Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe

I am taking a very short break before Christmas so my daughter, Elizabeth, has agreed to share her homemade peanut butter buckeyes recipe along with her hard-earned tips and tricks!

Every year at Christmas, my grandmother, Margaret Drake, invited my brother and me over to her house to bake cut-out cookies.  We’d help her roll out the dough and cut the cookies. While they were in the oven, she would play her piano that was next to a big bay window in the living room and the three of us would sing Christmas carols.  (I can still vividly see the Christmas tree she put in front of that window and decorated each year – she covered the entire tree in silver tinsel. By the time Christmas was over, most of it was on the carpet.)  Once the cookies were ready, Margaret would let us ice them and decorate with sprinkles.  We’d take ours home and Margaret would distribute the ones she made to her group of friends. 

margaret-liddy(Here I am with Margaret on my first birthday.)

One of those friends was Jane Feller.  Jane and her late husband Lyle were best friends with my grandparents for most of their lives.  Jane made buckeyes at Christmas and buckeyes were the treat she swapped with Margaret.  If Margaret received 20 buckeyes, I probably ate 18 of them.  Every year.  I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to a combination of chocolate and peanut butter!

Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe | Step by step directions for making buckeyes. Includes great pointers!

Margaret passed away in 2007 when I was 23.  I have her cookie cutters in my pantry and use them each year to make my own cookies.  But a few years ago I mentioned to my boyfriend Darren that I missed Jane Feller’s buckeyes.  He suggested we try to make them ourselves, so off to Pinterest I went to find a recipe.

Long story short, the recipe I found on Pinterest left out an ENTIRE step in the process.  That attempt ended in what people on the internet call a #pinterestfail.  The peanut butter balls were falling off the toothpicks and melting in the chocolate.  No matter how careful I was, I couldn’t get the buckeyes to look pretty once they were dipped and trying to cool.  Darren likes to refer to this unfortunate day as “Elizabeth’s Great Buckeye Meltdown.”

Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe | Step by step directions for making buckeyes. Includes great pointers!

I threw the “ruined” buckeyes in the kitchen sink.  I swore.  I cried.  It was all ugly – my reaction and the failed buckeyes.  Darren actually got in his car and left for about 15 minutes and called his dad.  I’m told the conversation went something like this:

Darren:  I will never understand women!

Darren’s Dad:  Son, I’ve been trying to figure women out for over 60 years.  I’ll let you know if I ever get there.

Darren came back, took me to a local restaurant for two pear martinis, and then we went back to my house to start again.  The second go-round was much more successful because we decided to add a step that wasn’t in the original recipe.  So, I’m here today to share how we learned to make buckeyes.*

Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups creamy peanut butter
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 lb bag of powdered sugar
  • 4 packages of Baker’s baking chocolate bars (we use semi-sweet)

Step 1:

In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. 

Step 2:

Add powdered sugar.  The dough might be crumbly at first, but it should all come together after everything is evenly mixed.

Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe | Step by step directions for making buckeyes. Includes great pointers!

Step 3:

Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes.  Your buckeye balls will have a more even shape if you form them with chilled dough.

Step 4:

Use a small cookie scoop to form round balls with the peanut butter dough.  Roll the balls in your hands to smooth.  Place the balls on a cookie sheet or paper plate lined with waxed paper and insert a toothpick in each ball. 

Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe | Step by step directions for making buckeyes. Includes great pointers!

Step 5:  THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP!

Freeze or refrigerate the balls for at least 30 minutes.  This will allow the toothpick to freeze into the ball and will make dipping them in chocolate much more successful.

Step 6:

Once your peanut butter balls are cold, use a small saucepan to melt the chocolate.  Stir constantly and do not let the chocolate reach a boil.

Step 7:

While holding the toothpick, dip each peanut butter ball into the chocolate, covering about ¾ of the ball.  Place the buckeyes on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper.  Refrigerate again until the chocolate is set.

Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe | Step by step directions for making buckeyes. Includes great pointers!

Peanut Butter Buckeyes Tip

Once the peanut butter balls are dipped, we remove the toothpicks and use a small spoon to smooth the peanut butter over the hole in the buckeye left by the toothpick.  If the hole doesn’t bother you, feel free to skip this part!

Click HERE for a printable version of my Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe.

Making buckeyes has now become a Christmas tradition.  While it’s a little time consuming, it does get easier each year.  We’ve started packaging the buckeyes in festive holiday tins and we give them to friends and family with their gifts, just like Jane Feller did for my grandmother. 

Now all I need is a house with a big bay window, a piano, and some silver tinsel for my Christmas tree.

Homemade Peanut Butter Buckeyes Recipe | Step by step directions for making buckeyes. Includes great pointers!

*Lest you think my love for homemade peanut butter buckeyes makes me an Ohio State fan, I want to add that this recipe post is in no way an endorsement for the Ohio State University or its football program and their upcoming bowl game. (Sorry Darren.) Football season is always interesting around here!

elizabeth signature cantoni

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35 Comments

  1. Elizabeth says:

    What a lovely memory!

  2. MARY-ANN (FROM CANADA!) says:

    Elizabeth, I have been looking for a recipe for these! Thanks, so much! I will definitely make these for my husband! He loves them — me, too!
    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  3. Gail Martin says:

    Elizabeth, I cannot wait to make these. My grandmother used to make these at Christmas, along with fudge and Martha Washington candy. I loved them.

  4. Thanks for sharing your sweet Christmas memories of baking cookies with your grandmother. I remember making ‘Peanut Butter Balls’ with my mother as a child at Christmas. The one difference between hers and yours is she covered the entire ball with chocolate, which is why we didn’t call them Buck eyes.

