Friday, November 21, 2008

You Wanna Piece of Me? ... Buckeye Candy That Is!

In the time before there were Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, there lived a lovely treat so decadently delicious that it was hard to tell if it was a candy or a cookie or a dessert. Candy won the final toss, and these wonderful, joy inducing treats became widely known as “Buckeye’s”. Why Buckeye, you ask? It’s quite simple, really. The little beauties resemble the nut from the Buckeye tree. Just about everyone from the wonderful state of Ohio knows what a Buckeye is, and now it is my pleasure to introduce all of you to .... Buckeye Candies!

Folks, let me tell you that this is one treat that will wow your friends and family. Have you seen these before? Ever tried one? I remember first trying these as a kid, and then a couple years ago, I attended a Christmas Cookie Swap Party and saw these sitting on the exchange table. They were just terrific, and their unusual “look” really makes them appropriate for festive fare. Creamy, rich, and very decadent, these treats are a favorite among kids and grown ups. Even better, they are gluten free, super easy to make and,(picture me pulling down both arms in a victory motion saying “yessss”) my teenaged son volunteered to help make them.

Let’s begin. You won’t believe how easy these are to put together.

2 cups smooth peanut butter (Sorry, not the natural, no stir kind. I used regular Skippy.)
½ stick butter – softened
1 box powdered sugar (1 lb! Perhaps this is why they are called candy!)
2 cups chocolate chips (I used semi sweet)
2 Tablespoons shortening (I used Crisco; you could substitute a bit of paraffin instead)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the peanut butter and softened butter until creamy. I used an electric hand-mixer, but a regular mixer would probably have been better. Then add the powdered sugar and mix until incorporated. The whole box of sugar (yikes!). You’re on the right track if the mixture is crumbly looking.
Now it’s time to line two cookie sheets that will fit in your freezer with wax paper. Then simply form the peanut butter mixture into one inch balls and place on the waxed paper lined cookie sheet.I used my handy dandy 1” scoop, but you could just use a spoon and eye ball it. Now, from the top down, stick one toothpick all the way into each peanut butter ball.Place in the freezer to firm up for one hour.

Next, in a medium sized microwaveable bowl, place the choc chips and the shortening.It’s kind of shocking to see all that shortening, huh? I mean how often do you use shortening by the spoonful? Let's not think about it, 'kay? Movin' on ... Microwave for 1 minute and stir. Keep microwaving and stirring in additional 15-30 second intervals until the mixture is very smooth and runny. (It took me a total of 1 minute 45 seconds.)

Remove the tray from the freezer, and using the toothpick, remove one peanut butter ball from the tray and dip into the melted chocolate.Dive into the pool of chocolate!That’s my son’s hand at work there. He’s got his dad’s big mitts. Cover most of the ball with chocolate, leaving only the top section uncovered. Transfer back to the wax paper.Repeat with each one. Remove all the toothpicks, and with a slightly damp fingertip, lightly “swirl” out the toothpick hole. Place the tray in the fridge this time to firm up the chocolate. Serve as soon as chocolate is set. Keep extras in the fridge, as the balls soften up easily. My children and husband went crazy over these. They are a waaaay upscale version of a Reese’s peanut butter cup.Helloooo Beautiful! These will be the first to go on any dessert tray you set out for the holidays. Yeah, they’ll be wantin’ a piece of Buckeye Candy! How about you? Shall I save one for you?

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KNIT ONE/SAVE ONEOn a separate note: Look what my oldest daughter and I did together! Aren’t these just the cutest little baby caps EVER! As part of her Religion studies, my daughter participates in community service projects of her own choosing. This has been a wonderful experience for her as it has shown her how one person performing acts of kindness can make the world a better place. Last Spring, she made a darling no-sew fleece baby blanket through Project Linus. For this current Fall season, she had originally wanted to volunteer at the Local Food Bank, but they have too many volunteers (that's a good thing). Since she really tries to think of ways that she can make a difference, we searched the internet to find something that would allow her that opportunity. My daughter is the most stewardship minded 13 year old on the planet. Plus, she doesn't desire recognition for her efforts; she just does it because she thinks it's a good thing to do. I, of course, am very proud of her. I never did anything remotely like this when I was her age. Anyway, she decided to knit little baby caps for the Knit One/Save One program through the Save the Children Organization. This wonderful organization is determined to improve the quality of life and survival rate for newborn babies in underdeveloped nations. The little babes are soooo tiny in those areas, and providing something as simple as a cap for their little noggins makes an enormous difference in their survival rate. She immediately made the connection to all of her own newborn pictures that showed her with a little cap on her own head. I was very proud of my daughter and her empathy, and enjoyed teaching her how to knit. Oh yeah ... she had to learn how to knit first. Plus, she sent an email to President-elect Obama asking him and his policy makers to keep the children of the world in mind as they make world-wide impacting decisions during his tenure as President. Not bad, eh? Knit One/Save One ... she did a good thing. For more information, here’s the website: http://www.savethechildren.org/get-involved/

