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December 24, 2010

Hey look! I made it to [the first round of] my Christmas recipes, and it’s not even Christmas yet! I rule.

I decided to make sweet stuff for a couple of my friends this year. And by that I mean I had a lot of baking recipes that I wanted to try and needed an excuse to churn them all out in once. But hey, who’s gonna complain about that, right? (Don’t worry, I tested all the results before giving them out to make sure they were serviceable as gifts. I’m thoughtful that way.)

And so, it’s peanut-butta-chocolate time! I knew I wanted to try these as soon as Deb posted them on her blog, Smitten Kitchen. I’d been making those candies involving mixing Rice Krispies with peanut butter and Fluff, rolling it into balls, and dipping them in chocolate for the past few Christmases, and I was intrigued by this variation. Also, I’ve always seen buckeyes by the checkout counter near where we stay every summer in Vermont, but I’ve never had the guts to buy one of the shiny, plastic-wrapped things.

My mom, seeing the marks left by the fondue fork I’d been using to dip, said, “They have faces!” So I went with it, and may or may not have consciously exaggerated it by adding eyes. I’m just classy like that.
But it seemed kind of hard to lose with these ones. Cream cheese, graham crackers, *and* peanut butter? I mean, come on. It may sound like an odd combo, but it all worked together pretty perfectly—not as sweet as I’d feared, just peanut buttery and almost earthy-like. And then I realized that Lisa, one of those said friends, was from Ohio, where buckeyes are born and bred, and probably never wanted to see another one of them again. My bad! Still (maybe) worth it.

1/4 cup (2 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (from about 14 graham crackers [by that I think she means graham cracker halves—like, the squares, not the rectangles—because that’s how it wound up working out for me])
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
12 oz. dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped

1. To make the filling, in the bowl of an electric mixer [or by hand], beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together until combined. Add the graham cracker crumbs and beat for 10 seconds. Add the sugar and butter and mix on the lowest speed until the sugar stops floating, then increase the speed until the ingredients are combined. Scrape down the whole bowl well, then mix again. The mixture will be quite sturdy and a little dry.
2. To make the coating, melt the chocolate either in a double boiler, stirring until it’s completely smooth, or in a microwave in 30, then 10, second increments, stirring before you start it again until it’s completely smooth. Let it cool to tepid while you shape the peanut butter centers.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scoop out slightly more than one tablespoon’s worth of filling and use your hands to form it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared sheet and repeat the process until all of the candies have been shaped.
4. Using a fork or a large skewer [I used a fondue fork], dip each ball into the chocolate and roll it about so that almost the entire candy is coated, leaving a small circle uncoated. Chill until set, about 30 minutes.

Source: Smitten Kitchen

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