This buckeye candy recipe is one that my family has used for many years. These chocolate peanut butter balls are especially popular in Ohio (the Buckeye State), but the combination of peanut butter and chocolate in this easy candy recipe is irresistible no matter where you grew up. This is an easy buckeye recipe without shortening.
I grew up in an Air Force family, and we were stationed in Ohio twice when I was a kid. Buckeye candies were always a staple of holiday cookie and candy trays there; the buckeye is the state tree of Ohio. The love of these chocolate covered, creamy peanut butter balls extends far past the borders of Ohio, of course. I remember my grandmother in Iowa making them at Christmastime. My peanut butter buckeyes recipe comes from deep in our family archives, and has been a favorite every holiday season for decades.
What is Buckeye Candy?
Buckeye candies are homemade peanut butter and chocolate candies that look like the buckeye nuts (actually seeds) from the American buckeye tree. The peanut butter balls are only partially dipped in chocolate, leaving a circle of the lighter peanut butter visible, so that the candy looks like real buckeyes (which are toxic, and should not be eaten). If you like reese’s peanut butter cups, you'll love this easy buckeye recipe.
Buckeye candies are gluten free and no-bake, and are a lovely addition to any holiday sweets tray.
Ohio Buckeye Candy Recipe
- 1 pound powdered sugar (also known as confectioners' sugar)
- 1 stick of butter (113 grams, or a half cup butter), softened
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Melting chocolates
How to Make the Best Buckeye Recipe
Start by creaming together the peanut butter and softened butter. My favorite recipe calls for regular peanut butter, but you can use crunchy peanut butter if you want to. Some people also like to add rice krispies to the peanut butter mixture, but I like a creamy peanut butter center best.
Add the salt and vanilla and mix.
Add the powdered sugar and mix until it is combined and has a stiff cookie-dough-like texture.
Form into 1-inch balls. I used my small cookie scoop and cut each scoop in half to get peanut butter balls that were the perfect size.
Don't worry if your peanut butter filling balls are a little wonky in shape--so are real buckeyes! Arrange them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
Melt melting chocolates to coat the peanut butter balls. I like Ghirardelli brand melting chocolates the best (WAY better than Wilton). They melt beautifully and taste delicious.
No need to use a double boiler to melt chocolate melts, either. You can just melt them in the microwave.
Can I use Chocolate Chips instead of Melting Chocolates to make Buckeye Candy?
Yes, absolutely! I have a number of truly old recipes for buckeyes, passed down from relatives and from old church cookbooks and the like. Most of them actually call for using melted chocolate chips, melted together with a couple Tablespoons of paraffin wax. I don't have paraffin wax on hand, and I do have nice chocolate melts (which are already formulated not to need additives like wax or complicated techniques like tempering chocolate). That's why I went with the chocolate melts.
But if you want to use semisweet chocolate chips to make the chocolate coating, you absolutely can. If you don't have paraffin wax, you can microwave chocolate chips and thin the melted chocolate and make it easier for dipping by mixing in a Tablespoon or two of oil, vegetable shortening, or coconut oil. Vegetable oils help to keep the melted chocolate smooth and easy to cover the peanut butter balls, thins out the chocolate a bit so you can get a nice, thin chocolate shell.
You can also melt milk chocolate or dark chocolate instead of semisweet chocolate chips if you prefer.
Use a toothpick to dip the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate, taking care to leave a circle of the peanut butter visible at the top of the buckeye.
Line baking sheets with parchment paper or wax paper so that you'll be able to easily remove the finished buckeye candies.
Let excess chocolate drip off of the peanut butter ball so you don't end up with a big puddle of chocolate at the bottom of the candy. I'm still working on this and a bunch of my buckeyes definitely have little chocolate feet. At least they're still delicious!
Put in the fridge to set the chocolate.
After the chocolate has hardened, you can smush the peanut butter a bit to hide the hole left by the toothpick.
How to Store Buckeye Candy
Buckeye candies should be kept in the refrigerator. This is probably because all of the recipes I have call for using melted chocolate chips, which brings the chocolate out of temper. Keeping the buckeye candies in the fridge will ensure that the chocolate has a nice snap, even without being tempered.
If you wanted to temper your chocolate, you could get a similar result at room temperature, too. Someday I'll have my pastry-chef mother teach me how to temper chocolate. But it hasn't happened yet, so in the fridge they go.
This simple buckeye recipe always remind me of Christmases in Ohio in my childhood. Do you have a favorite treat that reminds you of the Christmases of your childhood?
If you'd like a recipe for healthy buckeye balls (or at least a healthier version), I have a delicious recipe for those, too.
Free, Printable, One Page Version of the Buckeye Balls Recipe:
I love this flavor combination so much! I think I'm going to try making buckeye cookies next.
Other Sweet Treats for Christmas from the Festive Christmas Ideas Blog Hop:
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3. Domestic Deadline, Easy Rustic Plum Pie
4. Christmas Tree Lane, Low Carb Shortbread Cookies
5. Creative Cynchronicity, Russian Tea Cakes
6. Farm Girl Reformed, Recipe for Sweet Popcorn with Nuts
7. Purple Hues and Me, Christmas Light Bulb Cookies
8. As For Me and My Homestead, Christmas Sprinkle Cookies
9. Little Vintage Cottage, Keto-friendly Christmas Sweet Treats
10. From House To Home, Cranberry and White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
11. Pretty DIY Home, Traditional Gingerbread Cake with Caramel Sauce
12. Coffee With Us 3, Gingerbread Chai Cheesecake Cups
13. My Humble Home and Garden, How To Make Madeleines
14. An Alli Event, Best Doubletree Chocolate Chip Cookies (copycat)
15. Interior Frugalista, Easy Mini Cranberry Eggnog Bread
16. Simply Inspired Meals, Christmas Snack Mix
17. Craft Rocker, Elf Christmas Treats Jar
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19. Mom Home Guide, Festive Homemade Granny Smith Apple Crisp Recipe
20. Across the Blvd, Coconut Pecan Bites
21. EyeLoveKnots, Through the Window Hand Towel (Free Crochet Pattern)
22. What's A Girl To Do, Almond Crisps
23. Tikkido, Buckeye Candy Recipe (Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls) (Hey, that's this post!)
24. Domestically Creative, Red Velvet White Chip Cookies
25. Our Sutton Place, Easy Gingerbread House Cupcakes
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