43 comments:

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

i love your post today - both the candy and the woolly hats are gorgeious. peanut bitter isnt so popular in crete - it is available, but i dont know many people who actually use it in a dish, maybe just as a spread (of oucrse i remember it on the shelves of supermarkets in NZ, but it doesnt seem to have a place here)

Lisa said...

I LOVE these! What agreat thing for you and your daughter to do.

Aggie said...

Oh those little hats are so sweet, what a nice thing for you and your daughter to do! I love the Buckeyes! YUM!

Your blog was featured on Leftover Queen today! Congrats on being a Finest Foodie! :)

Have a happy Thanksgiving with your family Paula!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Paula, Your daughter sounds like the sweetest thing ever!! How thoughtful! But then again there's the saying...The apple dosen't fall far from the tree!
We have buckeye trees here and these look just like the nut. These could be very dangerous laying around!! ;)

Esi said...

Chocolate and peanut butter are a perfect combination. They look and sound amazing.

ARLENE said...

Kudos on being featured on FFF. Those candies look delicious. My sister makes something like them, but covers the whole candy. I'm going to try your recipe.

Pam said...

Congrats on being a FFF - you deserve it.

The candy looks amazing. I am so ready to make Christmas candy and cookies.

Your daughter has done a wonderful thing - good for you Paula to teach her to help others. The hats are just adorable.

Marjie said...

These buckeyes look a lot like horse chestnuts! I know a horde of people who would love them. Are you bringing them when you come for your tea and breads?

Nice hats from your daughter. I'm not a big fan of knitting, but my oldest daughter is!

Cheryl said...

awesome recipe I have never heard of Buckeye Candy before!

Mrs. L said...

OGL, you know I'm going to make these and eat ALL OF THEM don't you? They will never make it to family and friends. But make them I must.

Linda said...

You just had to post this didn't you (she says accusingly)and put more weight on my overburden hips. I used to make something similar but mine were healthier (snickering here) and had dates in with the peanut butter!

Jan said...

Your buckeye candy looks amazing. And well done you, for raising such a wonderful daughter. I'm not surprised you are so proud of her.

OhioMom said...

Well done daughter! My two oldest daughters volunteer, doesn't it make you proud :)

And thanks for the buckeye candy, I will take a few or more.

Darius T. Williams said...

I could totally go for these - for real!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Manggy said...

Your daughter is awesome. It's rare these days to find young ones who are not totally hung up on themselves, and actually care about the state of the world-- kudos to both of you :) I love that she took up knitting too. And just in time!
I loooove me some peanut butter cups, so these are right up my alley. I might add a bit of salt in the beginning, I love salty peanut butter ;)

mikky said...

wow... these are so cool... my kids will definitely love these... thanks for sharing... :)

noble pig said...

Okay, the candy fabulous, your daughter...priceless. We need about a million more of her.

MEDITERRANEAN KIWI said...

hi paula - just got your message on my blog. the price of milk causes us so much strife , i find it interesting that you have problems in your own part of the world concerning milk. i really did find i was being an investigative reporter - i felt uneasy snapping photos in my local stores, but it had to be done for the post!!!

The Blonde Duck said...

Those are soo cute! I love them. What a wonderful thing ya'll do.

Ivy said...

Hi Paula. Congratulations for being featured on FFF and it's a great opportunity to meet you. This recipe surely is a winner and have already bookmarked it as my kids love peanut butter. Congratulations also for raising such good kids.

Lulu Barbarian said...

I love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, so I definitely have to try these; they look great!

BTW, we have a species of buckeye here in California, so I totally recognize the look!

