I can’t believe that today has been two years since I found out that I am intolerant of basically everything that I was eating. I will never forget that afternoon in the doctor’s office when my results came back and the doctor told me what I wasn’t going to be able to eat any longer. I remember going to Pasta Night at the Auburn Hotel with some great friends, John-Michael and Lacey, and wondering what the heck I was going to eat. Thankfully Lacey’s mother-in-law was gluten free so she knew that it would be hard at first, but there were things that would make it easy. I had my first serving of spaghetti squash that night and two glasses of wine to calm my depression that I thought I was in haha! Later that night, I broke down in the middle of Winn-Dixie trying to buy some things that I could eat and found nothing. It was a definite learning moment that Winn-Dixie is not the place to go if you are looking for gluten free options.
Since that day, I will say that is hasn’t always been easy but it has been a lifestyle change that I am extremely thankful for. I never thought that I would feel so great and like a completely different person. It was as if a fog had been lifted and I have never felt better and it all began that day. Being that I am intolerant of gluten, dairy, and egg that pretty much takes out any and all desserts that are pretty common, although I have never been a huge sweet fan I still wish there were times that I could have some dessert like everyone else.
One weekend when we were over at Adam’s brother and sister-in-laws house for dinner having a great meal and just spending time with family, dessert was about to happen. Mentally I had prepared myself to just admire what everyone else was eating, but Wesley had other intentions. Exactly why I stand by the fact that she is one of the sweetest people on earth like I have said before :)! She had made these peanut butter balls for dessert and had made some that I could have. They were amazing! I could not stop eating them. I’ve had the chance to make them a couple of times since then and they are always a hit, especially when people don’t realize that I have made them so that I can eat them! I love seeing the look on their faces and it always surprises them, because most people think that allergen/intolerance friendly food is going to be horrible.
The recipe for Benne Seed Peanut Butter Balls was in the December/January 2015 issue of Garden and Gun and comes from the chef, Brandon McGlamery who hails from Athens, Georgia and now is a chef in Winter Park, Florida. It is based off of the traditional buckeye, but with Latin and southern influences to change it up a little bit.
First, you will need to mix together the peanut butter, softened butter, benne seeds (which are just toasted sesame seeds) and confectioners sugar. Then ball that up into small balls, which I used a melon baller for to try and keep them a consistent size.
Once you have that done, I typically put them in the freezer for a little bit so they harden up and keep their form once you start dipping them in the chocolate. For the chocolate, you will need allergen/intolerant friendly chocolate chips or if you don’t have an issue with dairy just use regular dark or milk chocolate chips. Melt it over a double boiler and add salt and the kicker: ancho-chile powder. This is what gives the dessert it’s little hidden flair. It gives it a slow little burn once you are done eating it and it’s an awesome little surprise.
Once you get the chocolate melted, you can start on the project of dipping the peanut butter balls in and covering them. It is easiest I’ve found to use a spoon to cover them and get them back out. I have tried toothpicks before and it just makes a hole that you can’t cover and is not fun trying to fish them out. Once you have them back on a lined cookie sheet, sprinkle them with some benne seeds or a great second option is fine sea salt.
I made these this past weekend for supper club and to say they were excited to have them again was an understatement. I made them for a party we threw with some friends for Matt & Elyse and they were a popular item. I also type this as I sit saddened by the fact that I just enjoyed my last one. The struggle is real, I may have to make these again soon. It would be a great treat for you to make for your Valentine this weekend or just for yourself!
Benne Seed Peanut Butter Balls
8 oz. creamy peanut butter
4 oz. butter, softened
12 oz. powdered sugar, preferably 10X
1¼ tsp. benne or sesame seeds, lightly toasted
Ancho chile–chocolate glaze (recipe follows)
1. Combine peanut butter and butter, and mix until smooth.
2. Add sugar and benne or sesame seeds, and mix well.
3. Using a melon baller, scoop out peanut butter mixture and roll into small, smooth balls in the palm of your hand.
4. Place balls onto a cookie sheet and chill in the refrigerator until firm.
Ancho Chile–Chocolate Glaze
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1¾ tsp. ancho chile powder
¼ tsp. salt
1. Melt chocolate over a double boiler.
2. Add chile powder and salt, and mix well.
3. Use a toothpick (spoon is better) to dip cold peanut butter balls into ancho chile–chocolate glaze.
4. Sprinkle with sea salt or benne seeds.
5. Set on a sheet pan to let harden until firm.