Welcome to "A Snack and a Stain" the culinary edition of the Lustre Boutique newsletter, where Alex walks you through one of her favourite recipes and how to remove any ensuing stains from your beloved garments.
Since time has lost all meaning, here's a friendly reminder that tomorrow is Halloween and Movember is just around the corner. Brace yourselves. In typical 2020 fashion, we're going to be doing things a little differently this year. Masks aren't just for costumes (or covering up a botched handlebar mustachio) anymore! You might be tempted to cancel Halloween, but that's so 2019. We've made it through 10 whole months of 2020! We're stronger, more resilient, and desperately in need of a novel excuse to indulge in a tasty treat.
Enter the Peanut Laddo Buckeye Ball. I was first introduced to this delicious snack by my partner Hervé, who, like myself, isn't a big fan of baking but knows my deep-seated love for a chocolate peanut butter combo. The original recipe by Hetal Vasavada combines an Indian treat, the peanut Laddoo with the buckeye, a candy from Ohio (AKA the buckeye state). Priya Krishna adapted the recipe for the New York Times.
This dessert is in regular circulation in our household because it's low maintenance and extremely flexible. There is no baking involved, and you can keep the leftovers in the fridge for a sweet finish to any meal for up to two weeks… if you have the willpower. I will provide precise measurements and ingredients, but know that this recipe is very riffable. Choose your favourite nut or seed, your favourite kind of chocolate, any spices you like and your fat of choice.
For approximately 12 balls, you will need:
1 cup of unsalted nuts or seeds
I use peanuts, but anything that can be made into butter will work, but you might need to adjust the quantity of fat accordingly.
2/3 cup of brown sugar
The original recipe calls for jaggery. White sugar would work if that's all you have on hand
2 tbsp or more of ghee, coconut oil or unsalted butter
I suggest trying to find a happy medium temperature-wise. You want the fat to combine with the nuts but not to be so liquid that your balls don't hold their shape.
1/4 tsp of your spice of choice
I'm using cardamom like in the original recipe, but cinnamon or chilli would be great as well. You could also leave out the spice altogether.
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 cup or 130 grams of chocolate
Pick your favourite! I'm also adding a bit of white chocolate to decorate with.
1 tsp coconut oil
I wouldn't substitute for another oil because you want your chocolate to harden.
Step 1: Toast your nuts/seeds.
You can do this in a dry skillet over meadow heat or in a 350-degree oven but be sure to keep an eye on them and give 'em a good toss from time to time. You want them to get golden, not to burn.
Step 2: Smash 'em!
Throw your perfectly roasted nuts or seeds into a food processor or blender and grind them up to your desired consistency. They need to be ground up enough to form them into balls, but the crunchiness level is really up to you. The pulse button is your friend here. Regularly scrape down the sides so that you get an even constancy,
Don't have a blender or a food processor? No problem! It's been a terrible year. Let's blow off some steam! Let your nuts/seeds cool off a but and place them in a plastic bag. Find a blunt object (rolling pin, meat mallet, a wine bottle) and smash your nuts/seeds into oblivion, AKA your desired level of crunchiness.
Add 3/4 cup of brown sugar, 2 tbsp of ghee, coconut oil or butter and 1/4 tsp each spice and kosher salt. Stir to thoroughly combine.
Step 3: Roll
Roll your nut mixture into a ball. I usually aim for something smaller than a golfball but larger than a grape. If they aren't holding their shape, add a bit of fat to your mixture. Don't worry too much about trying to form a super round ball.
Step 4: Freeze
Place the balls on a cookie sheet or a plate and freeze them for 1 hour. PRO TIP: Pull them out halfway through and roll them again. You'll have a much easier time getting that perfect round shape once the oil/ghee has hardened a bit.
Step 5: Melt the chocolate.
You have two options here: Microwave or stovetop.
- Combine your chocolate with 1 tsp of coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring in between until the chocolate has melted.
- Combine your chocolate with 1 tsp of coconut oil in a heatproof bowl.
- Fill a small saucepan with water, ensuring that your bowl won't touch the water when it's placed on top.
- Bring the water to a boil, then down to a simmer.
- Place your bowl on top of the saucepan.
- Periodically scrape down the bowl with a heatproof rubber spatula until the chocolate is completely melted.
Step 6: Dip
Remove the nut butter balls from the freezer. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper for your plate/cookie sheet. With the help of a toothpick or some other small pointy contraption, dip each ball into the chocolate. Place on the parchment paper. Return to the freezer for 20 minutes.
Step 7: Decorate, or not.
Once the chocolate has set, you're good to go! If you want to take this a step further, melt some white chocolate using the same technique in step 5. Place the white chocolate into a piping bag, or a plastic bag with the corner snipped off and have at it!
I tried to make spooky eyeballs and this is how they turned out … you see what you choose to see!
I AM NOW COVERED IN CHOCOLATE. PLEASE HELP.
- Act fast! We've got a double whammy grease (cocoa butter) / tannins (cocoa powder) stain on our hands. Dark chocolate has more tannins, so it's a tougher stain.
- First, a bit of defence. Remove excess without damaging the textile. No rubbing! We don't want it to spread.
- Rinse through the back with cold water to lift as much chocolate off as possible. The temperature is critical. As with all stains, heat is not your friend as it can cause stains to set.
- Now we tackle the grease. Rub a dab of straight laundry detergent or grease-cutting dish soap (like Dawn) into the stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Rinse with cold water.
- Now we tackle the tannins. Soak the stain with a 2:1 solution of vinegar and water. Alternatively, you could spot treat with toothpaste and a sprinkle of baking soda.
- Wash with cold water. If the stain persists, all is not lost! So long as no heat is applied to the stain, you can repeat these steps. While we advise against putting your favourite garments in the dryer under any circumstance, it is particularly important when you're trying to get a pesky stain out. If a stain goes in the dryer, it's game over!