The popular parenting advice says that in order to prevent your kids from turning into picky eaters you need to involve them in the process of food preparation. I totally agree. It worked wonderfully when they were two, three, even five… I remember my son dragging a stool to the kitchen that he would climb on to see all the interesting stuff that was going on on the kitchen counter. Letting your children help in the kitchen will lead to injuries, though: my son fell off that stool a couple of times and cut his fingers before he figured out what side of the knife blade was the sharp one. But let’s assume it’s beneficial in the long-term. And apart from the injuries and the mess invariably created when cooking with kids, we had some good times in the kitchen.
Now my daughter is eleven and apparently approaching puberty fast. If I suggest she helps me cook a potato soup, she’ll roll her eyes. But when I suggest making monster eyeballs, I can still count on two eager helpers. Helpers with plenty of experience in the kitchen.
This recipe comes from the great baking book “Baked: Explorations” and it’s not really eyeballs the authors had in mind, but buckeyes, a traditional candy named after chestnuts. Although hard to believe, this recipe apparently uses half the amount of sugar compared to the more original ones.
60 g cream cheese, softened
1 jar smooth peanut butter
graham cracker crumbs from about 14 graham crackers (lacking graham crackers I used digestive biscuits)
300g confectioners (powdered) sugar
110g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
300g dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
Make the filling: In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together until combined. Add the graham cracker crumbs. Add the sugar and butter, and mix until the ingredients are combined. The mixture will be quite sturdy and a little dry.
Make the coating: Melt the chocolate over a double boiler, stirring until it is completely smooth. Let it cool somewhat.
Assemble the candies: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop out slightly more than one tablespoon’s worth of filling and use your hands to form it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared sheet and repeat the process until all the candies have been shaped. They can sit close to each other but make sure they are not touching. Put the sheet in the fridge for about half an hour. This will set the balls and help to set the chocolate coating quickly.
Using a fork or large skewer, dip each ball into the chocolate and roll it about so that almost the entire candy is coated, leaving a small circle uncoated. Dip the skewer in the chocolate and make a small dot in the centre of the ball.
Keep the candy in the refrigerator.