Try these easy no-bake Buckeyes for the holidays!
Buckeyes are creamy, sweet peanut butter dough balls partially dipped in chocolate to mimic the fruit of the Ohio Buckeye tree. It’s believed the tree nuts were named buckeyes because they resemble the shape and color of a deer’s eye. Whatever the reason, all I can say is these have been a personal favorite since I was a young buckeye (born in Ohio!)
Just guessing here, but there must be 70-hundred-million-zillion recipe variations for this super simple holiday treat! Which one is the best? Well mine of course! Just saying 🙂 Whenever I go to holiday parties, office gatherings, or family throw-downs, if there are Buckeyes on the dessert table I try at least one, or two, or maybe three. Recipe research is essential and sometimes you just have to do a few extra miles on the treadmill and try them all. Yes, I am dedicated to my craft!
With just a few pantry ingredients, it’s amazing how each Buckeye recipe can be so completely different. I adore the perfect balance of sweetness, creaminess and flavor and LOVE the snap of the cold chocolate when biting into a Buckeye. Some recipes add coconut oil to the chocolate used for dipping, and while it makes the chocolate silky smooth and creamy, it’s not as crisp and substantial, which is how I prefer the coating.
I lost my old go-to recipe years ago in a tragic and heartbreaking recycling accident and have been looking for the best Buckeyes ever since. So while developing this recipe, I made numerous batches testing with less sugar, more peanut butter, and more, or less unsalted butter. The final perfected recipe posted here features a simple secret ingredient that made all the difference in the texture of the peanut butter dough balls. I added a few crushed saltine crackers to the dough to add just a touch of salt, and to keep them a little drier, and less greasy. Peanut butter and butter can be a greasy mess if not balanced with the right about of powdered sugar and in this recipe, saltine crackers.
These peanut butter balls have a perfect texture. They hold their shape, freeze beautifully and taste amazing! Nobody can tell I added saltine crackers to the dough; you really can’t taste them at all. The combination of peanut butter and chocolate is hard to resist, at least it is for me. Who doesn’t love peanut butter and chocolate?!
Our Buckeyes can be refrigerated for up to a week, or frozen for up to 1 month. They’re the perfect easy make-ahead treat! We love these straight from the freezer; they’re soft and easy to eat while frozen, and last longer on the dessert table. One word of warning, they’re a bit addictive and that makes it’s hard to stay out of the freezer until you’re ready to serve! I wouldn’t try to ship these as they need to stay cold.
Yield: 48 candies
Prep Time: 10 minutes
- 4 saltine crackers (finely crushed - no chunks)
- 1 1/2 cups peanut butter (I used Jiff - do not use natural PB)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together the crushed crackers, peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Blend on medium until combined. The mixture may appear dry, but keep beating until it forms a soft, but cohesive, dough.
- Using a small cookie scoop, roll dough into 1 1/4-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. Freeze until the dough balls are firm, about 1 hour.
- Microwave 1 cup of the semisweet chocolate chips in a bowl on 50% power, stirring halfway through, until melted, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Using a toothpick, dip chilled balls into the melted chocolate, leaving the top third of the balls uncovered. Return the Buckeyes to the lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is set, about 1 hour.
- NOTES: Buckeyes can be refrigerated for up to 1 week. They can also be frozen for up to 1 month and are perfectly edible straight from the freezer! Just saying 🙂
- I find it best to place the bowl of melted chips inside another similar sized, but larger bowl half filled with hot water. Because we’re dipping cold, frozen balls of dough, the chocolate cools quickly and it’s much harder to coat the balls. Keeping the chocolate warm makes the process go a lot quicker. Take care not to over microwave the chocolate as it can seize up and harden.
Here are a few more peanut butter and chocolate recipes you might enjoy:
- Peanut Butter Blossoms – from Saving Room for Dessert
- No Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bars – from The View from Great Island
- Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Billionaire Bars – from Baking a Moment
- Easy No Bake Peanut Butter Balls – from RecipeGirl