Buckeyes: A Family Tradition

I know, I know- I just finished telling you that I was through with peanut butter posts for a while. Then I realized it was mid-November. In my husband’s family that means buckeyes. Lots and lots of buckeyes. If you are not from Ohio you may not be familiar with this term, but it is basically a smooth, dense peanut butter filling dipped in chocolate to resemble a buckeye (the nut from Ohio’s state tree).

Each year I join my mother-in-law to make hundreds of these little sweets. They are always at our Thanksgiving table and ready to give out by the plateful to friends and neighbors for Christmas. We take a day all to ourselves to mix and dip and drizzle and catch up with one another. But this recipe has another special story. I’ll let my mother-in-law tell it:

The original recipe is scrawled in my husband’s grandmother’s handwriting in 1963, and also includes his toddler doodles from 20 years later.

One day, close to Christmas 1963, my mom’s friend Olga called and said she had a candy recipe that was very easy to make and delicious. Mom asked me to run and get a piece of paper on which she could write the recipe.  I was 12 at the time, and was doing my homework at the desk by the phone, so I ripped off a piece of my notebook paper and gave it to her.  After writing the recipe down, I was sent to the corner store for the ingredients. Mom’s original idea was to have all us kids sit around the table with her, rolling the little balls.  My brothers, ages 14 and 16, weren’t into fun little family projects, especially if it had to do with cooking. So, Mom, my sister, and I sat down and began rolling the bon bons [buckeyes].  My sister, two years younger than I, ate most of the dough, so she was encouraged to go out and play.  That left Mom and me. We sat around the table, rolling the dough into balls, dipping them into the chocolate mixture, and really having a good time, laughing and sharing.  The time seemed to fly by.

As is usually the case, everyone mysteriously reappears when the food is ready. My Mom’s friend was true to her word….they were a big success! Of course, you can make them any time of the year, but Mom and I decided to make them only at Christmas time.   This is a tradition she and I continued until she passed away in 1999.  I continue on with the tradition myself and think of Mom every time I pull out the recipe, which is still on the original piece of homework paper. The paper is brown with age and there is black marker on it where my son made beautiful drawings when he was about two. The 50-year-old recipe will always have a special place in my heart.

So you can see why this is a special holiday recipe to me. I am sharing it with you as part of Macy’s Cook, Share, Celebrate campaign. They are inviting you to share your favorite holiday recipes at their Recipe Share Facebook Page for a chance to win a $1000 Macy’s gift card, dinner with a renowned Macy’s Culinary Council chef, including Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Cat Cora or Todd English, and other fabulous prizes.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED Macy’s is also giving one reader of In Katrina’s Kitchen their choice of a Ceramic Covered Casserole Dish, Hard Anodized Fry Pans (set of 3), or Stainless Steel 15″ Roaster with Roasting Rack {all from their Martha Stewart Professional Cookware line}.

Peanut Butter Buckeyes Candy Recipe

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Creamy peanut butter candies dipped in chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb butter, softened
  • 3 lbs powdered sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla
  • 16 oz peanut butter
  • Milk chocolate for dipping

Directions:

  1. Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla until creamy. Add peanut butter and incorporate until smooth. (This is all best done with your hands.)
  2. Roll into balls and dip into melted milk chocolate.