Quick and Yummy Peanut Butter Buckeyes
Recipes that Deliver a BIG ROI (Return on Investment)
Baking Christmas cookies can be a great way to involve kids in your Christmas preparation while knocking "gifts for the neighbors" off of the grand to-do list. It can also be a great way to wreak havoc on your kitchen and your time. Sugar "cut-out" cookies, in particular, are my idea of a nightmare. Make the dough, chill the dough, roll the dough out, cut the cookies out, bake the cookies, decorate the cookies, clean, clean, clean.... Seriously. Who has time for that? I've been a stay-at-home mom, and I've worked at an office, too. Neither occupation leaves time for that kind of bologna.
What you really need, is a recipe that is quick, delicious, and makes a huge number of cookies. Peanut Butter Buckeyes. (Bonus if you're from Ohio, like I am!) These chocolate-covered-peanut-butter-nuggets-from-heaven are always on my short list.Their candy-esque consistency is a definite crowd-pleaser and a favorite for the kids. Even better, you can throw these puppies into a small Christmas tin and refrigerate/freeze them until you're ready to deliver them to the lucky recipients.
Have your kids join you in the ball making, or if they're old enough, dipping the centers into the chocolate. Just be prepared for some sticky hands. One recipe reviewer said that she found it easiest to wear rubber gloves. It might be even easier to have your kids wear the gloves. Better yet, just wrap your entire kitchen in plastic wrap and then, when it's all over, just hose it down.
I've seen recipes for Buckeyes that include some paraffin wax mixed with chocolate, apparently helping the coating adhere easily to the peanut butter center and giving it a shinier luster. Something about eating wax just doesn't sit well with me, so I prefer to use the following recipe, which is straight from Jif. If anyone knows peanut butter, it's Jif. Obviously, I always double it. If you're going to go there, go big. This is going to make plenty of Buckeyes... plenty!
Word of caution -- Stop yourself after you eat three. There. I warned you.
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
- 1 1/2 cups Jif Creamy Peanut Butter
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 12 oz package semi-sweet or bittersweet (or both!) chocolate chips
- 1 Tablespoon shortening
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Combine peanut butter, butter, vanilla, and salt in large mixer bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on low until blended. Add 2 cups of powdered sugar, beating (again, on LOW or you'll have powdered sugar all over the kitchen) until mixture, when shaped into a ball, will stay on a toothpick. I ended up using all 3 cups to get the right consistency. Using a slightly mounded teaspoonful of batter, shape into 3/4 inch balls. (The ratio of chocolate to peanut butter ends up best with a 3/4 inch ball. 1-inch centers are just too big.) Place the balls on the baking sheet and put a toothpick into each one. Freeze them for about 15 minutes.
- Place chocolate chips and shortening in the top of a double-boiler. (Don't have a double-boiler? Neither do I. I made my own by putting a couple of inches of water in a tall pan and put a metal bowl on top. Just don't let the bottom of the bowl sit in the water, it should be heated by the steam, not the water.) Bring the water to a boil, then take it off the heat and put the metal bowl on top. Keep stirring and melt that chocolate. When it's melted, take it off the top of the pot.
- Hold one of the balls by the toothpick and dip it in the melted chocolate until it's covered about 3/4 of the way. Leave the top uncovered to resemble a Buckeye. Let the excess drip off and place it back on the waxed paper-lined tray. If the chocolate starts to get cold and thick, bring the water back to a boil, and reheat the chocolate.
- Refrigerate until firm. Remove the toothpicks and smooth over the holes.