Mother’s Day is almost upon us and you know what that means- it’s time to spoil our wonderful moms who have put up with us our whole lives. They held us when we cried, patched us up when we fell, celebrated our victories, and gave us the foundation to go out and achieve great things. While Mother’s Day may seem like just another Hallmark holiday to some, I think it’s a great opportunity to acknowledge just how important a role mothers play in our lives and thank them for always being there. I know I was not the easiest child (did anyone else have a thing for flinging their shoes off their feet when they walked in the door?), so I want to give a special thank you to my mom for always encouraging me to follow my dreams, giving me the space and support to learn who I am and what I want to do with my life, teaching me to be open to new ideas, not killing me when I decided I could only wear one skirt every day for weeks on end in Kindergarten, and for picking me up after all those many, many late night high school debate tournaments.
There are plenty of great ways to celebrate your mother, from flowers to a day off to a special dinner out. But I think the best way is to make her a really special dessert, like the Peanut Butter Bon Bons in the Junior League of the Woodlands’ Texas Tables cookbook. This is a fantastic cookbook with tons of great recipes (and beautiful enough to be a Mother’s Day gift on its own!), and the bon bons are one of the most popular recipes in the book. They’re a delightfully rich, sweet ball of chocolate-covered peanut butter goodness, and the perfect treat to say “Thanks, Mom.”
I won’t lie to you- these bon bons are not terribly difficult, but they are somewhat time consuming. There are essentially two parts to making them- making the peanut butter balls, and dipping them in chocolate. After each of those steps, you chill them for two hours to harden the peanut butter and let the chocolate set. It’s nice having that time in between so you aren’t slaving over the stove for hours on end. I have a friend who even left hers in the fridge overnight because she didn’t have time to dip them right away. So you can totally work making these into your schedule, even though the overall time is a little more than you might normally expect.
Now, I can’t give you the full recipe- you have to buy the book for that- but I do have some tips to ensure these come out perfectly every time. And I should know- I made 9 batches of these for the Junior League of the Woodlands’ Holiday Market last year, so I have had lots of practice!
The first step is to assemble your ingredients and let your margarine soften a bit. You don’t want it warm, because that will make the dough too soft and sticky to form the balls easily, but you do need it soft enough to mix with the peanut butter. I usually leave my margarine on the counter for 15-20 minutes before I start mixing.
Next, you mix the margarine and peanut butter together, then add powdered sugar. When measuring the peanut butter, make sure that you get all of it out of the measuring cup, otherwise your proportions will be off. If you have too much powdered sugar compared to the peanut butter, the dough may end up tough and hard to work with, not to mention not great to eat. I also like to use a regular peanut butter with some salt added as opposed to just ground peanut butter. I think this tiny hint of salt helps cut the sweetness just enough that it’s not overwhelming.
Try to get your peanut butter balls as round and uniform in size as possible, but don’t sweat if they’re not perfect. That gives them character, right?
Once you have your dough shaped and on a pan (cookie sheets work great), pop the pan in the fridge and go relax. The reason the dough needs to chill is because it is going into a pan of hot chocolate and paraffin, and the peanut butter will get too gooey and lose its shape if it’s not nice and cold.
Melting the chocolate and paraffin takes several minutes and it’s really important not to get distracted here. You can step away for a minute or two at a time while it’s melting, but don’t go far because you do need to stir the chocolate regularly to ensure it melts evenly and doesn’t burn. And don’t worry if you don’t have a double boiler. You can use a mixing bowl on top of a pan of water to achieve the same effect- just make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. It may be tempting to let a few tiny pieces go unmelted, but DON’T! The first time I made these, I got impatient and decided those few tiny bits wouldn’t hurt anything and I wound up with lumps of chocolate on half my bon bons. They still tasted good but it was not the most appealing thing in the world. So be patient and make sure all the chocolate is fully melted before dipping your first bon bon. You need to work quickly once you start dipping the bon bons because the peanut butter warms quickly. I actually prefer to put about half the batch on a plate to dip at one time so they don’t warm up too much.
Once you have everything dipped, you are done! Just pop the bon bons back in the fridge for a couple hours to let the chocolate set, and then you can serve them, eat them, or even freeze them. One of the great things about this recipe is that the bon bons freeze well, so you can make them ahead of time and pull them out when ready to serve. Just leave them on the counter to come to room temperature.
What’s your favorite way to make your mom feel special?
If you would like to purchase a Texas Tables cookbook, you can do so directly from the Junior League of the Woodlands website: https://www.jlthewoodlands.org/texas_tables/. Information on the Holiday Market is available here: https://www.jlthewoodlands.org/holiday-market/. Proceeds from the sale of the cookbooks and Holiday Market tickets go directly back into the community to support our wonderful programs. More information on the work of the Junior League of the Woodlands is available here: https://www.jlthewoodlands.org/.