“I think a little mouse has been in my cupboard!”, Mother would say mischievously. Of course I knew exactly who the ‘mouse’ or ‘mice’ were that had been sampling the baking supplies in the kitchen cupboard near the old sink. I was the ‘main’ mouse, and loved to sneak a little taste of the walnuts, coconut and cherries that Mother stored for her Christmas baking. My brother Roger was the other mouse in the house. He would sneak handfuls of chocolate chips from her baking cupboard after school, and scurry away into the living room.
Luckily, that day so long ago, there were still enough ingredients so Mother could add yet another type of cookie onto her list. Stacks of cookies and squares had been accumulating in the old chest freezer over the past couple of weeks. She was knee-deep into her Christmas baking, and as the weeks flew by, there was an ever-growing supply of shortbread, sugar cookies, chocolate chews, date squares, fudge, and toffee piling up in preparation for the big day.
One of my favourite types of cookies Mother made, and tucked away in the freezer for Christmas, were the peanut butter balls. Once thawed, they were as sweet and tasty as the day they were made. They don’t require a lot of fancy ingredients, and they look festive and elegant on any Christmas dessert plate. Make them now, and stash them in your freezer! Hopefully, the ‘mice’ in your house will leave a few for Christmas!
Peanut Butter Balls
1 c of peanut butter
1 c of rice crispies
½ c chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla
½ tsp of melted butter
1 c icing sugar
Mix together the peanut butter, nuts, rice crispies, butter and vanilla, and roll into balls.
Drop the balls into a mixture of thin icing
Roll in coconut
Place on a sheet of waxed paper, and let them set
For variety, Peanut Butter Balls may be dipped in melted chocolate, mixed with sprinkles, M & Ms, or decorated with bits of pretzels and candies for a festive holiday look!
Enjoy this traditional Christmas treat now, or freeze for the holidays!
Who was the lady behind all of those melt-in-your-mouth Christmas cookies?
Audry Stafford (1919-2007) competed in local fairs in Lanark County for decades, and won so many prizes in the baking divisions that eventually she was asked to become a Judge. In the years that followed she judged baking at fairs large and small, across the county, and beyond.
For the first time – 93 of Audry’s prize-winning recipes are assembled in the book “Recipes and Recollections”.
For this, and other traditional home-style recipes – “Recipes and Recollections: Treats and Tales from our Mother’s Kitchen.” available online, and at The Book Nook, The Bookworm, and Blackwood Originals in Perth, Divine Consign in Almonte, and Perfect Books in Ottawa.