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?
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/