 3 minutes. (There will also be a noticeable "film" of flour on the bottom and sides of the pan.)

Transfer the dough to a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat dough on low speed for one minute to cool and no longer steaming. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, until each is completely incorporated. Add the vanilla bean paste. (At this point, the dough should be shiny and form a "rope" when the blade is lifted from the pan.) Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Allow the dough to rest while you heat the oil, at least 15 - 30 minutes.

Fill a large Dutch oven with about 2 inches of frying oil; heat on medium-high until the temperature reaches 375°F. Line a sheet pan with paper towels or a brown paper bag, and cover with a wire cooling rack. Use a small spring-form ice cream scoop to carefully release rounds of batter into the oil, about 6 or 7 at time. (Do not overcrowd the pot; they should not be touching.) 

Flip the balls occasionally with long tongs or a spider to promote even cooking. Once churros are puffed and light amber/golden brown, about 2-3 minutes, remove to the wire rack to drain for a moment. While still hot, coat each churro in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Place on a serving dish and continue frying the remaining dough. Make sure the frying oil comes back up to temperature between batches.

For the chocolate dipping sauce, combine the chocolate, milk, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is melted. Whisk the cornstarch into the heavy cream and add to the milk mixture. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for another 30 seconds, until the sauce is dark and slightly thickened, then remove from the  heat. Transfer to a bowl for dipping, whisking as necessary. 

Recipe Notes:

  • If you do not have a stand mixer, you can beat in the eggs with either a handheld electric mixer or by hand. If mixing in the eggs by hand, allow the flour mixture to cool for 15 minutes before beating in the eggs.
  • To make traditional log shape churros, transfer the rested dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe 4-inch strips of dough, snipping with kitchen shears to release, into the hot oil and fry according to directions.
  • To bake the churros, preheat oven to 425°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Using the pastry bag fitted with a large star tip, pipe into 4-inch logs. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly puffed. Finish off under the broiler until golden brown and crispy. Dust in cinnamon-sugar mixture before serving.