It was Christmas in Darfield, about 15 years ago. As per the rule of Christmas where you can keep eating after dinner, my aunty Di had just put out a tray with Xmas mince pies, nana’s cheese straws, and other treats. As usual, my gaze went straight to the chocolate and that was when I first discovered the little peanut butter morsels known as buckeyes.
Buckeyes are not common in NZ; I’ve never seen them anywhere else here, but they’re really popular in the US. They’re named for their similarity to the nut of the Ohio buckeye tree which is the state tree of Ohio (there’s your random trivia fact for the day.) A simple combination of peanut butter, butter and icing sugar, which is rolled into balls and dipped into dark chocolate – it doesn’t get much better than that.
Di got the recipe from an American friend, and it’s pretty similar to other recipes I’ve seen. These buckeyes are so easy to make, and the only problem is stopping at one. Oh, and waiting for the chocolate to set!
3c icing sugar
200g peanut butter
120g melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate
2 teaspoons coconut oil (or another neutral vegetable oil)
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachments, beat together the icing sugar, peanut butter, butter and vanilla extract until completely combined, a good couple of minutes. It should clump when you pinch some together.
Roll the mixture into balls, about 2 teaspoons worth, and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Poke a toothpick into each one – this will make them easier to dip. Refrigerate for one hour, or freeze for 30 minutes.
Melt the chocolate and coconut oil together in the microwave or in a double boiler. It should be completely smooth and glossy. (I melted mine in the microwave, using 30 second intervals at 70% power.)
Using the toothpick as a handle, dip each ball into the chocolate, leaving a little circle bare on top. Place back on the baking tray. Once you have finished dipping, return the balls to the fridge for another hour, or until set.
Remove the toothpicks (you can gently smudge over the hole with your finger) and store in an airtight container for up to one month, although they won’t last that long 😉
- There will be chocolate left over. Drop spoonfuls onto a baking tray lined with baking paper and sprinkle with roasted nuts, then refrigerate until set.
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