I know that making candy isn’t exactly baking, but I feel that all sweet creations fall into the same category: deliciousness. These chocolate-covered peanut butter balls definitely fall into that category. I have been making them for as long as I can remember, turning the process into second nature to me. I have seen similar recipes that have had all sorts of names, but where I’m from they are called Buckeyes. I typically only make them once a year at Christmas; I’m not exactly sure why I don’t make them more often, after all, they are extremely easy and everyone thinks that they are wonderful, plus one recipe makes about 100 candies, which last quite a while. Maybe it’s the thought of rolling all of those little peanut butter balls by hand, even though it doesn’t take very long and is so very worth the work. I decided to make them this week as a “thank you” for a friend who did me a favor. He first had them last Christmas, and loved them as everyone does: they are usually the first to be devoured from my Christmas candy tray.
Here’s what you need:
2 sticks margarine, softened
1 jar (16 oz) creamy peanut butter
16 to 24 oz of powdered sugar
1 package chocolate almond bark
toothpicks (for dipping)
wax paper (for drying)
Here’s what you do:
With an electric mixer (trust me, you do not want to mix this by hand), combine the margarine and peanut butter in a large bowl. Mix until very creamy and completely combined. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in 16 oz (1 pound) of powdered sugar. Once combined, the mixture should be firm enough to roll into balls, but not crumble; I think of it as the consistency of play dough. If the mixture is too sticky slowly add more powdered sugar, if it is too dry add more peanut butter. Roll the finished peanut butter mixture into small balls, about an inch in diameter, and place on a wax paper lined jelly roll pan (cookie sheet with sides). At this point, I like to place my peanut butter balls into the freezer for anywhere from an hour to over night. This lets them firm up a bit, which will make dipping them in the chocolate much easier.
After the peanut butter has had a chance to freeze, melt the chocolate almond bark in a glass bowl in the microwave according to the directions on the package. Make sure not to use anything plastic here or the almond bark will seize up, which is irreversible. While doing this, place sheets of wax paper over your work surface in preparation for the dipped candies. Once the chocolate is melted, remove the peanut butter balls from the freezer and begin dipping them by inserting a toothpick into the top of one of the “naked” buckeyes and dipping it in the melted chocolate, covering about 2/3 of the peanut butter. Place the now-covered buckeye onto the wax paper and remove the toothpick to use on the next peanut butter ball. Repeat this process until all of your peanut butter balls are covered.
The only thing left to do is eat them, which you can do right away. By the time you dip the last buckeye, the first one will be set up and ready to be enjoyed. I like mine to be cold when I eat them, so I keep them in the refrigerator, but to each her own.