I bleed scarlet and grey. For the uninitiated, those are the colors of my alma mater – The Ohio State University. During uncertain, stressful parts of football games, I have done a few things that while I am proud of, are a little difficult to explain to others. During a game for the college football championship, the Buckeyes (Ohio State’s team name) were down but had a chance to pull it off. At one critical point in the drive, I said, out loud, that if the Buckeyes won the game I would give up one of my boys to the priesthood. The Buckeyes won that game, so I guess…..um…well….ok. Here’s Maggie…..
Yes. A buckeye is a poisonous nut. And, one of the yummiest peanut butter and chocolate confections known to human kind. Although some decent commercial Buckeyes are available on the market, nothing beats a homemade one.
And they are a pain in the neck to make. I love them. I hate to make them. But, it is football season. The Buckeyes begin weekly games the first week in September. It must be done.
The recipe is simple, but these puppies are time consuming and the work is tedious. But the end result is worth it. They taste great, and I promise whomever the lucky consumers of your candies are, will rave about them.
This recipe makes a lot. Instead of halving it, just freeze those you don’t plan to serve. They freeze really well, and it will save you making another batch. I only make these 2 or 3 times a year, and often by special request of my favorite Buckeye fans. I love it when I find a container of these stashed in the freeze that I had forgotten. Bonanza!
Make sure you have a good two hours to work on these. You’ll need it!
(Or Peanut Butter Balls for those that are not from Ohio)
What you need:
1 -1lb box of powdered sugar
1 stick butter- softened
1 -12 oz bag of chocolate chips
1- 18oz jar of creamy peanut butter ( I prefer JIF for these)
¾ oz paraffin, shaved or chopped into bits
What you do:
Combine butter and peanut butter in a mixing bowl until well blended. Don’t buy cheap peanut butter for this. You can get away with it for baking, but you need a good quality peanut butter for these as the peanut butter is not broken down in a baking process. Add powdered sugar and mix well. It will be crumbly. This is a good job for an old-fashioned hand potato masher. I have a utensil from Pampered Chef called a Mix-n-Chop that is great for this job, and many others. Buy one I f you don’t have one. I use it all the time.
Cover a cookie sheet with wax paper, and wash your hands. Now, sit down at the table and start rolling peanut butter balls. Turn on the TV, as this is gonna take a good 30 minutes. You can make your candies whatever size you prefer, but don’t go too large, as they are pretty rich. They should be about two small bites when eaten. I use about a tablespoon, or perhaps a little less. Give the peanut butter mixture several good squeezes in your hand to compress it. This will make it smooth in the middle. Once it is well compressed, roll it between your palms into a nice round ball. This may take some additional shaping with your fingers. Place each ball on the wax paper.
Once you’ve rolled all the peanut butter balls, place the whole pan in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. You want them really cold and pretty hard for the chocolate coating.
While the peanut butter balls are chilling, you can melt your chocolate. I recommend using a double boiler on the stove, as dipping 5 dozen balls take a lot of time. The chocolate has to stay hot and smooth. If you don’t have a double boiler (I just got one a couple of years ago) you can fashion your own with a small saucepan and a glass or ceramic bowl. If your saucepan does not have a spout for steam to escape, place a toothpick between the bowl and the pan. Don’t do this without a double boiler. If you melt chocolate directly over the stove it will quickly scorch.
Place water in the bottom of the double boiler, put the bowl or top in place, and turn on the heat. Once water is boiling, place the paraffin in first and melt completely. The paraffin is completely edible, and will make the chocolate smooth, glossy, and helps the hardening process. I use about half the amount the older recipes call for and it is fine. If you use too much it messes with the flavor and texture of the chocolate, so don’t overdo this. Waxy chocolate is just gross.
Once the paraffin is melted, add the chocolate chips. They should melt down quickly, Stir with a spatula until very smooth, scraping the sides of the pan often.
Once your chocolate is ready, you can begin dipping. I recommend taking a few balls out of the freeze at a time. If you take the whole pan out, the frozen peanut butter will soon begin to condensate, and if they are wet, the chocolate will slide off. (see photo of this… made these on a warm southern day!) So, pull a few out at a time, and you can keep a paper towel handy to dry them off before dipping if necessary. I told you this was a tedious job, right? Whew.
So, get a nice, long toothpick. I like the ones they have for deli sandwiches with the pretty cellophane decoration on one end. These are perfect for this job as they are a little longer so your fingers don’t get burned by the steam. Stick it into a ball about 1/3 to ½ of the way. Then dip right into the chocolate, leaving a pretty round circle of peanut butter uncovered. Unless you’re a Michigan fan, then you can just dip the whole thing. But most Michigan fans won’t eat a Buckeye under any circumstances. They don’t know from good!
Shake the excess chocolate off the ball by tapping the toothpick on the rim of the pan a few times. Then carefully place the ball on wax paper, and gently remove the toothpick. Repeat this process about 59 more times.
Once you’re finished, let the candies sit until the chocolate is fully hardened. At this point, I like to dampen my finger slightly and gently rub away the toothpick holes. This is important for that finished “Buckeye” look. Then pack them as you wish, placing wax paper between layers of Buckeyes.
Go Bucks! O-H! I-O!