Monday, December 5, 2011
Two Weeks of Christmas Treats, Day 4: Buckeyes
I’ve seen these treats simply called “peanut butter balls,” and I know the fact that I refer to them as buckeyes is purely because I live where I do. The buckeye is Ohio’s state tree (and also the name of our college football team, of course!), and these treats were given their name because of their resemblance to the buckeye nut. Although the ones from the trees aren’t edible, thankfully these are – and they’re delicious.
Buckeyes, hands down, are my favorite Christmas treat. They remind me of my childhood, when we’d go to my grandma’s for Christmas every year and my aunt would make a huge plate of buckeyes for the dessert table. It was something I looked forward to every single Christmas. Even today, when I make my own buckeyes (using my aunt’s recipe!), they still don’t taste as good as hers.
Not all buckeyes are created equal. Homemade ones are vastly superior to the packaged ones you can get at the store. The type of peanut butter is important for these, too; don’t use natural peanut butter, and don’t use a generic brand. Normally I’m all about generics, but the flavor of the peanut butter is really important in these treats. I prefer using Jif, but I've also used Skippy for these with good results.
This will be the first year Andrew will help me make our buckeyes. Rolling all those peanut butter balls can get a bit time-consuming, but I’m betting the time will fly when I have him in the kitchen helping me.
A note about the recipe: You’ll probably only need around 4 cups of chocolate chips to dip the peanut butter balls in, but I strongly suggest you melt even more chocolate than you need. When you get to the last few, it’ll be hard to get enough chocolate to cover the peanut butter. You can save the leftover chocolate for another recipe if you don’t want to waste it.
from my aunt
1 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups confectioners’ sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1. In a large bowl, blend peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until smooth and well-combined. Add powdered sugar and mix well.
2. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Combine chocolate chips and vegetable oil. Melt in the microwave in 20-second increments until smooth, stirring after each interval.
4. Using a tooth pick, dip each peanut butter ball in melted chocolate, leaving a portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like buckeyes.
5. Refrigerate until serving. Makes 4 to 5 dozen buckeyes, depending on size.