Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls {dairy + gluten free} and Hallmark Ornaments

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SendHallmark #CollectiveBias

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

When Mason was born two weeks before Christmas almost seven years ago, the hospital gave us a gift basket that included a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament. I suppose maybe that's what they do for almost-Christmas babies. Since we did not get one this year for Dawson and our local Hallmark store closed awhile back, I was at a loss. I started looking online and realized that Walmart carries them!

I packed up my little guy and we trekked out to Walmart. I was excited to find a huge selection of Hallmark Ornaments in the Seasonal section at my local store. I actually arrived just minutes after two employees had finished stocking the shelves and so they were not picked over at all. I would recommend checking out your Walmart store's selection early so you can find the perfect Hallmark ornament for your Christmas tree, or even to give as a gift to someone you love!

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

I remember as a child, each year before Christmas, we would get a Hallmark catalog in the mail and would pore over the fun, festive ornaments. There were always so many new options each year and since decorating for the Holidays was one of my favorite things to do, I would imagine all of the possibilities if only my mom would let us buy one of each. Hallmark Ornaments are the perfect addition to any Christmas tree or holiday decor!

While that dream never did come true, I do remember a few specific, special ornaments that we would trim the tree with each year. The cutest ones were always the Hallmark ones. That stuck with me and I knew as an adult that I wanted to collect them for special events. Not only do I have a Baby's First Christmas ornament from Mason's birth year, but I also have one from our wedding year. These moments are so much fun to remember again when the holidays arrive!

When I found the Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart, they had several baby options. They were all adorable and I was not prepared to have to make a decision. One was a crescent moon with blue rhinestones and was very sweet. The past few years I have been trying to convert the majority of our ornaments to neutrals and metallic finishes. When I found this silver baby rattle ornament, I knew it was the one! I didn't even realize it until I got it home, but the back of the ornament says "Get ready to have your world rattled!" (Isn't that the truth?!)

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Now, I know we haven't even made it to Thanksgiving quite yet, but wandering around the holiday section at Walmart started to put me in the mood for Christmas. I could do without the cold weather, but there are so many parts of the season that I love and can't wait to experience as a family of five this year with our new little man!

I started thinking about sitting around watching Christmas movies with the kids with just the lights from the tree illuminating the room. The warm and cozy scents of the season, the holiday cheer that seems to spread everywhere you go, and the food. My goodness, the food! So many memories there!

I always try to replicate a favorite dish or dessert from my childhood, but dairy-free and gluten-free so that we can all enjoy it together. Seeing the little rattle shape of this Hallmark Ornament (which I actually just thought was a globe ornament at first) made me think of my mom's Peanut Butter Balls that she has made every year since my childhood. While they are a simple dessert that could definitely be enjoyed any time of year, there is just something about having them at the holidays that is so nostalgic for me. 

I decided I needed to make them, stat! They're so simple that I already had all of the ingredients on hand. The only variances from my mom's recipe is that I used gluten-free rice cereal, dairy-free butter, dairy-free chocolate chips, and added a bit of coconut oil. I also decided to take the inspiration from the beautiful ornament and dress them up a bit. You could really use any sort of topping you would like to. I used a mixture of toppings because I like variety. It's kind of fun to switch it up a bit with the cool minty candy canes, the salty pretzels, and the sweet sprinkles. For an extra fun touch, insert candy canes in the middle to replicate a hook on your ornament! 

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls {dairy + gluten free}

  • 3 cups gluten-free crispy rice cereal
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup dairy-free butter substitute, melted
  • 1 package dairy-free semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
Topping suggestions:
  • crushed peppermints or candy canes
  • decorative sprinkles
  • decorative sugar
  • crushed gluten-free pretzels
  • dairy-free white chocolate drizzle
  • caramel drizzle
  • melted peanut butter drizzle

Line a baking sheet with parchment or waxed paper. Set aside.

In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the peanut butter and dairy-free butter substitute. Microwave 30 seconds or until butter is melted and peanut butter is slightly softened.

In a large bowl, mix together the crispy rice cereal and powdered sugar. Pour the peanut butter/butter mixture over the top and fold together until the mixture is well combined.

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small bowl. Microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between, until melted and smooth.


Step 1. Using your hands, scoop out a handful of the mixture and press together until it begins to form a ball. You want them to be about one inch to an inch and a half in diameter so they can be eaten in a few bites.

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Step 2. Set the peanut butter balls on the parchment and continue until you've used all of the mixture
(I can usually get about 20-22 out of this recipe).
    • If you want to make them look like ornaments with hooks, gently press the straight end of a candy cane into each ball. You will likely have to press the mixture around the candy cane to keep it together. (I like to break the candy canes down so they are shorter or use mini candy canes.) Remove the candy canes and when coating them and be careful not to fill the hole completely with chocolate. A little bit is okay as it will help to hold the candy cane in place. Once coated, reinsert the candy cane.
Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Step 3. Using a large spoon or two forks, gently dunk each peanut butter ball in the melted chocolate and coat the outside completely. Gently shake them as you remove them from the chocolate to remove some of the excess.

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Step 4. Place each coated peanut butter ball on the parchment paper. Add toppings before the chocolate sets. Once all are coated in chocolate and toppings are added, place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes to set before serving.

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Dressed up holiday dessert classic inspired by Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart.

Hallmark Ornaments at Walmart | Making it Milk-free | www.makingitmilkfree.com

Which Hallmark Ornament will you choose this season?

Dressed up classic holiday dessert inspired by Hallmark Ornaments from Walmart.


Why Gluten-free?

This is a question I have been asked frequently. While the answer should be simple, I find that it often is not. As most people know, "gluten-free" seems to be viewed as a fad diet, a trend, more than anything these days. Individuals diagnosed with Celiac disease must eat a diet free of gluten out of medical necessity. Many people who have not been diagnosed avoid gluten because of other auto-immune diseases, or because they just plain feel awful when they don't avoid it.

Supposed studies finding that "gluten sensitivity doesn't exist" are touted in the media and suddenly you're lumped into the "fad diet" group regardless of your situation. This is what makes it extremely difficult to explain to people when I'm asked why I made this choice.


Maple Pecan Granola {gluten free + vegan}

It's no secret that one of the best parts of Thanksgiving are the leftovers. There are so many unique and delicious recipe ideas out there using everything from the turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and cranberry sauce. If you are lucky enough to snag some of the leftovers, you can create delicious meals for the next few days.

Crunchy, salty and slightly sweet granola with a hint of cinnamon and maple. Perfect for layering with your favorite dairy-free yogurt for a breakfast parfait.


Food Allergy Friendships (and Making it Milk-free is Three!)

I realized a few days late that Making it Milk-free turned three years old! November 11 is a special day for many reasons. It is Veteran's Day, our wedding anniversary, and the day I decided to start a blog. In all honesty, I didn't know what I was doing three years ago when I decided to start blogging. (If you followed back then, I'm sure you could guess that!) As I reflect on that time, I have discovered so much more than I ever thought I would.

Photo Credit: Food Allergy Jams


Apple Cider Recipe Round-up

It's no doubt that I LOVE apple cider. I love to drink it alone, but even more I love to create delicious recipes with it! Here, in honor of National Apple Cider Day, is a round-up of recipes I've created using this sweet, spicy nectar. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Recipe Round-up {gluten + dairy free}

Apple Cider Recipes from Making it Milk-free | makingitmilkfree.com

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