Peanut butter buckeyes are a family favorite Christmas treat. Sweet peanut butter balls dipped in rich chocolate – what’s not to love?
Growing up my favorite Christmas sweet treat was always my mom’s peanut butter buckeyes.
They are a staple for ANYONE celebrating Christmas in Ohio.
How could someone from the Buckeye state not indulge in the candy version of the famous buckeye?
If you’re not sure what a real buckeye is it’s the nut from the buckeye tree! Which of course, is the Ohio state tree! And the name of The Ohio State mascot Brutus the Buckeye!
For some reason, this candy treat was only made around Christmas so to me this a full-on Christmas treat.
But, they can be enjoyed year-round as well.
I always get irrationally upset anytime I see someone make a random peanut butter and chocolate dessert and call it buckeye cake/brownies/cookies.
In order to call it a buckeye, it needs to look like the actual buckeye nut.
This is a weird hill I will die on.
What is a peanut butter buckeye?
Simply put it’s a sweet peanut butter ball dipped 3/4 of the way in chocolate.
They are the PERFECT holiday tray treat and something I grew up with every single Christmas. They are so good!
What is a real buckeye?
It’s a small hard nut that falls from the buckeye tree.
This is the state tree of Ohio so growing up these trees are EVERYWHERE. We used to collect the nuts for decoration or to throw at our siblings.
They are very similar in looks to a chestnut but with a lighter colored center.
These candies are the perfect sweet interpretation.
Can I use different nut butter?
Yes, but you’ll need to make a few changes.
Because most natural nut butter contain a lot of oil they tend to be looser than most processed peanut butter.
That means the buckeye ball will be harder to form and keep its shape at room temperature.
You should add something like almond flour or almond meal to help bring a little more stability to the mixture.
Can I use natural peanut butter?
Yes, but again you’ll want to follow the same directions as substituting to alternate nut butter.
My main reason for using “processed” peanut butter is because it’s smooth and less oily than natural peanut butter.
This results in an easier to make candy.
Can I make this vegan?
You’ll want to swap in maple syrup for the powdered sugar, make sure to use vegan chocolate, and again add a little almond flour or almond meal to the natural peanut butter to help give the buckeye shape.
This will substantially change the original recipe but you should still be able to get a tasty vegan peanut butter buckeye that looks and tastes just as great.
How do I store buckeyes?
Typically I store them in an airtight container in a cool room for a few weeks.
I will usually line a storage container with parchment paper and store them in 2 layers per container.
Can I freeze peanut butter buckeyes?
Yes! One of my favorite things is to make these about a month before Christmas, store them tightly in airtight containers and then let them come to room temperature before serving.
They freeze beautifully and taste just as good as the day you made them.
I have frozen them for up to 3 months but typically try to eat them all within a month for optimal taste and texture.
What is couverture chocolate?
Couverture chocolate is high-quality chocolate that has a higher amount of cocoa butter which makes it the perfect chocolate for dipping your buckeyes or any other type of dipped candy.
What if I can’t find couverture chocolate?
I have found couverture chocolate at my local bakery store but I realize that is not an option for everyone.
You can easily find it on Amazon or you can use chocolate almond bark which is a vegetable oil chocolate-flavored solid that can be melted down and used for dipping.
You can also melt down chocolate chips and add in 1/4 cup coconut oil or vegetable shortening per pound of chocolate.
The reason you’ll want to thin out “normal” chocolate is that it will coat the candy in a thicker shell than needed.
Plus, it’s easier to dip when you’re not trying to wipe off thick drips of chocolate.
Love my homemade peanut butter buckeyes?
Why not try a few of my other delicious holiday desserts!
- Cream Sherry Bundt Cake
- Christmas Piecaken
- Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies
- Brown Sugar Pecan Toffee
- Praline Pecans
- 16 ounces creamy peanut butter
- 8 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5-6 cups powdered sugar
- 1 pound semisweet couverture chocolate (you can also use chocolate confectionery coating or add vegetable shortening/coconut oil to melted chocolate to thin it out, about a quarter cup per pound of chocolate, add more if necessary)
Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer add peanut butter, softened unsalted butter, and vanilla extract.
Using the paddle attachment, mix until smooth.
Slowly mix in the powdered sugar until it form into a thick stiff dough. This usually takes a minimum of 5 cups of powdered sugar.
I know the dough is ready when I can roll it into a ball and it will be able to hold it's shape and not feel too soft.
Roll 2 teaspoons of dough into a round ball and set on the parchment paper.
When all the dough is rolled add the rolled balls to the freezer or refridgerator to cool for at least an hour.
When you're reading to dip your buckeyes add your chocolate to a microwave safe bowl and cook in 30 second increments until fully melted, about 60-90 seconds total. Making sure to stir the chocolate fully in between each 30 second increment.
Remove the balls from the refridgerator and stick a toothpick into the center of the ball.
Dip the buckeye 3/4 of the way in the melted chocolate, making sure to leave the middle of the buckeye exposed like in the photo, using another toothpick scrape the bottom of the buckeye to remove any extra dripping chocolate, and add the buckeye back to the sheet pan lined with parchment paper to help set up.
Continue until all the buckeyes have been dipped. If the balls become too soft while dipping pop them back in the fridge or freezer for a few minutes to help firm up.
Let the balls harden in the refrigerator for at least 45 minutes before serving.
Use normal peanut butter vs. natural peanut butter. It holds up better to the process.
I can find couverture chocolate at my local bakery supply store but you can also use chocolate almond bark for dipping, or add 1/4 cup vegetable shortening or coconut oil to every 1 pound melted chocolate.
You can leave the hole at the top of the buckeye or gently press on the ball to cover the hole.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 48 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 408Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 54mgCarbohydrates: 76gFiber: 1gSugar: 73gProtein: 3g
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.