Peanut Butter Buckeyes are a creamy peanut butter and sweet chocolate match made in heaven. They are melt-in-your-mouth good and easy to make ahead with just a few simple ingredients.
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
Peanut Butter Buckeyes feature a soft and creamy peanut butter center with a decadent chocolate exterior. If you're a fan of classic peanut butter cups, you will LOVE these, as every bite features that classic peanut butter and chocolate combination.
They're easy to make with just a few pantry ingredients and no baking necessary. Plus, they freeze beautifully and keep well in the refrigerator, making them super easy to make ahead for the holidays.
Peanut Butter Buckeyes make an excellent homemade gift, treat for cookie exchanges, or a pretty plate for your holiday dessert table.
Why Are They Called Buckeyes
There is actually a tree called a buckeye tree, or Aesculus, which produces nuts that resemble these little peanut butter buckeye treats remarkably closely. The tree was given its name because they have dark brown nuts that resemble a deer's eye.
So peanut butter buckeyes have their name from the nut that they look very similar to and also because they have the dark brown coloring of deer eyes.
What is the Best Kind of Chocolate to Use for Peanut Butter Buckeyes?
My biggest chocolate recommendation is that you use a high quality bar of chocolate rather than chocolate chips. Chocolate chips are often lower quality chocolate with additives to help them hold shape with is not what we want here. When a dessert recipe, has so few ingredients, it's important the ingredients are higher quality since we will really taste them.
That being said, you can use any type of high quality chocolate you'd like, including dark, semi-sweet, or even milk chocolate.
Do I Need to Temper the Chocolate?
No, the chocolate does not need to be tempered (and I usually don't for the sake of time).
Tempered chocolate also can't be refrigerated, so if you plan on having these around for more than one or two days, skip the tempering for this one.
How to Dip Peanut Butter Buckeyes in Chocolate
Chocolate dipping can look intimidating, but it's actually pretty straightforward.
- Use chopped pure baking chocolate or chocolate melting wafers. These types of chocolate will melt smoother and easier than other types such as chocolate chips.
- In a microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals, then stir after each one. Chocolate will seize, or harden and burn, if cooked too long. The 30 second intervals will prevent it from cooking too long, and prevent hot spots from the microwave from forming and causing your chocolate to seize.
- When the chocolate is melted, set a chilled peanut butter ball on a fork (the flat part. Don't stab it.) Dip the chilled peanut butter balls into the melted chocolate, and scrape the bottom of the fork on the bowl to remove excess chocolate.
- Use a toothpick to slide the buckeye off the fork onto the wax paper. Allow to set at room temperature.
What Can I Do if My Chocolate Seized?
Seizing is when the chocolate seems to be smooth and melting, and then suddenly it changes to stiff and grainy. It happens rapidly, stiffening up, which is where it gets the name seizing.
Unfortunately, if your chocolate has seized, there is no fixing it. You will have to throw it out and start again. However, here are some steps to prevent it.
- Microwave in small increments of 15 to 30 seconds, as recommended in the recipe. It might go faster in longer increments, but it also has a higher risk of burning or seizing.
- Be sure there's no moisture. Moisture is the biggest cause of seizing. Make sure the bowl you use is clean and dry, and the utensil you're using to stir is also dry.
- Have back up chocolate. Chocolate can be temperamental, so I like to always have extra on hand just in case. Chocolate bars take up very little space and can be stored flat.
Chocolate Dipping Troubleshooting
- My chocolate is too thick: Add 1 teaspoon vegetable oil (or shortening or coconut oil). The oil will thin out the chocolate to the best possible consistency for dipping.
- My chocolate isn't smooth: This could be because it's not all the way melted. It could also be because you cooked it too long and it seized (in which case, you will have to toss it and start over. Seized chocolate can't be saved). If you're confident that neither of these is the issue, it's probably just too thick and you need a teaspoon of oil, like above.
