For this week’s demo, I wanted to make something sweet. If you notice the ratio of desserts to entrees that I tend to sample, you’ll see that I do have a bit of a sweet tooth, although I try to keep a balance of recipes. I haven’t demoed a sweet treat since late August, so I felt it was time!
I trolled the web and found numerous recipes for Buckeyes that sounded promising – who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate? Well, actually one mother daughter duo professed to me yesterday that they didn’t, but everyone else I talked to sure did! If you are not familiar with Buckeye trees (as probably many in WA state are not), here are a few facts: Buckeyes are nuts from trees of the same name, which are very closely related to Horse Chestnuts. They grow all over the world but in North America, they grow mostly in the southern half of the continent (you’ll find them in CA, TX and of course in OH, which is called the Buckeye state). Buckeyes and Horse Chestnuts were historically used to aid circulation in both humans and horses (hence the name).
Homemade buckeye treats are very easy to make, and taste like a really, really good peanut butter cup. I used Santa Cruz organic dark roasted peanut butter in my batch, as well as organic dark chocolate chips for the coating. Some organic powdered sugar, butter and vanilla rounded out the ingredients. This is a recipe that does not shy away from sugar, and believe it or not, I used less sugar than the original recipe called for (by about 2 cups!).
A customer and I chatted about substitutions for the recipe, and you can of course use margarine in place of the butter if you want a vegan version, but she was going to try using coconut oil instead and I thought that might work out pretty well. She was also going to replace the powdered sugar with Rapadura sugar (both powdered and the crystals) but I wouldn’t recommend that unless you know what Rapadura tastes like – it does have a stronger flavor than regular white sugars, but I think in this recipe it could work.
This is a great recipe to make with kids, as there is no oven involved – as long as there is supervision melting the chocolate (although that can be done in the microwave in a pinch, but I think it tastes better done on the stove). You can also easily halve this recipe and still have a decent amount of treats. Enjoy!
- 16 oz jar of peanut butter
- 1 c butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
- 1/2 t vanilla extract
- 1# powdered sugar
- 4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
- In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, butter, vanilla and powdered sugar.
- Roll into 1” balls and place on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
- Press a toothpick into the top of each ball (to be used later as the handle for dipping them). Chill in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
- Melt chocolate chips in double boiler or in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until smooth.
- Dip frozen peanut butter balls in chocolate holding onto the toothpick. Leave a small portion of peanut butter showing at the top to make them look like Buckeye nuts.
- Place Buckeyes back on the cookie sheet and refrigerate until served. Remove toothpicks before serving.
adapted from www.allrecipes.com