There is a little tension in my house this week. Okay, a LOT! You see, it’s Buckeye week, the most anticipated candy making session of my entire year. My boys love buckeyes. They may even be addicted to them.
Buckeyes were a yearly addition to all the cookie trays when I was growing up and I have continued that tradition with my own children. But, because they love peanut butter cups all year long, they eagerly await the day that the kitchen fills with the smell of peanut butter and powdered sugar. They eat them off the tray sometimes as fast as I can roll them. And…always…I have to remind them to slow down, because I learned as a child that too many buckeyes can really give you a heck of a sugar buzz!
Why do they love them? They are like the world’s smoothest peanut butter cup, in a perfect bite sized portion. They melt into a dream in your mouth and leave you wanting more!
This amazing candies are a favorite around the country at Christmas time. They are so popular in my home that my kids often begin asking for them as early as July, and often try to eat them before the chocolate has had a chance to set. These have the taste of a wonderfully smooth peanut butter cup, and are very hard to resist!
Thoroughly blend Powdered Sugar, Jif, Butter, Vanilla, and Salt. This takes just a few minutes in a standard mixer. Mixture will have a crumbly consistency but shape well into balls.
Shape into 1/2" balls. The heat of your hand can do most of the work here in making the balls a nice shape. Do not over work. Place on sheet pan (lined with parchment paper) and place in the freezer for at least 10 minutes to firm up.
While peanut butter balls become firm, place chocolate and paraffin (optional) in the top of a double boiler until melted. Alternately, you can melt in the microwave in short bursts of 30 seconds at 50% power. Stir regularly until smooth.
Insert a wooden toothpick into the candy balls and dip 3/4 of the ball into the chocolate mixture. Place on waxed paper or in a candy cup until set. Remove wooden picks and smooth over the hole. If not using Paraffin, pop in the freezer until the chocolate has a chance to set, I store these in the fridge, but they never last long!
My mother always used paraffin in her buckeyes, but I don't. Paraffin lends a nice shine and hardens the chocolate to make it more portable and less susceptible to heat, but I prefer not to use it. I simply melt the chips and dip the buckeyes and then store them in the fridge. In our house, they go fast, so this has never been an issue for me!
This recipe is OLD. I have no idea where and when the recipe started, but this treat is made throughout the Midwest at Christmas-time. My family has always made them just this way…and they are the best. Neighbors and friends also eagerly await the buckeye season. So, now I am sharing this family recipe with all of my new friends here at Sawdust! Enjoy!