I may live in New Mexico, but I hail from the great state of Ohio and in my heart I will always be a Buckeye. What is a Buckeye you ask? Other than the mascot for my alma mater, it also happens to be a poisonous nut from the state tree, the Buckeye Tree.
So if you cannot eat the nut…make a candy that looks like one! 😉
The Reeses Cup cannot hold a candle to the Buckeye ( I do realize that I may be biased), but the really cool thing about a Buckeye: if you make them yourself, you can make modifications should there be a peanut or tree nut allergy in your family! This is the most commonly requested holiday goodie that I make, so I make a TON! I have been absent from cyberspace for a couple of days because I have been dipping 600 Buckeyes into chocolate!
My back hurts.
This is why I only make them once a year. 😉
If you or a loved one is allergic to peanuts or tree nuts but can tolerate sunflower seeds, Sunbutter works very well as a substitute in this recipe.
1 1/2 cups Creamy Peanut Butter (Peanut Allergy? Try Sunbutter)
1/2 cup Butter, softened (or Vegan Butter Substitute)
1 tsp. Vanilla
6 oz. Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used a new product this year from a company called Chocoley. Chocoley has a candy melt product (similar to Wilton’s Candy Melts, (similar only in use, NOT in taste. The product is called Bada Bing Bada Boom and it is AWESOME, the taste is incomparable to anything I have used in the past AND it is Celiac Safe! It is also Peanut, Tree Nut and Egg Free. I highly recommend Chocoley and no, I did not receive a free product to review, I bought it. 😀 ) (If you are dairy-free, I have an old friend whose child was allergic to milk and she used the Ghiradelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, I have not verified it with the company but here is Ghiradelli’s Allergen page and contact info).
2 Tbs. Shortening (Spectrum Shortening is a great non-hydrogenated alternative to Crisco)
Line a baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper; set aside.
I use my big heavy duty mixer for this job, but you could also work it all together with your hands. I am not sure how well a hand-held mixer would work, I would be nervous about the motor burning out…the peanut butter mixture gets thick and stiff!
In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and confectioners’ sugar with hands to form a smooth stiff dough. Shape into balls using 2 teaspoons of dough for each ball. Place on prepared pan, and refrigerate or freeze. I like to make the peanut butter balls/centers several days in advance and freeze them. I have found that dipping the frozen peanut butter balls to be much more successful for me, they do not fall apart in the hot melted chocolate.
3. Melt shortening and chocolate together in a metal bowl over a pan of lightly simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth, and remove from heat. You will not need shortening if you use Bada Bing Bada Boom.
4. Remove balls from refrigerator or freezer. Insert a wooden toothpick (I use a wooden skewer) into a ball, and dip into melted chocolate, leaving a small circle at the top uncoated. Return to wax paper, chocolate side down, and remove toothpick. Repeat with remaining balls. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.