Buckeyes are a symbol of the state of Ohio, and these candies have been very popular in Ohio ever since I can remember – which is a long time.
The internet is littered with recipes for these but none of them are quite like this one. Some use crushed graham crackers (yech!), some use way more butter or less peanut butter or both. This is the best of the lot.
The paraffin in the recipe isn’t required, but it’s what gives the chocolate coating its customary glossy, dark brown look, making it look more like a real buckeye. It also gives the coating body – makes it easier to dip the candies, and it sets up faster and is less likely to soften and smear. You can find it with canning supplies. It comes in a box about the size of a butter box with 4 pieces inside. Put the pieces you are not going to be using in separate zip lock baggies to store – that box won’t keep the dust and stray stuff out.
Also, you can’t use “natural” peanut butter in this recipe – if it separates in the jar, it will separate out of the candy. Use conventional peanut butter.
Finally, I can’t stop you from substituting margarine for butter, but it will change the taste, and not for the better. Ditto leaving out the vanilla extract.
C’mon people, this is CANDY. It’s not SUPPOSED to be good for you.
1 stick softened (NOT melted) BUTTER
1 18 oz jar creamy peanut butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 block paraffin
Cream together the peanut butter, butter and vanilla. You can use a food processor with the metal blade or a heavy duty spoon and bowl. I plan to try my KitchenAid mixer next time I make this. If you use a machine of any type it needs to have a heavy duty motor. Once you add the powdered sugar this becomes a very stiff dough.
Speaking of which, sieve the powdered sugar in about a cup at a time and mix in thoroughly, until you’ve added the entire pound.
Set aside – you can chill in the fridge if you’d like, I don’t usually bother myself but some people seem to find this helpful.
You will form the peanut butter dough into approximately 1″ balls.
The safer way to handle the next step is with a double boiler, but hardly anyone has one of these anymore. If you don’t have a double boiler (and I don’t), a small non-stick pan will do, but you MUST be careful with this. Do NOT walk off and leave this on the stove, and keep the temp fairly low, just warm enough to slowly melt the chocolate. The paraffin will actually aid in this – it makes the chocolate flow better and helps it melt more evenly.
So, in whatever pan you’re using, melt the chocolate chips together with the paraffin. Stir to help it along.
When the chocolate/paraffin is melted and well-blended, use a pickle fork or fondue fork to spear the dough balls and dip them in the chocolate. I usually triple-dip – dip once, remove, swirl around to prevent dribbles, repeat 2 more times.
Set the now-dipped balls on a sheet with waxed paper. You can set in the freezer or fridge to fully set the chocolate. Once they’ve set up, you can smooth out the holes left by the dipping fork.
If you’ve used paraffin, once they’re set you can put them in a large container piled on top of each other – if you skipped the paraffin, the chocolate coating may stick together on the balls and pull away from the peanut butter. You can layer them between sheets of wax paper if you like. Keep refrigerated to maintain their looks. Though if your household is anything like mine, they won’t last long enough to make it to the fridge, LOL!
If you’re in a hurry, you can press into a lipped cookie sheet (one with an edge) and pour the melted chocolate on top, then once its set up cut into 2″ squares. Tastes just as good!