Monday, June 6, 2011

Ohio Buckeyes

A Ted’s hot dog with a side of cheese. A stack of pancakes with a pile of crunchy hash browns. A Hershey bar and a jar of peanut butter. These are a few of my favorite things. What? You’ve never sat down with a chocolate bar and a jar of peanut butter? You should definitely give it a go. Chocolate and peanut butter is one of those quintessential combinations that so many people love. Well, most Americans. Seems like non-Americans can live their lives quite happily without a jar of peanut butter in the house.

I am a huge fan of the peanut butter and chocolate combo, so I’m not sure why it’s taken me this long to make this candy. If you are from Ohio, you know these candies as Buckeyes. They look just like the nut of the Ohio buckeye tree, just like horse chestnuts! (Seriously, have a look, it’s uncanny!) My roommate in grad school made something very similar to these and I loved them. In fact, I would sneak a few from the fridge when she wasn’t looking. They were so good! Why did I never make them myself?

So far in Candy Challenge 2011, I haven’t made something so simple and so delicious. The whole recipe took less than an hour (including chilling time) from start to finish. There is no boiling sugar, for once, there is no need for a candy thermometer and you don’t even need any fancy equipment. So get out your bowl, spoon and baking sheet.

Ohio Buckeyes
Here’s a quick trick! If you have a kitchen scale, use it to weigh out the peanut butter. That way you don’t lose any of the sticky stuff while transferring from the measuring cup to the mixing bowl. I used candy melts, rather than block chocolate, because you don’t have to temper candy melts. This makes the whole candy-making process much faster!

9 oz (1 cup) creamy peanut butter
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
1 package Dark chocolate candy melts

Cream peanut butter, butter and vanilla together in a mixing bowl. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until mixture comes together as a dough.

Using a 1 tbsp cookie scoop (or just use a teaspoon), scoop out dough into 1-inch balls. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to set up.

Melt candy melts (or chocolate if you feel like tempering!) in the microwave and stir until completely smooth. Poke the candies with a toothpick and dip in the chocolate. Remove from the chocolate and place on a parchment or silpat-lined baking sheet. Remove toothpick and smooth the hole to close.

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