In the world of sweet treats there’s a special place in my heart for these peanut butter balls with rice krispies. This recipe has been made by our family for well over 60 years and there is a sweet taste of nostalgia in every bite. If you’ve been a long-time reader, you’ll know I have referred to these cookies as “Telephone Cookies” for years! THis year, I FINALLY figured out the official name and I’m excited to share my family’s twist on these cookies.
Why Did We Call These “Telephone Cookies”
This vintage peanut butter balls with rice krispies recipe brings back some of my earliest memories of cooking with my mom. My mom made these when she was growing up. I recall making these with her when I was 3 or 4 years old. She had me mixing these cookies by hand. I see her genius in hand mixing because it kept me occupied and out of trouble. These cookies have a unique origin story, which accounts for our family’s name of “Telephone Cookies”.
The Party Line Story
Years ago, my Grandma had to share a phone line with the neighbors due to the farm’s distance away from the nearest town. The shared line was referred to as a “Party Line”. Being the inquisitive person she was, my Grandma would occasionally eavesdrop on the neighbor’s calls. For shame.
One day, as she was listening in, she heard one of the neighboring ladies (who happened to be an excellent cook), sharing a recipe with someone else. My Grandma managed to jot down the ingredients and instructions but missed the recipe’s name. This is how these cookies were first introduced to our family. No one knew what they were called, so everyone called them “Telephone Cookies.”
The Name That Stuck
For over 60 years, our family has been calling these cookies “Telephone Cookies”. You might think we could have come up with a more descriptive name like “Peanut Butter Balls” (which is what they ARE actually called) or even something creative like “Snowballs”. But the name “Telephone Cookie” has stuck around. My sister and I agreed we should rename them, but it’s impossible. So, they will forever be Telephone Cookies in our home. If you see any reference to telephone cookies on Pinterest, Gooseberry Patch cookbook, etc. that is why.
Delicious Peanut Butter Balls with Rice Krispies Recipe
The classic peanut butter balls recipe is a simple yet delicious combination of peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, rice krispies, and chocolate or almond bark coating. For many years (when we were operating off of my Grandma’s recipe she got eavesdropping), we enjoyed them plain without any coating, or with a simple glaze and rolled into flaked coconut. Today, I have several finishing options
Peanut Butter Balls with Rice Krispies with a Twist
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 2 tbsp. butter softened
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups Rice Krispies
To Make Cookies
- Mix the creamy peanut butter and softened butter in a large mixing bowl with a mixer or in a stand mixer until well combined.
- Gradually add powdered sugar and crushed rice krispies to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Refrigerate the mixture for 1-2 hours to firm it up, making it easier to roll into balls.
- Use a cookie scoop or your hands to form 1-inch balls from the chilled mixture.
- Coat with your choice frosting / coating options.
- Place the coated balls on a baking sheet lined with wax paper or foil.
- Refrigerate the balls until the coating is hardened, then place the cookies in an airtight container and store them.
- Glazed Coconut: Create a glaze with 1 cup of powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of milk. Roll glazed balls in flaked coconut and refrigerate.
- Melted Chocolate or Almond Bark: Melt the chocolate or almond bark according to the package instructions. Dip chilled peanut butter balls and place on a lined cookie sheet. Let set before storing in an airtight container.
Tips for Making Perfect Peanut Butter Balls
To make sure that your peanut butter balls turn out delicious and visually appealing, consider the following tips:
- Use a stand mixer: While you can mix the ingredients by hand, using a stand mixer will result in a smoother and more consistent texture.
- Refrigerate the mixture before rolling and dipping: Chilling the peanut butter mixture for 1-2 hours before rolling it into balls will make the process easier and prevent the balls from falling apart during dipping.
- Adjust the consistency of the mixture: If the mixture is too sticky to roll into balls after you have refrigerated it, add a little more powdered sugar and crushed rice krispies until it reaches the desired consistency.
- Use a cookie scoop for uniform balls: Using a cookie scoop will ensure that your peanut butter balls are all the same size, giving your presentation a polished look.
Variations and Customizations
While the classic peanut butter balls recipe is a crowd favorite, you can put your own spin on these treats with different variations and customizations. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Crunchy Peanut Butter Balls. Swap out the creamy peanut butter for crunchy peanut butter to add an extra layer of texture to your peanut butter balls.
- Different Coatings. Use different types of chocolate or almond bark coatings, such as milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. Our favorite coating is a simple glaze (1 cup of powdered sugar & 2 tablespoons of milk) rolled in flaked coconut.
- Enjoy Plain. The peanut butter balls taste amazing plain without any coating at all.
- Toppings and Decorations. Sprinkle chopped peanuts, chocolate jimmies, or other festive toppings on top of the peanut butter balls before the chocolate coating sets.
- Add-Ins. Stir in additional ingredients such as shredded coconut, chopped dried fruit, or mini chocolate chips.
- Gluten-Free Option. Use gluten-free rice krispies or a gluten-free cereal alternative for individuals with gluten allergies or sensitivities.
Storing and Serving Peanut Butter Balls
Peanut butter balls can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. They are best enjoyed fresh or within 2-3 days for optimal taste and texture. You can make these treats ahead of time and freeze them for up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container. To thaw frozen peanut butter balls, simply leave them at room temperature or defrost them in the refrigerator.
NOTE: If you coat the cookies in glaze and flaked coconut, they are best stored in the refrigerator. Sometimes, I shape the peanut butter balls, freeze them, and then coat them at a later date.
Serve these delectable treats at holiday parties, potlucks, or as a sweet surprise for family and friends. They also make fantastic gifts for loved ones during the holiday season. Package them in decorative boxes or tins and add a personal touch with ribbons or gift tags.
Peanut butter balls with rice krispies are a perfect sweet combination of creamy peanut butter, and crispy rice krispies. Whether you follow the classic recipe or get creative with variations, these treats are a hit! Enjoy the sweet, salty, and crispy goodness of peanut butter balls with rice krispies—perfect for satisfying your peanut butter cravings!