Summer is winding to a close and believe it or not, it’s time to start thinking about the holidays, which is why I’m so excited to share my recipe for a holiday classic: the Buckeye Ball! If you’re not familiar with these little desserts, prepare to enjoy this easy no-bake dessert.
Buckeye balls taste like homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups: they’re creamy, peanut buttery, and dipped in chocolate.
Best of all, these sweet treats, which include a combination of peanut butter and chocolate, don’t require baking or candy thermometers, making them a popular choice around the busy holidays.
Why you will love this recipe
Family Friendly: Buckeye Balls have only 4 ingredients and are a super easy recipe to make with the kids. They will have a blast rolling out the peanut butter balls and dipping them in melted chocolate (who needs playdough, anyways?).
Holiday Food Gifting: Buckeye Ball candies make great gifts for coworkers, friends, and neighbors, and they are a simple and fun addition to any dessert tray.
There are many ways to decorate this classic treat, and because they can be made in advance, it’s one more thing marked off your “To Do” list!
To get started, gather this handful of ingredients that make up the buckeye balls recipe:
- peanut butter: smooth peanut butter of the creamy variety.
- powdered sugar: also called confectioner’s sugar.
- butter: melted
- chocolate chips – There are a variety of classic chocolate ways to ensure a great melt. Use cups chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, baking chocolate, dark chocolate or even white chocolate. Pick one of the types of chocolate that you love!
- wax paper – Wax paper or parchment paper works great to keep balls from sticking while they firm.
- toothpicks – Dipping the peanut butter balls in chocolate work really well with toothpicks. Additionally a fork may be used.
How to make Buckeye Balls
- Line a baking sheet with wax parchment paper. Set aside. Mix peanut butter, butter, and powdered sugar together until combined well and smooth.
- Use a tablespoon portion scoop to scoop dough into balls.
- Roll tablespoon-sized balls into a smooth ball with the palms of your hands.
- Place peanut butter mixture onto prepared cookie sheet. Freeze for at least 1 hour or overnight to ensure a stiff dough prior to covering with milk chocolate.
- Place chocolate in a microwave-safe medium bowl and heat at 50% power for 60 seconds. Stir well and return to microwave for the same time and powder. Stir until completely melted. Line a baking sheet or cutting board with wax paper (or parchment paper) and set it aside. Dip ball into melted chocolate immersing about 2/3 of the way, use a fork to pick up the ball, and scrape the bottom of the chocolate on the side of the bowl to get rid of excess chocolate.
- Place buckeye candy onto a prepared baking sheet. Refrigerate until hard and chocolate is set.
How to know if you need more powdered sugar.
I ended up using 3 cups of powdered sugar but started with 2-1/2. The mixture should not stick to your hands. It should hold up when you roll into a ball and place it onto a baking sheet.
It will slump slightly, but not much. If it sticks to your hands, or if it slumps a lot, add more powdered sugar.
Expert Recipe Tips
- The easiest way to dip the peanut butter dough into the melted chocolate is to use a toothpick. Smooth out the toothpick hole after dipping.
- Before rolling out the peanut butter balls, grease your hands with leftover melted butter. This will prevent the dough from sticking as you roll it in your palms.
- DON’T SKIP the freezing step! I know it’s tempting, but chilling the balls is a MUST if you want the peanut butter dough to hold up to the melted chocolate when it’s dipped!
- If your dough mixture isn’t sticking together well enough, you can add more powdered sugar, a tablespoon at a time, until you get the right consistency.
- Coarse sea-salt and caramel are two delicious variations that can be added separately or together for a sweet and salty mix-up to your peanut butter balls.
Why are they called Buckeye Balls?
These candies are called Buckeyes because they resemble the nut from the Buckeye Tree, the state tree of Ohio. Lucky for us, the similarities stop there: while real Buckeye nuts are toxic, our peanut butter Buckeyes will only make you feel sick if you eat the whole batch in one sitting!
What type of peanut butter makes the best homemade Buckeye Ball?
Use creamy peanut butter rather than a crunchy variety. Because you want the extra sweetness I recommend choosing a type of peanut butter with added sugars, like Skippy or Jif rather than a “natural” type. You’ll also want a variety that is labeled “no-stir” which will give you the correct consistency.
How to store Buckeye Balls
Store your leftover Buckeye Balls in a zip lock bag or an airtight container (covered container) in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
Can you decorate Peanut Butter Balls?
Buckeye Balls are easy to spruce up, and the decorations can be delicious as well as pretty. Perfect as a substitute to holiday cookies, sprinkles, crushed nuts, or crumbled cookies will all work perfectly as extra flavor and pretty decoration. Simply add your choice of decoration right after dipping the peanut butter balls in chocolate and allow to set. Alternatively, you can use white chocolate or colored candy melts in place of regular chocolate chips.
- Christmas Holiday Party: regular chocolate with red/green sprinkles
- New Years: white chocolate with edible gold sprinkle stars
- Valentine’s Day: white chocolate with pink sprinkles
- Fourth of July: white chocolate with red and blue sprinkles
- Popcorn Balls with Marshmallows
- Tanghulu Strawberries
- Chocolate covered Strawberries for Halloween (Ghosts)
- No Bake Golden Oreo Truffle Balls
- Red Velvet Cake Balls
- Homemade Buttermints
- Oven Baked Candied Pecans
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