Buckeyes—or chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls—are a tasty homemade confection. These classic treats go their name because they resemble the nut of the Midwestern buckeye tree.
According to an article written for the Arizona Republic in 1983, a woman named Gail Tabor claims to have invented buckeye candy. As the story goes, years earlier at Christmas time she was trying out a new peanut butter candy recipe. She felt it didn't look just right, so she dipped it in chocolate and showed it to her husband. He declared "Hey, it looks like a buckeye."
The buckeyes were a huge hit that Christmas and for years Gail would make them for the Ohio State-Michigan football games. Eventually, the recipe was published in the Ohio State Alumni Magazine and soon everyone fell in love with these chocolate and peanut butter treats. Since they are always such a crowd-pleaser, buckeye candy is popular during Christmas, college football season, and even at weddings.
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (melted)
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon vegetable shortening
Gather the ingredients. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the powdered sugar, creamy peanut butter, melted butter, vanilla extract, and salt until smooth.
Scoop and shape into 1-inch balls. Place on the prepared baking sheet and chill until firm, at least 20 minutes.
Place the chocolate chips and vegetable shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.
Insert a toothpick in the top center of a chilled peanut butter ball.
Dip the ball into the melted chocolate, about 3/4 of the way, leaving a circle of peanut butter visible on top. Allow the excess chocolate to drip off into the bowl, then place the buckeye back on the baking sheet.
Remove the toothpick and carefully smooth over the hole. Repeat with the remaining peanut butter balls and chocolate. If chocolate thickens as you are dipping the buckeyes, microwave in 10-second intervals until it achieves the desired consistency when stirred.
Chill again until the buckeyes are firm and the chocolate is set, at least 30 minutes.
Serve chilled straight from the refrigerator or at room temperature. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
- Do not use "natural" labeled peanut butter in this recipe. It tends to be too oily and the balls will not form properly. It's best just to use a jar of your favorite traditional peanut butter.
- Opt for creamy or smooth peanut butter rather than chunky.
- If you use salted butter, omit the additional salt.
- An eight-ounce bar of dark chocolate or milk chocolate can be used instead of the semisweet chocolate chips. Finely chop before melting and dipping.
- Refined coconut oil can be used in place of the vegetable shortening in this recipe.