These gluten-free Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls are literally ALL of my favorite things in one. Dark chocolate, peanut butter, they’re a little creamy, a little crunchy and they have the perfect bit of salt on top. WHAT? Did I dream these?
We had a small outdoor, safe, Thanksgiving celebration here at out house with our little “Pandemic Pod of Pals” and I made a full spread of classic, Thanksgiving food w could enjoy outside on our deck. Our friend Audrey offered to bring her famous Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls to share and when dinner ended and I pulled them from the fridge, made sure they were gluten-free and then promptly popped one into my mouth. After I yelled a few overly excited expletives I realized for me, it was love at first bite!! I believe while I was dancing with one of these in my mouth, my exact quote was (and I will leave out my excited use of the F-word) – “OMG, what is this magic? This is all of my most favorite things in one bite!!!”
After getting Audrey’s original recipe, I made a few small tweaks to the recipe, swapping powdered sugar for coconut sugar and maple syrup, leaving out vegan butter and cutting it in half and opting for salted grass-fed butter instead (you can also use ghee or coconut oil here, too) and the box of sprouted brown rice cacao crisps I already had in the pantry made for the perfect crispy crunchy interior.
There’s just something about the classic flavors of dark chocolate and peanut butter that I will never tired of and while there are so many nut butter alternatives and yeh, sure, they are good, they just don’t quite do it for me the way that peanut butter does (see below for options and alternatives for other options, if you must).
Making these Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls was a therapeutic baking session (sans actually baking) thanks to the sadness of my cancelled plans. There’s something about being in the kitchen, Christmas music blaring and making something sweet that is instantly soothing to the soul.
The best part about these, since they make well over 4 dozen balls, they are perfect to portion out and share with people you love, especially for the holidays. Leave a small box for your neighbors, give some to your trainer in an effort to bribe him to go easy on you in your workout (I might have done that) or just keep them ALL for yourself.
I have since learned, thanks to Google that these Rice Crispy Peanut Butter Balls are a classic recipe, though many of the original recipes include half as much cereal and peanut butter and a full cup of powdered sugar, plus milk chocolate. I can’t even imagine how overly sweet those are. I really love that these Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls are the perfect amount of sweet without hitting you over the head with it.
I hope you enjoy these Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls as such as I did – and please let me know if they make you scream swear words out of pure glee, too!
By the way, in other circumstances I would have loved to share process photos while I made these, but to be fair, I did make them at like 8pm on a Sunday night after we found out our Yosemite trip had been officially cancelled because our campgrounds had closed due to this secondary lock down in California. So it is what it is, like the rest of 2020!
Also, hey – did you hear the news?
Speaking of chocolate, in case you missed it, I officially unveiled the brand new Tasty Yummies web store last week and introduced the three exclusive Tasty Yummies raw organic dark chocolate bars – Basic B, Salty B and Spicy B. All of the bars are dairy-free, cane sugar-free featuring the right amount of sweetness from mineral-rich coconut sugar, and luscious raw cacao butter stone ground at low temperatures. I am so proud of these bars and I am so excited to finally share them with all of you.
While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend melting down these Tasty Yummies Chocolate Bars like 10 of them for this particular recipe, they are the perfect bar to savor and enjoy every single day.
How to Make Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls:
Step one: add your peanut butter and melted butter, ghee or coconut oil to a large mixing bowl. Add the coconut sugar, maple syrup and crisped rice cereal. Mix well to combine. Place the bowl of dough in the freezer quick to chill and firm it up.
Step two: line a baking sheet (or two depending on their size) with parchment or wax paper. Pull the dough from the freezer and using a cookie scoop, a spoon or your hands, roll the rough into approx. 1 – 1.5-inch balls and place onto the lined baking sheet. Continue with all the dough. Place the tray into the freezer for 15 – 20 minutes.
Step three: just before taking the balls our of the freezer, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 30-second increments.
Step four: using two forks or by sticking a toothpick into each ball, dip the peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate and place back onto the sheet pan. Sprinkle with flaked salt if using. Place the pan back into the freezer for at least 30 minutes to let the balls set.
Step five: Enjoy your Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls. Store them in the fridge, they will keep 2 to 3 weeks, though the cereal might be a little less crispy.
Options for the Crispy Center:
Obviously any ol crisped rice cereal will do, I like One Degree brand Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Crisps as they are sweetened with just a little coconut sugar and with the rice being sprouted, they are easier on digestion. Go on with some old school Rice Crispies though, those work just as well. Other options that would be delicious, puffed quinoa cereal, rolled oats (though they won’t be as crispy),
Alternatives to Peanut Butter + a Note About the Type of Nut Butter You Use:
Any nut or seed butter will work, but a thick, creamy consistency works much better, so the super natural nut butters that are separated and have oil on top likely will be far too runny and won’t work as well in this recipe, consider pouring off a little of the oil and blending them first. I used Whole Foods’ store brand organic creamy peanut butter spread. It has only one ingredient, organic peanuts and nothing else added, but it’s nice and creamy. A creamy cashew butter might also be great, creamy almond butter or sunflower seed butter would be nice too. If you want to go all out and you don’t have gluten intolerances to worry about, maybe one of those cookie butters, Biscoff butter or some of that stuff they sell at Trader Joes, would be next level. I know my husband, Mark, would probably love that.
Other Options for Your Dark Chocolate Crispy Peanut Butter Balls
- Use milk chocolate if you prefer, over dark.
- This is a very easy recipe to cut in half if you don’t want quite so many balls.
- Instead of flaked salt you can sprinkle with coconut flakes, more crisped rice cereal, chopped peanuts, sprinkles or anything else you’d like.
- 4 cups crisped rice cereal (I used One Degree Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Cacao Crisps) - see notes for alternatives
- 1 - 16oz jar of creamy organic peanut butter, approx 2 cups - see notes for alternatives
- ¼ cup coconut sugar (or other granulated sugar)
- ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey)
- ¼ cup melted ghee, butter or coconut oil
- 12oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped, chips or chunks - I used 85% dark coconut sugar sweetened
- Maldon flaked salt
- In a large mixing bowl, mix peanut butter and melted butter (ghee or coconut oil) Add coconut sugar, maple syrup and crisped rice cereal. Mix until combined. Place the bowl of dough into the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm it up.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment or wax paper. Remove the dough from the freezer and using a small cookie scoop or tablespoon measure enough batter to form a 1-inch ball.
- Roll each scoop between your hands to form a small ball.
- Place the formed balls on the lined cookie tray and chill in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave by heating for 30 seconds then stirring and repeating process until it is melted and smooth.
- Using two forks or by sticking a toothpick in each peanut butter ball dip each peanut butter ball into the chocolate and roll around until evenly coated. Shake a little to let the excess drip off.
- Place the chocolate coated ball back on the lined sheet pan.
- Sprinkle with flaked sea salt, if using, before the chocolate is set.
- Place the chocolate coated balls back in the freezer to let the chocolate set. It should take at least 30 minutes.
- I recommend storing these in the refrigerator, but if you like them extra chilly and firm, store them in the freezer. They will be too soft at room temperature.
- These will keep upwards of two weeks, but the crispy cereal might be a little less crispy over time.