Attention all chocolate and peanut butter fanatics! You need this buckeye candy recipe in your life.
Do you know about buckeyes? It’s an Ohio thing, since the buckeye is our official state tree. These candies are made to look just like buckeye nuts. A thick layer of chocolate (I used dark) hugs a ball of peanut butter fudge, leaving an enticing peanut butter circle exposed. It tastes like a homemade Reese’s cup. (Oh, do I have chocolate on my face? I have no idea how it got there.)
I grew up thinking everyone knew about buckeyes (the candy, not the team), and was shocked when I discovered my hubby’s family in Connecticut had never heard of them. But our nieces became obsessed with them after trying the candy on one of their visits here.
Now, my kids aren’t allowed to show their faces in Connecticut unless they’re bearing a box (or two) of buckeyes for their cousins. All the chocolate stores here in Ohio sell them. But, no worries if you’re buckeye-less. You can make them at home. (There’s chocolate on my teeth now? I’m just sitting here typing. And who left a dirty dish in my office?)
Here are some notes that might be helpful:
- I used dark, bittersweet chocolate chips, because I’m not a fan of milk chocolate. (Anyone else?) So, I had to add enough sugar to the peanut butter dough to achieve the right sweetness. If you use semi-sweet chips, you might want to reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup, and if you use milk chocolate, you might want to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
- I used natural peanut butter, without any added sugar. If you go that route, stir your peanut butter if you just bought it and refrigerate the jar until it’s chilled before using the peanut butter in this recipe.
- To make it easier to roll the peanut butter balls, dust your hands with confectioners sugar before rolling each one.
- Place a toothpick in each peanut butter ball to aid with dipping. Make sure you push the toothpick in far enough (but not all the way to the bottom) so that it will stay in place later.
- Freeze the peanut butter balls for an hour to keep them from being too soft to work with. Then, remove five at a time to dip in chocolate and refrigerate.
- Dip the peanut butter balls twice for a thicker layer of chocolately goodness.
- I added a bit of coconut oil to the chocolate to give a sheen to the buckeyes. Old-school recipes call for paraffin wax, which provides sheen and helps prevent the chocolate from melting in your hands. Since there’s no wax in this recipe, the chocolate will soften after being at room temperature for a while. (The buckeyes in the last photo were out for an hour.) If you’re going to munch on these at home, you can just refrigerate the buckeyes. If you’re planning to use them for a party, freeze them, and when it’s time to serve, set your platter of buckeyes on a tray of ice. The buckeyes actually taste great right out of the freezer!
(Recipe Source: Cooking with Mamma C)
Buckeye Candy Recipe
Peanut Butter Balls
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter (see notes if using natural)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter (softened)
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
Chocolate for Dipping
- 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (see notes if using semi-sweet or milk chocolate)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or vegetable shortening)
- Line a baking sheet with wax paper and set it aside. Sprinkle some confectioners sugar on a plate so you can dust your hands before you roll each ball of peanut butter later.
- For the peanut butter balls, add your peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt to a medium mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat with a mixer until creamy. Gradually add your 1 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar, beating after each addition until blended. Your dough should be crumbly.
- Using a small scoop if you have one, scoop about a teaspoon of dough. Dip your palms onto the plate of confectioners sugar and then roll the dough into a ball. Set the ball on your wax-paper lined baking pan. Continue scooping and rolling, dusting your hands with confectioners sugar each time so the dough won't be sticky. Insert a toothpick into each ball (until you reach the center of the ball) and then freeze the peanut butter balls on your baking sheet for an hour.
- To prepare for dipping, have 5 or 6 paper dinner plates ready with a roll of wax paper. Just before you take the peanut butter balls out of the freezer, melt your chocolate chips and coconut oil in the microwave (use a microwave-save bowl). I heated mine on high for a minute, stirred, then heated it for 15 seconds, stirred, then heated it for another 15 seconds. Stir until the chocolate mixture is melted and smooth.
- Take five peanut butter balls out of the freezer at a time and set them on a wax-paper lined plate. Using the toothpick as a handle, dip each peanut butter ball in the chocolate, leaving a circle of peanut butter exposed at the top. Dip once, lift it out, then dip again. Lift out the buckeye and let the chocolate drip off the bottom into your bowl. Set the buckeye on your wax-paper lined plate to dry. When you have dipped five buckeyes, pull out the toothpicks (if needed, you can gently press the buckeye with a toothpick held horizontally in one hand while you pull out the other toothpick with your other hand.) Using your fingertip, smooth over the toothpick hole until it's closed. Refrigerate your plate of buckeyes and grab another plate and five more peanut butter balls from the freezer. Continue dipping.
- As soon as your chocolate starts to seize up (solidify) heat it in the microwave a bit until it's melted again, giving it a stir. Continue dipping the rest of your buckeyes in small batches, refrigerating them after dipping.
- The buckeyes are ready when the chocolate is set. Store them in the refrigerator or freezer. If you need them for a party, freeze them, and when you are ready to serve them, set your platter of buckeyes on a tray of ice to keep the the chocolate from melting.
If you use semi-sweet chips, you might want to reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup, and if you use milk chocolate, you might want to reduce the sugar by 1/2 cup.
You will have leftover melted chocolate (you need a good amount to be able to dunk the peanut butter balls.) You can refrigerate the leftover chocolate and heat it in the microwave to use for dipping fruit.