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)

More in Life

Key lime pie, inspired by a recipe from Kim Sunée, makes a refreshing winter dessert, on Wednesday, Jan. 20, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Letting the sunshine in

Kalifornsky Kitchen changes the mood with a fresh, tropical key lime pie recipe

White men and women in Kenai tended to congregate with people like themselves. This typical outing, in Kasilof, includes (far left, back row) Hans P. Nielsen, superintendent of the Agricultural Experiment Station. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)
Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 3

This is the third installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918.

Pratt Museum officials pose for a photograph while practicing social distancing on the museum lawn on Friday, May 15, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. From left to right are Jennifer Gibbins, executive director; Savanna Bradley, curator, and Marilyn Sigman, naturalist in residence. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Homer Arts groups look to post-pandemic future

Signs of hope include more in-person workshops, writers residencies.

Photo from “Once Upon the Kenai” 
William N. Dawson chats with Captain Rose, of the S.S. Tyonic, in front of Dawson’s Kenai store in 1915.
Exerting Control in Old Kenai — Part 2

The second installment in a series about two killings that occurred in Kenai on April 8, 1918.

Tom Kizzia, author of “The Wake of the Unseen Object,” in a photo taken Aug. 10, 2012, near Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Don Pitcher; courtesy of Tom Kizzia)
Local author’s ‘Wake of the Unseen Object’ back in print after 30 years

Literary travel book had roots in newspaper series about rural Alaska.

Victoria Petersen / Peninsula Clarion
Chicken noodle soup is a bowl of comfort during challenging times.
Kalifornsky Kitchen: Chicken soup for the stressed

Maybe you’ve been feeling stressed, and are just looking for something comfortable and nourishing.

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: So, now what 2021 ?

The new year has started out in an interesting way, mainly because many of us are still dealing with some hang-around issues from the previous 365 days.

A few days after surviving an Aug. 2, 1967, crash in this single-engine Maule Rocket, Dane Parks poses near the front end of the wreckage. (Photo courtesy
Dr. Gaede drops in, Part 3

This is Part Three of a three-part story of an airplane crash more than a half-century ago.

File
Minister’s Message: Have faith; we are in good hands

Whether or not this new year will continue the wild adventure of the year most recently ended or not, we are going to make it.

My favorite breakfast bagel sandwich from my favorite neighborhood coffee shack, on Jan. 5, 2020, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Looking for a few good bagels

Simple ingredients to make your own breakfast sandwich

In the early 1890s, one of the few men willing to stand up against the bullying and brutality of Alex Ryan was the Russian Orthodox priest, Father Alexander Yaroshevich. (Photo from the Alaska Digital Archives)
Exerting control in Old Kenai — Part 1

This is a complex tale of a changing Kenai and of four men — not just the two dead ones — and their perhaps inevitable fatal collision.