Buckeye balls are the candy that draws a crowd anywhere you take them. If you see people huddled around a Tupperware container stuffing these peanut butter and chocolate concoctions into their faces and their purses or pockets (wrapped in a napkin of course–what are you, a caveman?), you know you’re on to something good. And these are soooo good.
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Don’t quote me on this, but I’m pretty sure the people at Reese’s got the idea for Reese’s Pieces from some old grandma in her kitchen making buckeye balls. Because as soon as I tasted my first one, that familiar creamy-smooth-sweet peanut butter was just…man.
I got your number there Reese’s.
Resembling the nut of the buckeye tree, these candies originated in the Midwest but have filtered in to just about every home kitchen from Birmingham to Billings and for good reason. People will throw an elbow or two for them and they could not be easier to make. So if you want to be the star of all the compliments, here’s how:
Tips for the best buckeye balls
-Remember to use a classic smooth peanut butter like Jif in your buckeye balls. No natural stuff here, not this time. The oils in the natural peanut butter can mess up the texture.
-Soften your butter before mixing it with the peanut butter, but if you have some lumps that just won’t mix in, use a whisk and patience and you’ll get it smooth.
-When it comes to the chocolate, I’m recommending you use a double boiler to melt the chocolate (which is just a bowl over some simmering water, so chill) but if you heat your chocolate too much you’ll make it go grainy and split it. It will look like sand sort of. (Ask me how I know.) So do pay attention to your chocolate and it’s fine to pull the bowl off the water when there are still a few small chunks of chocolate in there–just stir it to melt it thoroughly.
-A note on chocolate chips: most chocolate chips are coated in additives to prevent clumping and that can make melting them tough. That’s why I recommend using either 1) baking chocolate in a bar or 2) Ghirardelli chocolate chips since they melt like they should. Sorry but no Toll House here. Here’s what I use:
Should buckeye balls be refrigerated?
Keeping your buckeye balls cold isn’t a must when you make them, but just like a kid with a candy bar in his pocket, they will soften if they get very warm. That’s why keeping them cold prevents a mess and makes them easier to eat.
If you want to store your buckeye balls for later, put them in an airtight container and they’ll store in the fridge for up to a week. But they won’t last that long. Seriously.
Are you making Buckeye balls? I’d love to see them! Tag me on Instagram @feastandfarm and show me your creations!
- Line a large baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix the butter and peanut butter until smooth and no lumps remain. Use a whisk if you see lumps.
- Add the powdered sugar two cups at a time, stirring between each one. When you add the 5th and 6th cups you'll want to use your hands to knead it in until you have a smooth dough. That should take about 5 minutes.
- Using your hands pinch off enough dough to roll 1-inch balls and place them on your baking sheet.
- Transfer to the refrigerator to chill for two hours or overnight.
- When you're ready to dip your balls, heat two inches of water in a pot until just barely simmering. Not boiling. Place a heat safe bowl over the water and add the chocolate. Stir the chocolate often until it's just melted. It's fine to pull the chocolate off the heat when there are still a few small lumps and stir it until they melt all the way then add the vanilla and stir well. Over heating your chocolate will cause it to go grainy and clumpy, so be careful.
- Using a toothpick, poke each peanut butter ball and dip 3/4 of the way up into the chocolate. Place them back on the parchment paper to cool and smooth over the holes from your toothpick. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to one week.