Chocolate and peanut butter balls, also known as Buckeyes, are a great addition to any Christmas cookie box, photographed on Dec. 21, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Chocolate and peanut butter balls, also known as Buckeyes, are a great addition to any Christmas cookie box, photographed on Dec. 21, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Kalifornsky Kitchen: Spread Christmas cheer with cookies

I’ve always enjoyed holiday baking and sharing, but wanted to do it on another level this year.

By Victoria Petersen

For the Peninsula Clarion

Over the weekend, my boyfriend and I baked probably hundreds of cookies. We placed the cookies into small boxes, and spent a few days delivering them to friends and family around town. It felt so great to see my friends’ and family’s faces and talk to them, if only for a moment, outside the doorway. I’ve always enjoyed holiday baking and sharing, but wanted to do it on another level this year. Since so many of us have suffered so much this year, it seemed like a tangible way for me to spread cheer, and do something nice for the people I care about.

I think everyone had the same idea as me. A few of the houses where we dropped our cookies turned around and gave us a cookie box or a card in return. Many of my friends said they’ve never made cookie boxes for Christmas before, but felt compelled to this year as a way of connecting with those they haven’t been able to spend time with.

This column calls back to a column I did in April, when I wrote about baking and sharing treats with friends and family to feel close, when we were in one of the most isolating stages of the pandemic. It’s the holidays, and it still feels isolating right now. I’ve been finding it hard to connect with friends recently. Questions like, “how are you doing,” are triggering responses more emotional than they’ve ever been, and I feel the same energy coming from others, too. With all of the stress I’m feeling, dropping off some cookies feels like the best way to show I care right now.

Our boxes had some Kalifornsky Kitchen cookie classics inside of them, like the raspberry marbled cookies from last week’s column, and the snickerdoodles and ginger molasses cookies from previous editions. My boyfriend made homemade marshmallows and his favorite corn cookies, from Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar cookbook. She’s a queen of cookies. We also made white chocolate matcha and raspberry bark and chocolatey cookies.

The easiest recipe of all was for chocolate and peanut butter buckeye balls. They are essentially chocolate and peanut butter truffles. They are made of only four ingredients, and they come together quickly. It’s like biting into a homemade Reese’s. They aren’t cookies, but they will make a nice addition to your cookie box.

Ingredients:

1 jar of creamy peanut butter

1 bag of chocolate chips

1 tablespoon of coconut oil

2 cups of powdered sugar

Directions:

1. Scoop out all of the peanut butter into a medium-sized bowl, and add a small amount of powdered sugar and mix it in. Gradually add the rest of the powdered sugar until you have a mixture that is someone pliable. This may take some, or all of the powdered sugar recommended.

2. Once the peanut butter mixture is pliable, roll globs of the mixture into small balls, mine were a little bit bigger than a quarter. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue rolling the mixture into balls until the peanut butter is all gone. Place the rolled peanut butter balls into the freezer on the baking sheet, and let them firm up for about 20 minutes.

3. While the peanut butter balls are freezing, place all of the chocolate chips into a microwave safe container, and add the coconut oil. Heat for 30 seconds. Using a fork or spoon or small spatula, mix the partially heated chips and oil together. Heat in 30 second intervals until the consistency of the chocolate is thin enough to dip and coat the peanut butter balls with.

4. When the chocolate is ready, take out your peanut butter balls. Using a fork, or a toothpick, or even your fingers, lower the peanut ball into the chocolate, making sure it gets coated in the chocolate. Place the freshly dipped ball back onto the parchment. Continue this until all of the balls are coated, and place the baking sheet back into the freezer to harden up.

Two cookie boxes our household received from nearby friends, photographed on Dec. 21, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

Two cookie boxes our household received from nearby friends, photographed on Dec. 21, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)

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