Buckeyes – Creamy Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Balls, also known as ‘Buckeyes’, are sweet treats that are made with creamy peanut butter and coated with a layer of melted, semi-sweet chocolate.

There is actually a scientific reason that people love the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. It’s called Dynamic Sensory Contrast. It has to do with our taste buds loving contrasting textures. But, I don’t need a scientific explanation as to why I love this combination so much. I just do! I can’t say no to candy with this perfect combination.

Buckeyes - Creamy Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Balls Ingredients
Room Temperature Ingredients: Using room temperature butter will help you get the best results when making these candies. Butter is at room temperature at 65°F. Don’t put it in the microwave to soften it; simply cut it up into small pieces and let it sit out if you forgot to take it out of the refrigerator.

Peanut Butter: I prefer using creamy peanut butter in these candies. But, you could get away with crunchy if that is what you have on hand.

Chocolate: Look for baking chocolate to use as the coating on these candies. I prefer semi-sweet chocolate for just enough sweetness. Stay away from chocolate chips; they don’t melt and coat as well.

Nuts: Chopped peanuts are optional to add right after you coat the peanut butter in chocolate. This gives the treat a little crunch.

Buckeyes - Creamy Peanut Butter Balls

Peanut Butter Filling
The first step in making these candies is to make the filling. It does have to chill for at least an hour, so keep that in mind. In fact, these treats are perfect to prepare ahead of time since the filling can be kept in the refrigerator overnight.

To make the filling, beat the peanut butter and room temperature butter. Next, add the confectioners’ sugar, a half cup at a time. Beat on low for about a minute. Then, increase the speed to high and continue to beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, up to overnight.

When ready, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and remove the chilled peanut butter filling from the refrigerator. Form the filling into 1-tablespoon balls. If the filling is too sticky to work with, add some confectioners’ sugar to your hands. Set the rolled peanut butter balls onto the lined baking sheet place them in the freezer to harden as you prepare the chocolate coating.

Buckeyes - Creamy Peanut Butter Balls

Chocolate Coating
There are a couple of ways you can melt chocolate while the peanut butter balls are in the freezer. You can melt it in the microwave or use the double boiler method.

Melting Chocolate in the Microwave

To melt the chocolate in the microwave, add the chopped chocolate and oil into a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the chocolate in 20-second increments, stirring after every 20 seconds, until melted. Once melted and smooth, let the chocolate sit for about 5 minutes before dipping the peanut butter balls.

Double Boiler Method for Melting Chocolate

Using the double boiler method helps ensure that the chocolate is not burned and the gently melted chocolate will be smooth and shiny. And, you don’t need any fancy kitchen gadgets to use this method.

To melt the chocolate, fill a pot about halfway full of water. Bring it to a simmer over low heat. Find a heat-safe bowl (glass or stainless steel) that can be set into the pot. Make sure the bottom of the pot is not touching the water. The steam is what will melt the chocolate.

Add the chocolate and oil to the heat-safe bowl. With the heat on low, use a rubber spatula to stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Again, once melted, let the chocolate cool for a few minutes before dipping the peanut butter balls into it.

Buckeyes - Creamy Peanut Butter Balls

How to Make Peanut Butter Balls {Buckeyes}
The final step in making these candies is to get the peanut butter balls coated in the melted chocolate. To do this, coat each ball with chocolate one at a time. In fact, I would only remove a few peanut butter balls from the freezer at a time. Otherwise, they will start melting and get too messy and sticky to handle.

Gently drop the peanut butter ball into the melted chocolate. Make sure the ball is completely coated in chocolate. (Note: For a true Buckeye, leave some peanut butter exposed so it looks more like the buckeye nut.)

With a fork, carefully lift the coated peanut butter out of the chocolate. Use a toothpick or another fork to slide the candy back onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. If you are adding chopped peanuts, place them on top of the candies while the chocolate is still melted. Place the candies in the refrigerator for about half an hour, or until the chocolate has set.

Store the candies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Freeze them for up to 3 months. If freezing the candies, be sure to label and date the freezer-safe container. When ready to eat, let them thaw in the refrigerator.

Buckeyes - Creamy Peanut Butter Balls

INGREDIENTS

PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups (250g) confectioners’ sugar

CHOCOLATE COATING

  • 4 bars (4 ounces each) semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
  • 1-3 teaspoons vegetable oil, as needed for thinning chocolate
  • crushed or finely chopped peanuts, for topping (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

PEANUT BUTTER FILLING

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or in a large bowl using a handheld mixer), beat the peanut butter and butter until creamy (about 2 minutes).

Working 1/2 cup at a time, add the confectioners’ sugar. Beat on low for about a minute and then increase to high until smooth and creamy (about 3 minutes).

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place the peanut butter mixture in the refrigerator to chill for one hour, up to 24 hours.

When ready, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and remove the chilled peanut butter mixture from the refrigerator.

Scoop out the peanut butter mixture with a one tablespoon scoop and roll it into a ball. Place it on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining peanut butter mixture.

Place the peanut butter balls in the freezer to chill while you prepare the chocolate coating.

CHOCOLATE COATING

While the peanut butter balls are in the freezer, melt the chocolate. Add the chocolate pieces and oil to a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in 20-second increments, stirring after every 20 seconds, until the chocolate is melted and creamy. Let it sit for about 5 minutes to cool before dipping the peanut butter balls.

ASSEMBLY

Remove the peanut butter from the freezer. (It’s helpful to only remove a few peanut butter balls at a time to prevent melting.) Working one at a time, gently drop the balls into the melted chocolate, making sure they are completely covered in chocolate.

Using a fork, lift out the chocolate-covered peanut butter balls. Use a toothpick or another fork to slide the peanut butter balls onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. (You may need to reheat the chocolate to keep it a thin mixture.) Add the nuts at this point, if using.

Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes, or until the chocolate has set.

Store candies in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Buckeyes - Creamy Peanut Butter Balls

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