  5. Linda Sandridge says:

    I Iove your mother’s stories and you have done her justice with yours. Merry. Christmas

  6. Can you tell me the weight of the chocolate “package”? They look wonderful. Thanks!

  7. Carol is spot on as to the type of chocolate to use-chocolate chips are ” designed” to maintain their their shape while baking. Select a coating chocolate and melt it over a double boiler. Be sure you don’t use a large volume of water at a high heat to cause the water to “spit”. If the water ends up in the pan of chocolate, it can cause the chocolate to seize. Buckeyes are perhaps the most popular candy I make. Merry Christmas to you and thanks for the great post. Each of us has had kitchen failures.

  8. Lol! Thanks for sharing your recipe for Buckeyes and your memory of baking with Mrs. fellers. The Fellers were wonderful people.

    Merry Christmas to you and the family!

    Kristi

  9. I can’t believe so many people have never had buckeyes! Being from Ohio it’s not Christmas without them! And there are some stores you can get them year round. Also have to say it — GO BUCKS !!

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed your story and going down memory lane. This time of year brings back so many fond memories of my grandmother. She too was a wonderful cook and baker especially her apricot fried pies.
    Honestly, I have never heard of buckeyes, I guess because I am a Texan. Thank you for sharing your story and I will give this recipe a try. Merry Christmas!!

  11. Great job Elizabeth! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  12. Barbara Harilaou says:

    Ann I must say I’m not a big fan of peanut butter but your story down memory lane was touching. Made me think off my aunt who’s passed away but I still use her recipes for Christmas desserts .I’m glad to see that you did not give up on the recipe. ENJOY…..Barbara [Corfu Greece]

  13. I too made these this year for the first time. The first batch turned out good but I didn’t use my mixer and it was so hard to mix up. The next batch I made I used a large jar of peanut butter and adjusted the powdered sugar, I kept adding and adding. Lol When I finished adding the sugar they were still soft so I put them in the freezer. They taste good without the chocolate but today I’m going to dip them. By the way, my grandson was eating them out of the freezer, he loves them so much. Thanks for the review, I really enjoyed your story.

    Merry Christmas to all
    Angie

  14. Susan Barr says:

    What a delightful post! I always enjoy trying new (to me) recipes from the web, but the stories and details behind the recipes make them so much more meaningful. Thank you, and have a lovely Christmas season.

  15. Patricia Elsea says:

    Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth. That photo and your story made me all teary eyed! I miss Margaret. And her piano, by the way, is in my bay window in London and we have also sung Christmas carols on itxx

  16. Cant wait to try them. Thanks.

  17. Connie Trevino says:

    Sounds good. I might just have to make some.

  18. I remember making Buckeyes with fourth graders at St. M’s. Judy Hill spearheaded the effort. That refrigeration step is essential!

  19. Because you clarified that this recipe is no endorsement for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team, I will try this recipe. I’ve always loved them and this might be the year I try to make them. Thanks for the story. Roll Tide

    1. I was going to say the same thing! And I live in Ohio! Roll Tide!!!

  20. Thanks for the sharing your wonderful memories and your insight on making homage buckeyes. I have never made them before but base on your recipe I most diffenaly will. I’m with you on the insatiable craving on beanutbutter & choclate!

  21. DeAnn Gilkey says:

    Thank you for the Buckeye recipe. They are my favorite. I’ll make a batch up for our Christmas. Love your memories too!

    Merry Christmas!

  22. I am making these for the first time this year. Thanks for sharing your post. Very well written. I hope you and your mom and family all have a very Merry Christmas!????

  23. Carol Woodard says:

    Want to make them better? Use Merkins dark chocolate wafers purchased at a candy making store (there’s one in Beavercreek OH). Melt it in a bowl placed over a pan of boiling water. You’ll never use other chocolate again. Some recipes say to add wax to the chocolate…that’s a big NO NO! Merry Christmas!

    Carol

  24. Great post! I remember your Grandparents well and loved seeing the picture of your Grandmother. She was so sweet! Loved your story about baking with her. I am with you on the Buckeye thing … would rather eat that candy than cheer the team on! Merry Christmas to all of the Drake family!

  25. Brenda Chase says:

    These are my Christmas favorites. I’ve been making them for about 40 years but I usually only make them every couple of years now. I have no. Self. control!

  26. We had one of those mishaps this year making Buckeyes. And our chocolate kept getting too thick and clumpy. We used chocolate chips. Will definitely chill or freeze the peanut butter balls with the toothpicks in next time. Go Bucks!! (Sorry, being from Ohio, I had to!)

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Vickie! Elizabeth is at work but she asked me to tell you that your chocolate was too hot and probably starting to burn. Use a little lower heat and stir constantly. She said it actually happened on one of their batches this year and they had to throw it out! Thank you for your kind comment, Ann

  27. I make these every year at Christmas. They are delicious and a family favorite. However being from Michigan we call them Wolverines!!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      This cracked me up…brilliant!

  28. Really enjoyed your post and I’ll be sure to make the recipe. My husband has a definite weakness for peanut butter and chocolate. I’ll certainly keep your post in mind while I bake….

  29. I loved your guest post!! I have been the official buckeye maker in my family for 25 years, and I laughed until I cried as I read your saga! I have started to share my buckeye making tradition with my niece. Love the memories! Darren sounds like a good man! Merry Christmas!

  30. Kathleen G says:

    Good morning Elizabeth, in one of my cookie recipe, I need to refrigerate the dough and what a difference too! I love your story about your grandma and the tinsel tree, wonderful memories ( cute picture of you ). A beautiful idea to continue on gifting the buckeye cookies with your boyfriend ( I had to laugh about his conversation to his dad ) Merry Christmas!
    Kathleen in Az

  31. While i am not a buckeye candy fan, I enjoyed your post. Great job!