- My chocolate is hardening before I'm finished: You need to work quickly dipping these, but if your chocolate is getting too stiff for dipping, pop it back in the microwave for about 15 seconds. You can also set your bowl in a slightly bigger bowl of hot water to keep the whole bowl warm and the chocolate melty (like a double boiler. Or just use a double boiler if you have one).
- Peanut butter balls are sticking to the dipping tool: Believe it or not, they're probably too cold. Kind of like licking a pole on a freezing cold day. So let them sit out at room temperature for about 5 to 10 minutes and try again.
Do Buckeyes Need to be Refrigerated?
Peanut butter buckeyes can be left on the counter for up to two days. If you plan to serve them later than that or still have some leftover, they need to be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
How to Make Ahead, Store, and Freeze
Make Ahead: You can start this recipe 1 day ahead of time. The shaped peanut butter balls can be chilled in the refrigerator for up to 1 day prior to coating. Peanut Butter buckeyes can also be made up to a week in advance and stored in the refrigerator.
Storage: Store fully prepared buckeyes in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Freezer: Place candies flat on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Freeze for 1 to 2 hours. Then transfer to an airtight freezer container or bag. Freeze the coated candies for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator to use.
Peanut Butter Buckeye Variations
- Balls: Turn these into peanut butter balls by coating the whole ball instead of leaving some open.
- Chocolate: Use your favorite high quality chocolate, including dark, semi-sweet, white, or milk chocolate.
- Sprinkles: Sprinkle some festive sprinkles onto the chocolate while it is still wet.
- Nuts: Add some finely chopped nuts to the peanut butter mixture for a little crunch. You can also add them to the outside of the chocolate before it sets.
- Candies: Add mini chocolate chips or mini M&M's to the peanut butter mixture for some extra fun and crunch.
- Nutella: Use nutella instead of peanut butter for some chocolate-on-chocolate action.
More Candy Recipes You'll Love
- 2 Ingredient Peanut Butter Fudge - the easiest fudge you will ever make with just 2 ingredients and the microwave. Plus it tastes just like old fashioned fudge with none of the effort.
- Divinity Candy - a light, sweet, creamy candy topped with a pecan that's always a hit.
- Microwave Caramels - Caramels made with just a few ingredients, right in the microwave. Yes, it really is that easy!
- Oreo Truffles - Super decadent and creamy Oreo balls dipped in rich chocolate for a simple no-bake dessert.
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles - Peanut butter and chocolate collide again with these peanut butter cookie balls dipped in decadent chocolate.
Peanut Butter Buckeyes Video
Peanut Butter Buckeyes
- 1½ cups creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups powdered sugar (plus up to 1 cup more if necessary)
- 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (chopped if in bar form)
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- In a large mixing bowl, cream together peanut butter and butter until smooth.
- Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat again until smooth. Your mixture should be stiff, like cookie dough and fairly easy to work with. You can add a little more powdered sugar if your mixture is still very sticky.
- Roll the peanut butter mixture into 1-inch balls. Place on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Place chocolate and shortening in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 second intervals, stirring well between each interval, until melted.
- Place a toothpick into each chilled peanut butter ball. Dip each ball into melted chocolate, leaving a little peanut butter peeking out at the top. Remove the toothpick from the buckeyes and gently smudge the tops to get rid of the toothpick holes.
- Place dipped buckeyes back onto lined baking sheet. Refrigerate buckeyes for 30 minutes or until chocolate has completely set before serving.
- Peanut Butter: Don't use the natural kind of peanut butter that's runny and you have to stir. This will not hold its shape well. Natural, no-stir peanut butters will work fine, though.
- Chocolate: Since chocolate is one of the main ingredients here, a high quality chocolate will taste best. However, chocolate chips can also get the job done in a pinch. You can also substitute semi-sweet chocolate for your favorite, such as dark, bittersweet, sweet, or milk chocolate.
- Shortening: This just helps the chocolate be extra silky and smooth. You can also use coconut oil instead of shortening.
- Smooth the toothpick hole with a slightly wet finger of a rubber spatula.
- Speed up the chocolate-hardening process by placing buckeyes in the refrigerator.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- Freezer Directions: Freeze the coated candies for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
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