If you love peanut butter balls, then these Christmas Light Peanut Butter Balls are the perfect holiday treat for you.
These are very similar to buckeyes, except you’ll be forming the peanut butter dough into the shape of those old vintage Christmas lights and then dipping them into melted candy melts.
The peanut butter ball mixture itself is no-bake, so that makes it really quick and easy to mix up.
You’ll also be using the little mini sized Reese’s cups for the bottom part of the Christmas lights (you know, that little part that attaches to the wire for the lights).
Now, in full transparency, I’m going to give you a heads up. These take a lot of time, so don’t start this process the day before you need them. Give yourself some breathing room.
Here’s My Suggestion:
Because these take awhile to make and are quite involved, I would suggest not making lights out of the entire amount of peanut butter ball mixture.
Make enough to put on a pretty cake board to get the cute presentation, but then roll the rest of the mixture into just regular peanut butter balls and dip them in the melted candy melts.
This way, you’re not having to shape every single one in the shape of a Christmas light and then dipping them and attaching a Reese’s cup to each. It’ll cut down on the time you spend considerably.
Of course, you can just do like I did and use all the mixture to make Christmas lights and just pop the extra into a bowl. Either way is fine.
Here’s my second note: These are not going to be perfect. If you’ve ever worked with candy melts, you know it’s hard to get them to firm up super smooth. My advice is just to go with it.
When you get them set up on the decorated cake board with the piped wires etc, it really looks super cute. And these things taste amazing. I seriously hurt myself on these.
Ok let’s get to the recipe and the tutorial: (Also don’t miss the video toward the end of this post as it’ll show the whole process.)
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SUPPLIES FOR THE CHRISTMAS LIGHT PEANUT BUTTER BALLS:
Ingredients for the Peanut Butter Ball Mixture: (Close to the end of this tutorial, I’ve got this recipe in printable recipe card format for you.)
2 cups creamy peanut butter
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Notes: This recipe makes A LOT! It makes about 52 peanut butter ball Christmas lights, so if you make them into just peanut butter balls, it’ll make even more. FEEL FREE TO USE HALF THIS RECIPE IF YOU DON’T NEED THAT MANY.
Additional Ingredients You’ll Need:
Mini Reese’s cups (You want the really tiny ones that come in a bag. NOT the ones that are a little bigger and individually wrapped…those are too big.)
Candy melts in various colors (I used red, orange, yellow, green and royal blue)
EZ thin or shortening to thin the candy melts
A large foam board or rectangle piece of cardboard
Scrapbook paper, fanci foil or contact paper to cover your board (I just used some woodgrain paper I had at the house.)
Tape or glue (To attach the paper to your board.)
Piping bag (You’ll use this to pipe the ‘wires’ onto the board)
HOW TO MAKE THE CHRISTMAS LIGHT PEANUT BUTTER BALLS:
First you’ll want to add all your ingredients for the peanut butter balls and mix well.
You’ll have to get in there and mix with your clean hands at some point.
Once it’s well mixed, you’ll need to cover and chill it in the fridge for about an hour or so. It just needs to firm up.
Once your peanut butter ball mixture is chilled, you’ll want to roll about a tablespoon of the mixture into your hand to form a ball. You can then just flatten it a bit in the palm of your hand and shape it into a Christmas light shape. (You can see that in the video at the bottom of this post.)
Make as many Christmas lights as you want. (Remember, you really only need to make about 15-20 lights. That’s all that will fit onto your pretty cake board, so the rest you can just roll into regular peanut butter balls and set in a bowl, or if you’re feeling industrious, you can go ahead and make all the mixture into Christmas lights.)
Set the shapes on some wax paper that’s on a large cake board or a cookie sheet…something you can move around.
Chill them in the freezer while you melt the candy melts. (Yes I chilled in the freezer this time. I tried the fridge, but they need to be firmer when dipping them…you’ll get better results that way.)
Now you’ll want to melt your candy melts. I just did one color at a time and just melted in the microwave at 20 second intervals until it was all melted.
Add about 1-2 tbsps of shortening to thin the melts or add EZ Thin. EZ Thin is basically just palm oil and it helps to thin out your candy a bit. (There’s a link for the EZ Thin in the supply list above.)
Now take a plastic fork and break off one or two of the spokes. Are they spokes or prongs? I don’t know, but I’m sure you get the point. This seems to help me with dipping, since it allows the candy melts to drip off better and flow through the fork.
Now just grab a peanut butter Christmas light, set it into your bowl of melted candy melts and use your plastic fork to make sure it gets covered well.
Lift it out, using your fork, and tap on the edge of the bowl to let the excess candy drip off for a bit.
