This is one recipe that I’ve been meaning to add to my recipe index for ages. Back in October I asked my Facebook friends what kind of traditional holiday sweets they cook up in December. My Ohioan friend Tina said “It’s not Christmas in Ohio without buckeyes.” That made me reflect upon the last time I had them, which was almost too long ago to recall! I added them to my advent list that very moment.
There are a few variations to buckeyes, but not many. I think that’s one of the nice things about them. You know what you’re getting, which is pretty much peanut butter and chocolate OVERLOAD! These little candies are potent.
I used a cookie scoop to portion my peanut butter mixture and the work went pretty fast! You may consider doing the same thing, or enlist extra pair of hands to help!
I collect fancy cocktail picks, so I decided to use some for these candies. The usual method of coating the candies in chocolate is to insert a toothpick into the peanut butter balls and hold them by the toothpick as you dip. Afterward the toothpicks are discarded but since my toothpicks were cute, I left them in. It makes them easy for guests to pick up from a serving tray, too.
It seems most of the older recipes for Buckeyes call for paraffin, which I did not use. Paraffin is used to keep the chocolate coating shiny. I used a combination of white almond bark and semisweet chocolate instead. This makes a tasty chocolate coating that looks shiny and keeps the chocolate from blooming. Fat bloom happens if the chocolate gets overheated. The cocoa butter melts and then re-solidifies, leaving a whitish coating. Bloom does not harm the flavor of chocolate and is totally consumable! It just looks odd.
You can use semisweet chocolate with no other additives if you prefer. If you do so I recommend heating it over a double boiler so it doesn’t overheat. I have also used Ghiradelli dark chocolate melting wafers, and they usually yield a nice result with no bloom.
I portioned my buckeyes 2 tablespoons each piece, but most people make them a little smaller. This recipe makes 40 as written, or you could portion them in 1 tablespoon balls with a yield of 80.
Yields 40 pieces using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop to portion
1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
1 jar (18 oz.) creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb. confectioners’ sugar
1 lb. white almond bark
1/2 lb. semisweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped
Toothpicks or cocktail picks
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, peanut butter, vanilla and salt. Mix them well on medium speed until creamy. Scrape down the bowl and mix again.
Add the powdered sugar and mix on low speed until crumbly. The mixture should hold together when squeezed in the palm of your hand. If the mixture is too crumbly, add more peanut butter 1 tablespoon at a time. If too lax and sticky, add more powdered sugar.
Cover two or more cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop the mixture using a 2 tablespoon cookie scoop (or for a high yield, use a 1 tablespoon scoop). Place them on the parchment paper and roll them into balls between your palms. Press tooth picks into the centers of each peanut butter ball. Transfer them to the freezer and chill on the cookie sheets for about 10 minutes.
While you wait for them to freeze, prepare the chocolate coating. Chop the white almond bark into fine pieces and heat over a double boiler (or in the microwave) stirring until completely melted. Add the semisweet chocolate and stir until melted and incorporated into the almond bark.
Remove the candy from the freezer and dip each ball into the chocolate about 2/3 of the way so that they have the appearance of buckeyes. Return the dipped candies to the parchment paper and allow to stand until set, about 10 minutes.