Chocolate-Peanut Butter Meltaways
Contributed by Susan

12 ounces peanut butter, preferably chunky
5 tablespoons unsalted butter (or more as needed), softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups crispy rice cereal
11 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

Line a large baking sheet with foil; set aside.

In a medium bowl, use a wooden spoon to thoroughly cream together the
peanut butter and butter. Gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar. Stir
in the cereal, which will crumble. If the mixture is too crumbly, mix in
additional softened butter 1 teaspoon at a time until the mixture holds

Roll about 1 tablespoon of the mixture at a time into balls, placing them
on the prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate while melting the chocolate.

In the top of a double boiler over hot -- not simmering -- water, melt the
chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until the mix is smooth and
an instant-read thermometer inserted in the chocolate registers 115 to 120
degrees. Remove from the heat. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a small
bowl and let it cool slightly.

Place a dab of the chocolate in the palm of one hand. Pick up a ball and
roll it between your palms to coat it with the chocolate. Or dip the balls
in the chocolate and lift out using a fork to allow the excess to drip off.
Repeat with all of the balls. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set and
the balls release easily from the foil, about 30 minutes. Package in a
decorative tin.

Makes about 4 dozen; analysis per 1 meltaway.

Cook's note: These can be prepared up to 2 weeks ahead. Store in airtight
containers in the refrigerator.

>From "Christmas 101" by Rick Rodgers (Broadway Books, $15)

Tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen

110 calories (60% from fat), 7 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 11 grams
carbohydrate, 2 grams protein, 45 mg sodium, 3 mg cholesterol, 5 mg
calcium, 0 grams fiber.
September 98 Recipes