Now, since these aren’t round and they’re a little more flat, they don’t come off of the fork, super easily. You’ll need to use a toothpick to push them off and set them onto the wax paper. It seems to work better if you sort of twist your toothpick as you’re pushing it off the fork.
You may have to do this a couple times to get the hang of it. Don’t worry about it looking ragged at this point, we’ll clean them up a bit later on.
TIP: I kept all my peanut butter light shapes in the freezer while I dipped. They need to be good and firm. So, when I dipped one and set it on wax paper, I’d go get another out of the freezer and dip that one. If you leave them out while dipping them all, they seem to soften up too much and they’re harder to get off of your fork after you dip them.
Once you’ve got the first coat of candy melts on them, you’ll want to chill them just enough for them to get firm. You can just chill them in the fridge this time.
Once they’re chilled, clean off the bottom of the lights, by that I mean just break off any weird or jagged bits of candy melts around the bottom.
Now take your peanut butter ball light and dip just the bottom in the same color candy melts. This will just make the bottom look a little smoother.
Push them off with a toothpick and onto your board.
Once they’re all dipped, you can just pop them in the fridge to stay chilled. You don’t have to put them back in the freezer this time.
You’ll want to do this process for each color lights you want. (You don’t have to do multicolored lights like I did. You could always just do red and green.)
I did lights in the blue, above, and the red,
and the green.
Now you want to work on the ‘connector’ part of your Christmas lights. You’ll use those mini Reese’s cups for that.
Just grab some from the bag...it’s good if they’ve been chilled in the fridge first.
After they’ve been chilled, just dip them into the green candy melts, set on wax paper and then back in the fridge to chill.
You’ll need to push these off with a toothpick like you did for the lights. (Oh and I just broke off one spoke (prong) of the plastic fork to dip these.)
Now pop these in the fridge and let them get good and chilled.
Once chilled, you’ll need to cut them in half. Some will break, so use the sharpest knife you’ve got…I used an exacto knife. As far as the halves that break up? Just eat them…you don’t want them to go to waste do you? 😉
Be more careful than I was. Look how close my fingers are to that blade? Good Lord, I didn’t even notice it until I watched the video and it’s a wonder I didn’t chop my fingers.
Now you’ll just want to add a bit of melted green candy melts to larger end of the Reese’s mini cup.
Now just attach it to the larger end of your peanut butter ball Christmas light. Make sure the inside of the mini Reese’s is facing down. Just hold it there for a second while it firms up.
Do this to all the Christmas lights you made and set in the fridge to chill and firm up.
Now take your large rectangle board and cover it with some Christmas paper or maybe some wood-look scrapbook or wrapping paper. You’ll want to cover that with some clear contact paper as well to form a food safe barrier.
Add some melted green candy melts to a piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe a row of ‘wires’ close to the top of your decorated board.
Do some little twists here and there when you pipe them.
Add a bit of melted candy melts to to the bottom of each Christmas light and then attach to the board.
Keep adding more Christmas lights until you get the look you want. Make sure to add the lights facing up and facing down.
Now add a second row to your board.
Add a bit of melted candy melts to the back of the lights like you did before and add them to your board until you get the look you want.
Now just add your extra lights or peanut butter balls that you made out of the remaining mixture and put them in a bowl to set beside your Christmas light display. (Remember you don’t have to make lights out of ALL your peanut butter mixture…that takes quit a bit of time, so you could always do regular peanut butter balls dipped in the different colors.)
If you can, keep these in the fridge. If it’s too big to fit in your fridge, they’re really okay to sit out for awhile. I had mine out for a couple of hours. The candy melts form a hard shell around the peanut butter mixture, which holds it in place.
Here’s the printable recipe card for the peanut butter balls you can print out:
Peanut Butter Ball Recipe
- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- 4 cups confectioners sugar
- 1/2 cup softened butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate or white chocolate (melted)
- Mix the peanut butter, confectioners sugar, butter and vanilla extract until well combined.
- Chill for at least an hour.
For peanut butter balls:
- Use about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into ball. Continue until all the mixture is used. Chill in the freezer, then dunk into melted semi-sweet or white chocolate. Chill in the fridge until firm.
For peanut butter Christmas lights:
- Use about a tablespoon of the mixture and roll into a Christmas light shape. Chill in the freezer until firm. Dunk into different colored melted candy melts and let firm up. Dunk a mini Reese's cup into melted green candy melts and chill to let it firm up. Cut in half. Attach half a mini Reese's cup to the bottom of the Christmas light. Add the lights to a pretty board with piped lines to replicate the 'wires'. See the blog post for the full tutorial here: https://iscreamforbuttercream.com/christmas-light-peanut-butter-balls/
Phew! These are a lot of work, but I think they turned out really cute. Just know going in that it’s gonna take you some time, but man these things are delicious!