My history with peanut butter is a sad and tragic one. I grew up infatuated with peanut butter and would put it on everything and anything imaginable, no doubt eating it in some form everyday. I even had a peanut butter and jelly sleeping bag when I was little. Then about three years ago I started to develop asthma symptoms and when I saw an allergist and had tests done, it turns out I was allergic to peanuts (among a variety of other things). So I have not eaten peanut butter since June of 2004. I don’t have an allergy so severe that I cannot touch it or smell it, since of course I was eating it right up until the day I was tested and I never came close to death. So I live vicariously through others, taking in huge whiffs of peanut butter when I open the jar to make peanut butter treats for everyone else.
This weekend I got started on my holiday baking and goodies-making and kicked it off with my cousin’s buckeye recipe. These, along with peanut butter blossoms, are the most requested Christmas treats from my sister. Of course it’s pure torture for me to smell them and not be able to eat them!
Yield: 7 to 8 dozen buckeyes
Prep Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour
A recipe for the uber-popular Buckeye candies - balls of sweetened peanut butter dipped in chocolate.
1½ cups peanut butter
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
4 cups powdered sugar
4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup vegetable shortening
1. Line cookie sheet with wax or parchment paper; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the peanut butter, softened butter, vanilla extract, and salt with a wooden spoon. Add the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, stirring it into the peanut butter mixture until it is completely incorporated.
3. Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls. Set them on the prepared cookie sheet and insert a toothpick into the top of each ball. Chill in freezer until hard, approximately 30 minutes.
4. In a heatproof medium bowl, combine the chocolate chips and shortening. Place the bowl over a small saucepan with 1 inch of water placed over low heat. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Keep the bowl over the saucepan of barely simmering water. Using the toothpick as a "handle", dip the peanut butter balls into the chocolate, leaving a small circle exposed on the top of each ball. Place the balls back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, approximately 2 hours.
5. Once the buckeyes are set, remove the toothpicks and if you'd like, you can use your finger to smudge the peanut butter dough together on the top of the buckeye to cover the hole where the toothpicks were. Store the buckeyes in an airtight container with wax paper between layers in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
(Photos and recipe formatting updated December 2013)