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.
(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!
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.”
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
- 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)
In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla.
Add powdered sugar. The dough might be crumbly at first, but it should all come together after everything is evenly mixed.
Refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Your buckeye balls will have a more even shape if you form them with chilled dough.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*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!