Like homemade Reese’s Cups. But better.
My favorite candy — and candy, generally — is the Reese’s Cup. (I am not alone in this opinion. See this Halloween candy ranking from New York Magazine; it’s worth the read.) So it is no surprise that I absolutely love buckeyes. These chocolate peanut butter balls of goodness are a no-bake dessert that looks great and tastes even better, with a soft, sweet peanut butter center with a hint of salt, enrobed in pure dark chocolate. Get the recipe.
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According to legend, buckeyes were invented in the mid-1900s by Gail Tabor. According to Tabor, she invented the recipe and gave the peanut butter balls away to friends around the holidays. She also made them for Ohio State-Michigan football games, to much acclaim. The recipe eventually got out, and now we can all enjoy these tasty treats.
I think of buckeyes as the very best of peanut butter blossom cookies and Reese’s Cups, all rolled together. I like to coat mine in a good quality dark chocolate and garnish with flaky sea salt to put them over the top.
Buckeyes are the official desserts of Ohio, designed and named after Ohio’s state tree: You guessed it, the buckeye. Now, the tree and its nuts are toxic. Luckily, this lookalike dessert is most decidedly not (barring a peanut allergy).
Recipe Notes: Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeyes
- Chill the peanut butter dough thoroughly. They will be much easier to skewer, and will keep their shape.
- Skewer the top of the peanut butter balls and roll them in chocolate. It will leave a hole in the top, but you can smooth it back over with your finger.
- I use Valhrona dark chocolate, though any dark chocolate will do. Do not use melted chocolate chips, which will not set up with the same high-quality hard outer shell. Want to really do it right? Temper the chocolate. Here’s my article from Food52 on how to temper chocolate in the microwave. It’s easy, and you will get a smooth dark chocolate coating with real snap.
- I like to drain these on a cooling rack instead of a baking sheet. A rack allows excess chocolate to drip through, instead of forming a pool of chocolate, which will result in “feet” instead of a clean-looking chocolate ball.
Did you make these Chocolate Peanut Butter Buckeyes? How were they?
Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes)
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon peanut butter (not natural)
- 4 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces (a little less will do) dark chocolate, chopped. Do not use chocolate chips.
- flaky sea salt, to garnish (optional)
- Mix the powdered sugar, peanut butter, melted butter, vanilla, and salt until combined. I use my electric mixer with the paddle attachment, starting on low until crumbles form, then on medium until the mixture becomes more cohesive.
- Scoop the peanut butter mixture into balls. Chill fully, covered, for about 1 hour, or overnight.
- Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or in the microwave in 30-second increments. PRO TIP #1: Do not get any water in your chocolate. Water is chocolate kryptonite and will make the chocolate seize up.PRO TIP #2: If using the microwave, melt the chocolate in 30-second increments until it is about halfway melted, then at 10-second increments, stirring, until fully melted. Chocolate can burn, so err on the side of checking and stirring often.
- Skewer the peanut butter balls and dip in the chocolate to coat 3/4 high. Place on a cooling rack. If desired, sprinkle the chocolate with a touch of flaky sea salt before it sets up.
- Serve chilled or at room temperature. Will keep, covered, for several days.