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1. Butter the side of a medium heavy saucepan. In the saucepan, combine sugar, evaporated milk, and butter. Cook and stir over medium-high heat until mixture is boiling. Reduce heat to medium; continue boiling at a moderate, steady rate for 12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Remove saucepan from heat. Stir in marshmallows, peanut butter, and vanilla. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Chill for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until mixture is thick and can be molded.
3. Line a large baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; place on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze for 15 minutes.
4. In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate and shortening. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Dip balls, one at a time, into melted chocolate. Let excess chocolate drip off balls. Place on a wire rack set over waxed paper. If desired, sprinkle with peanuts. Let stand until chocolate is set.* Makes about 50 truffles.