Holiday Cookie Baking Season Kick-off!

I make an abundance of holiday cookies and truffles every year. It may seem early, but I always start in early October and have quite a few varieties made and in my freezer before Halloween. It’s my belief that our energy comes through in the foods that we prepare. For this reason, I start early because I really find joy in making holiday cookies and I want the love and enjoyment that I feel making them to come through in every bite! I never want baking to become a chore, or something that I feel pressured to complete under time constraints, thus making me feel anxious as I’m baking. That would certainly take the fun out of making them and may come through when they’re being eaten as well. I like to really get immersed in the enjoyment of the process and appreciate each type of cookie or truffle’s uniqueness during the moments that I’m making them. They truly are baked with love. It’s my own tradition to first make the Peanut Butter Bonbons, or Peanut Butter Balls as they’re more affectionately called by my family. I’m not exactly sure why I make them first; it may be because they’re near and dear to my heart. They are one of the first cookie types that I made when I officially took over baking the holiday cookies from my mother close to forty years ago. It’s my personal way of kicking off my cookie baking season and I like the tradition!  Once made, I often send pictures to the people who love the Bonbons the most. This gets those family and friends excited for the cookies that they will soon be enjoying! The original recipe is filled with ingredients that many of my family members and I can no longer eat. With these simple modifications, we can all continue to enjoy them!

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Peanut Butter Bonbons

Ingredients:

2 cups all natural peanut butter (no sugar added)

½ cup red palm shortening (I use Nutiva brand which is a combination of red palm and coconut oils)

4 ½ cups powdered coconut palm sugar (recipe in the Sugar section of my website)

3 cups gluten free brown rice cereal (I use Erewhon brand)

Ingredients for the chocolate coating:

2 (10oz) packages (or more) dairy-free/gluten-free chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand)

2 tsp of coconut oil

Instructions:

1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, melt peanut butter and red palm/coconut oil shortening.

2. In a large bowl, combine powdered coconut palm sugar and brown rice cereal.

3. Pour melted peanut butter/shortening mixture over cereal/sugar mixture and blend together with hands.

4. Form into ½” balls and place on prepared baking sheet. Chill in freezer until firm.

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Instructions for Coating the bonbons with chocolate:

Place chocolate chips in a double boiler or glass or other microwave safe bowl. If melting on stovetop, melt chocolate over medium high heat. If microwaving, melt in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval until smooth and melted; or according to manufacturer’s directions. Stir in 1-2 teaspoons of coconut oil.

Take frozen peanut butter bonbons out of the freezer and dip one at a time into the melted chocolate. Coat each one fully and carefully place back on the wax paper lined cookie sheet. Swirl the top of the bonbon in a circular motion for a pretty presentation. Place back in the freezer until firm. Store bonbons in an airtight container in the freezer if not eating them right away. Makes about 80-100 bonbons depending on the size.

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