Buckeyes are a favorite dessert as they combine the childhood sweet treat of peanut butter with the always delicious taste of chocolate. The contrast of the chocolate covering with the brown peanut butter tone makes it resemble the seed or nut of the Buckeye tree, from where it gets its name.
The Buckeye tree also happens to be the state tree of Ohio, where this dessert is very popular. Recipes for buckeyes now abound as people will all have their take on this favorite sweet treat. Nevertheless, the basic ingredients remain the same; peanut butter for the filling and good ole chocolate for the covering. To keep the chocolate nice and shiny, recipes for buckeyes usually add shortening to the melted chocolate. The oil the shortening gives the sheen to the covering even when the chocolate has set.
- 2 cups peanut butter
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- Pinch of salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pound icing sugar
- 1 12oz pack of semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp Crisco or shortening
Mix the peanut butter, salt, and butter in a bowl. Place in the microwave for half a minute to soften the mixture. Mix in the vanilla and gradually mix in the icing sugar until it has the consistency of dough. Roll the peanut butter into balls about and inch wide. Place on a cookie sheet or non stick sheet and chill for about half an hour.
When chilled, stick a toothpick into the center of the balls to make dipping in chocolate easier.
Place the shortening and chocolate in a bowl. Place the bowl over pot of warm water and melt thoroughly. Take the peanut butter ball and dip in the chocolate about ¾ through and leave part of the ball uncovered. Place the ball back on the cookie sheet. Do this for the rest of the balls. Place the sheet back in the fridge and allow chocolate to set.
Remove the toothpick and smooth over the surface to remove the hole. Serve.
Recipes for Buckeyes usually call for smooth peanut butter but you can use your own variant if you wish. Make sure that you mix the peanut butter properly if the oil has separated in the jar.
Some people opt for more healthy alternatives such as peanut butter with less trans-fats and oils.
You can use this and other recipes for buckeyes as well to make different variations such as peanut butter cups or bars. Adding crushed graham cracker to the peanut butter balls can also give more solid texture to the dessert.