Thursday, December 23, 2010


Many, many moons ago, I was first introduced to this candy by my friend Jackie. I remember standing in her kitchen as her mom handed me my first one, always a part of her Christmas baking repertoire. I was probably 11 or 12, but a peanut butter chocoholic knows when her life has changed.

So tell me, if it's so memorable, why have I never made them?

I was recently inspired to finally try my hand at making them because of this beautiful post over at SK, but the thought of cream cheese diluting them made me sad inside (and to be perfectly honest, I could not handle yet another grocery store trip). So off to the Internet I went! While most buckeyes have gobs of powdered sugar involved, this recipe seemed to have a more reasonable amount; I just tweaked it to bittersweet chocolate and also tempered it per SK's instructions to have the perfect shiny result.

I won't lie—I had a bear of a time dipping them. The peanut butter "eye" was never perfectly round (more like a pentagon) and I could never properly cover the toothpick hole, and I may have even had a temper tantrum* when they wouldn't turn out perfectly and after finding my candy thermometer shattered in the drawer (and running to BB&B at 11:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve Eve only to find thermometers that started at 100 degrees when I needed 80s for tempering), but I promise you, this will soon be a favorite recipe. Next time, I'll freeze the peanut butter balls rather than refrigerate and I will also dip them in smaller batches, keeping enough in the fridge/freezer so they don't warm up too much before their chocolate bath.

makes 2–3 dozen, depending on size
1/2 stick (4 T.) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2.5 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. smooth peanut butter
1/2 t. salt
1 c. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

In a mixing bowl, combine the softened butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, peanut butter, and salt.

Mix on medium speed for 1–2 minutes, until very smooth and well combined.

Using a teaspoon, form mixture into balls the size of a quarter. Place balls on cookie sheet covered with foil or parchment and chill in refrigerator (or perhaps I'll try the freezer next time) for 30 minutes.

While balls are chilling, melt the chocolate. Temper the chocolate if you desire. (The link above at Smitten Kitchen has perfect instructions.)

Once balls are firm, they can be dipped. Using a toothpick, skewer a ball and dip it halfway into the melted chocolate. You want to leave at least a dime-sized circle of undipped candy on top of the ball. *Or, you know, get so upset at your imperfect buckeyes that you angrily poke a hole in one. And then, shucks, I'll have to eat that deformity.

Don't do this.

Drag it along the lip of the bowl to remove excess chocolate, and place it back on the cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining peanut butter balls. Work in shifts so that not too many peanut butter balls are out of the fridge/freezer at once. They warm very quickly, which poses huge problems when dipping.

Return balls to fridge to set the chocolate. Serve once candies are firm. Or give as gifts—your friends and family will love you for it.

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