The Blonde Duck said...

You have a sussy on my Sunday blog!

Grace said...

wait...there was life before reese's cups? i, for one, am glad i wasn't alive then. :)
and yes, i do want a piece of your perfectly done candy. :)

Bellini Valli said...

I had to Google the buckeye and our version of this tree would be the Horse Chestnut. I climbed many a "Buckeye" tree as a child and my brother even fell out of one and into the Grand River. These treats have been bookmarked and I hope to make them for my Christmas platter:D

Dawn said...

yes I remember the first time I had these too, I ate way too many than I should have and then made a batch at home a few days later. next time you make these try using chunky peanut butter for that extra texture.

Heather said...

wooow. thost look amazing! the pictures are so pretty, too :)

Arfi Binsted said...

awwww... so cute!!! and that lovely chocolate coating is just perfect to envelope all the richness of it!

Paula said...

Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments. They provided a bright spot in my day. Normally, I would respond to each of you, but my littlest candy eater is very sick ... had to rush her to the E.R. in the wee hours of the morning. I totally believe in guardian angels waking me up to check on her. Do you ever do that? Wake up fully from a sound sleep because you sense something isn't right? She had a temp of 104 and was having a hard time breathing. Made great time getting to the hospital, her pulse was 139, and they gave her a steroid to open up her breathing passageways, and hooked her up to a humidifier. We were able to bring her home a couple hours later where she has rested propped up on the sofa or on my lap. Final diagnosis ... croup. Unusual in a 9 year old, but she's very petite and the doctor said her airways are also very small in size. Explains why she catches everything. Ah, life goes on in our little corner of the world. Anyway, you now know more about us that you ever wanted to!

Thanks again for the comments. I love all the suggestions ... Mark's idea to add some salt and Dawn's idea to use crunchy p/b!

Thanks, too, for the awards and meme's; I'll get to them when things return to our version of crazy normal!

Off to get some rest!

Lisa said...

I love these! I was always a peanut butter and chocolate fan and I remember being quite impressed when a friend of my Dad's made these. I asked for the recipe and it included the paraffin you suggest as a substitute to thin the chocolate. I'm not sure how I feel about that part but I do know they tasted great! I also like your dipping technique using toothpicks. I hadn't thought of that before.

Cathy said...

Wow, you had quite a scare. Its awful when one of our little ones is sick. Hope she is all better now. Your chocolate-peanut butter treats will have a place on my holiday cookie platters. They look divine.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family Paula.

Lori said...

So THAT's how Buckeyes are made! I had no idea. Now I feel like I'm in on some cool secret. :oD

I'm super impressed with your daughter too ~ those hats are adorable. If she's interested, Headhuggers.org will take hats as well. I'm leaving to check out Save The Children right now ~ thanks for the link!

Lori said...

Oh geez, I just read your last comment. I hope your 9 year old is doing better. How frightening! We're sending her quick recovery ~vibes~ !! <3

Mediterranean kiwi said...

i'm just having a look at that shortening you use - it's very white. does butter or margarine also work for this? we dont have shortening, but this looks like cream to me

Mediterranean kiwi said...

hi again paula - i'm thinking about you...

Sarah said...

*Gasp* I LOVE buckeyes! Some friends of mine from Ohio first introduced them to me (the buckeye is the state nut of Ohio, and the candy is reputed to have originated in that state). Now that I've had a taste, I'm always ready to make more!

Kevin said...

Peanut butter and chocolate...mmm... They look great!

Jude said...

I've never tried this before... Looks easy enough and elegant at the same time.

Mediterranean kiwi said...

hi Paula - hope all is well
thinking of you...

Parker said...

My fav - PB and chocolate...even better on a stick.

Deborah said...

I've never actually had a buckeye before - but I've always wanted to make them!! And I'm so impressed by your daughter. What a great project!

Gloria said...

Lovely and tasty!! Gloria

Bridgett said...

Paula, can I come stay with you for a while? You have the loveliest dishes and treats. Everything you do comforts me just by getting a glimpse into your day. Seeing those baby caps makes me long for a baby....even if just for a minute. I loved those little caps on my babies. So sweet and cozy. Hope you are doing well.

Lo said...

Awesome -- on both counts. The candy looks amazing, and those hats are adorable.

I'm with Bridgett. Do you take boarders?