For Chocolate Lovers only
 


Buckeyes

Tips: If your sweetie loves peanut butter, these would be a wonderful Valentine’s Day gift. They’re easy to make, they’re fun to eat, and you can store them in the fridge quite successfully for at least ten days. Make sure you use unsalted butter (not margarine!) to make these, as even the lower-salt peanut butters have quite enough sodium, thank you. I have not tried to make these using an all-natural, separates-if-it-stands peanut butter, so I don’t know if that would work here, but my guess is that it might land you in trouble. I use Skippy creamy-style and a Pyrex measuring cup for liquids. Why? A clear measuring cup allows you to see and eliminate any air bubbles in the peanut butter you’re measuring.

I’m not sure, but I believe these candies are named after buckeye beans, which they are said to resemble in appearance. They do freeze, but defrost them, still in their airtight container, in the fridge.

Ingredients:

    Centers
  • 2 cups sifted or strained confectioners’ sugar
  • 3/4 cup creamy-style peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
    Chocolate Coating
  • 8 ounces (1-1/3 cups) good-quality semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp. solid vegetable shortening (such as Crisco)

 

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or wax paper. Set aside.

In medium bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, peanut butter, melted butter, and vanilla. Use a large spoon to mix very thoroughly; the “dough” will be quite stiff. Try to make sure there are no white streaks or patches from undissolved confectioners’ sugar; if you see any, just mix the “dough” for another minute or two.

Form the “dough” into balls of 1 to 1-1/4 inches diameter, handling it gently and as little as possible. As each ball is formed, place it on the lined baking sheet. When all of the “dough” has been formed into balls, chill the balls for about an hour.

To coat in chocolate, combine chips and shortening in small heatproof bowl (ideally, the bowl will be deep and narrow rather than shallow and wide). Place over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir frequently until almost melted. Remove from heat and hot water; dry bowl bottom and sides. Stir until smooth and melted. (Alternatively, combine chips and shortening in small microwaveable bowl. Microwave at 50% (medium) power for 1 minute. Stir thoroughly. Continue to microwave at 50% (medium) power for short intervals, stirring thoroughly after each, until mixture is smooth and melted). Chocolate should still be warm when you use it.

Stick a toothpick straight down into the center of one chilled peanut butter ball. Dip the ball into the warm melted chocolate mixture, covering it 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up. Life the chocolate-covered center up and allow any excess chocolate to flow back into the bowl, but remember that the cold center will set the chocolate coating quickly. Replace the chocolate-coated center on the lined cookie sheet. If necessary, gently push it off the toothpick with one or two fingers. Repeat process with remaining centers. Chocolate may cool and thicken excessively during this process. If so, simply reheat it gently, either over simmering water or in the microwave, stirring often, just until it is warm and melted again. As you get closer to the last of the chocolate coating, it may be easier for you to dip centers if you scrape the coating into a small cup.

When all centers have been coated and replaced on baking sheet, chill until chocolate is set, at least 15 minutes. If you object to the holes left by the toothpicks, carefully and gently cover them by pushing the peanut butter “dough” over the hole with a finger or two. To store, carefully remove each piece from the lined baking sheet and place in a container with an airtight lid. Store in refrigerator.

These can be eaten directly out of the fridge, but I think they are better if allowed to stand at room temperature, lightly covered, for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.


Yield: 3 to 3-1/2 dozen candies


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