Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Buckeyes

Oh yum.  These things are delicious.  And addicting.  Apparently peanut butter buckeyes are named after the nut of the state tree of Ohio.  And they are named that after the tree because they look like the nuts.  If you Google buckeyes you will eventually see what I mean.  I found one picture here on Serious Eats where the resemblance is quite obvious.  Anyway, I decided to make these chocolate-covered peanut butter confections for two reasons.  First, my dad is from Ohio so it just seemed appropriate.  Second, I love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate.  I guess there was a third reason - they just looked so easy to make!  So I made them and omg.  So good.  I brought like 30 of these bad boys into work and they were gone in minutes.  And Alex and I combined ate far more of them than was probably wise, but I just couldn't stop myself.  I loved the salty-sweet combination and the smooth and creamy peanut butter center.  I'm glad that I used a mixture of dark and semisweet chocolate to dip the buckeyes in because I think milk chocolate would have been far too sweet, but dark chocolate alone might not have been quite sweet enough.  I also found that my favorite way to eat these candies is right out of the freezer.  I love them when they are frozen (hence the ice crystals you can see on the buckeyes in the picture - they were fresh out of the freezer).  You can't leave them out for long because they will melt (due to the high butter content), but they are worth the hassle.  Promise.

I think we might have found a new Christmas tradition!

Recipe after the jump!

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Buckeyes

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 cups unsweetened peanut butter
5 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tbsp kosher salt
1 tablespoon sea salt
3-4 cups combination of chopped dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate chips, for dipping

Combine the butter and peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream on medium speed until well combined and fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Turn the mixer to medium low. With the mixer running, add the confectioner's sugar 2 cups at a time.  Add the salt and mix well.

Once the mixture has come together, transfer bowl to freezer until mixture is chilled and firm, about 10 minutes (I transferred it to the fridge and left it there overnight because I wanted to finish making the buckeyes in the morning, but you might want to put them in the freezer for at least a few minutes either way before rolling the buckeyes into balls because otherwise it melts pretty quickly as you try to roll the buckeyes).  Roll tablespoon-sized lumps into 1-1/2" balls and place on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment.  If the mixture begins to melt, stick it back in the freezer until it chills and firms up.  Insert a toothpick into the top of each ball and place baking sheet in freezer until buckeyes are firm, about 30 minutes.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler (a bowl placed on top of a saucepan filled with simmering water), stirring occasionally.  You can also melt your chocolate in the microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring and scraping down sides with rubber spatula between each zap until the chocolate is melted.  No matter how you melt your chocolate, be careful not to burn it (although the chances of burning it are much higher in the microwave than on the stove top).  Allow chocolate to cool slightly.

Remove chilled peanut butter balls from freezer and dip in chocolate using the toothpicks, leaving a circle of exposed peanut butter on top. Place back on wax paper to set. Once they're all dipped, remove the toothpicks and smooth out the toothpick hole with a finger.

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