Bake Cookies

Photo and Recipe courtesy of realsimple.com

Well, the holidays are upon us (I consider any time after Thanksgiving the Christmas/Chanukah/generic holiday season) and nothing says Happy Holidays like baking cookies.  If you’re looking for a simple recipe for someone in the early stages to complete semi-independently or for you and a more cognitively impaired individual to do together, look no further than these easy, no-bake buckeyes!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, chopped

Directions

  1. With an electric mixer, beat the peanut butter and butter at medium speed until creamy. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and salt (the mixture will be crumbly).
  2. Roll tablespoonfuls of the dough into balls and place on a wax paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a double boiler or a medium heatproof bowl set over (not in) a saucepan of barely simmering water, melt the chocolate, stirring often, until smooth. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  4. Resting each ball on the tines of a fork, lower it into the chocolate until it’s two-thirds covered. Refrigerate on the baking sheet until the chocolate is firm, about 30 minutes.
  5. Storage suggestion: Keep the buckeyes refrigerated, between sheets of wax paper in an airtight container, for up to 3 weeks.

Tips:

1. You can just melt the chocolate in the microwave, just do it in smaller batches and watch closely to make sure it doesn’t burn

2. You can put the buckeyes in the fridge (for about 2 hours) or outside (time varies depending on the temperature) if you don’t have room in your freezer to “set” them before dipping

3. You can skewer the balls on a toothpick and use that to dip them in the melted chocolate. Or heck, use your fingers.  As long as you wash them first, I won’t tell anyone.

 

This recipe is nice for people with memory loss because although it’s simple, doing each step takes a bit of time, so it’s not over before it even begins.  It’s also nice that the main steps (rolling the dough into a ball and dipping the balls in chocolate) are naturally separated, so they can focus on doing on thing at a time.  Those in the middle stages should be able to successfully do each step after a few demonstration, and although the size of the balls or the chocolate coating may not be consistent, it doesn’t matter. Unlike baked cookies that need to be similar in size to ensure everything is done cooking at the same time, these cookies are perfectly delicious at any size.  Even those in the late stages can enjoy sitting and smelling the cookies (believe me, the peanut butter smell will fill up your house even though you don’t bake them) and listening to you describe the steps.  Besides, someone has to be the official taste tester!

 

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