Holiday Treats: Buckeyes

by bsherm on December 22, 2010

I think the first buckeye I ever had was 30 years ago. We got the recipe from a neighbor and it has morphed a little over the years. Now, while a real buckeye is poisonous, these buckeyes are a peanut butter core wrapped in chocolate. The core is pretty simple. Butter, Peanut Butter, and a LOT of powdered sugar. My whole family makes buckeyes, and we tend to differ the ingredients slightly. I tend to use less sugar, more peanut butter and strive to use as little paraffin as possible in the chocolate coating. Lets look at how they are made.


  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
  • 540g peanut butter. I prefer Jif. The original recipe called for 1 lb. peanut butter.
  • 620g powdered sugar. The original recipe called for 1-1/2 lbs, or about 4-1/2 cups.
  • 410g chocolate morsels. I use Toll House. The original recipe called for one 12 oz bag.
  • 40g paraffin wax. Not sure what the original recipe called for here, but it was more.
  • Yield: 84 buckeyes


  • #70 disher
  • Two cookie sheets.
  • Non-stick cover for sheets. I use Silpats.
  • 1 Qt pyrex bowl to melt chocolate and wax in.
  • Small sauce pan to simmer water in to heat chocolate.
  • The KitchenAid stand mixer.
  • Room in the Freezer for the cookie sheets.
  • Kitchen scale that measures in grams.


Making these are a chore. There are a few tricks, however, that can make everything run smoother.

  1. Use a scale to measure ingredients. Trying to measuring peanut butter in measuring cups is not fun. Using a scale is really easy.
  2. Start with softened butter. Everything incorporates better.
  3. Place rolled balls in freezer before dipping. This helps the tooth pick hold onto the ball better.
  4. Do not use rounded tooth picks. You want square or rectangular cross-sections. This helps prevent the buckeyes from rotating on the tooth pick while you are twirling.
  5. Use gloves. I always have latex or nitrile gloves around for handling peppers, especially Habaneros. These are very useful when you need to get physical with the peanut butter dough.


  1. Beat butter until soft. Butter is stiffer than peanut butter, this helps it mix together better.
  2. Add peanut butter and mix until smooth. This is where a scale is great. Just place the bowl on the scale, zero it out, and add the correct amount.
  3. Add sugar gradually with mixer on low. Slow is important, or it will look like it is snowing in your kitchen. You may not be able to get all the sugar in with your mixer. You can finish it by kneading in the remaining sugar. Good time to put on your gloves.
  4. Use the #70 disher to portion and then roll into balls. I like the size of the #70. My mom uses the #100 to get smaller buckeyes (the larger the number, the smaller the disher).
  5. Place full trays of peanut butter cores in the freezer. I leave them in while melting the chocolate. I would guess a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
  6. Fill pan with a couple inches of water and place on medium to simmer. This is your heat source. You do not want a rolling boil.
  7. Place the pyrex bowl over the pan to complete your double-boiler. Obviously, if you have a double boiler, use that. The bottom of the bowl cannot touch the water.
  8. Melt wax, then slowly add toll-house morsels until fully melted. This is a slow process. You want to make sure that no water from the steam gets into the chocolate.
  9. Remove cores from freezer, stick a toothpick in the core and dip in chocolate. You want to rotate the ball in the chocolate, leaving a nice-sized unexposed top. When you pull it out, twirl and tap to knock off the excess chocolate.
  10. Return the completed tray to the freezer for about 5 minutes.
  11. Use the back of a spoon to smooth over the tooth pick hole.

There are three key things that will help you avoid a large “foot” on your Buckeye:

  1. Freeze cores before dipping.
  2. Don’t get the chocolate coating too hot. The double boiler keeps the temperature in a good range.
  3. Twirl and tap after dipping the buckeye to remove excess chocolate.

This makes a lot of buckeyes (84) but they will go fast.


There are things you can do to tweak this recipe.

Sugar content: I have, over the years, steadily cut back on the amount of sugar. This yields a creamier center with more peanut butter taste. Adding sugar will give you a more solid core. Mine can get quite soft sitting out.

Peanut Butter: My sister always preferred the Reese’s peanut butter, but can’t find it anymore. I like Jif. I am intrigued with trying natural peanut butter, but since it makes 84, I don’t experiment that much. I’ll have to try to quarter the recipe and experiment.

Chocolate: I think the Toll House morsels work great with these, but it is tempting to try higher quality chocolate. Also, someday I want to learn to temper chocolate and do away with the wax.

So there you have it, another holiday classic, and well-liked recipe. I like to pair this with my Snowballs to create the Balls O’ Fun Holiday Platter.

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