Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How to make buckeyes

I thought I'd share the process for making buckeyes, the delicious confections named because of their similarity in appearance to a nut (that is named because if its similarity in appearance to the eye of a male deer), that contain the "butter" of a different nut, and are in reality just a tasty fast track to diabetes.  To make this more interesting (or pointlessly confusing), we're going to go in reverse, like starting with a fully assembled piece of furniture and ending up with its parts back in the box....except you don't melt the parts of the bookshelf and roll it into little balls and what not.  

(1) To kick us off right, here's an empty soup can full of liquid chocolate.  This is what to do with the leftover melted chocolate chips.  Drinking it is delicious and optional.  Replacing the lid and putting back in the cupboard with the rest of the soup is recommended.  

(2)  This recipe makes a LOT of buckeyes.  By the time you're finished, your fridge will be full of trays like this, and you'll really get an idea of how fat you'll be getting eating all these things throughout the next week or so.  

Once all of them are properly coated in chocolate, they're done!  Cool them, take them off the wax paper, and store them for midnight snacking.

(3) You'll be using toothpicks to stab the peanut butter/sugar/butter balls and dunk them into the molten chocolate.  I've always wanted to stick my whole hand in there and encase my fist in chocolate, but I'm slightly afraid of the intense pain and loss of skin that results from sticking your hand in molten anything. 

If you didn't stick the balls into the fridge prior to dipping, they're probably melting and sliding off into the chocolate, in which case, you might get to try the chocolate hand scalding experiment described above.

(4) You use a double boiler to melt stuff like this, right?  I really need to start paying attention to things...

(5)  Melting stuff is fun!  Mix the chocolate continuously to keep everything from burning, but a word of caution:  the whisk is great at acting as a prison for half melted chocolate chips.  If the whisk gets stuck and you put pressure on the handle in the just the right spot along the edge of the mixing bowl, those melty little prisoners are adept at leaping right at your face. 

(6)  In that last picture you were wondering what the little white bits were, weren't you?  It's wax!  That's right, with every buckeye you're coating your innards with tiny amounts of paraffin wax.  Sorry, our buckeyes don't have the thin candy shells that keep them from melting in your hands...

(7)  Grooves or no grooves?  Using the method described below the balls come out with deep grooves in them.  You have to roll them out by hand, otherwise, they're flat on one end and have deep, chocolate absorbing ridges.  

Make sure you put wax paper over all the trays unless you want a sticky mess.  Although, sticking them on thin paper plates is fun because you get to watch the butter melt through...

(8)  The first time we made these we pulled gob after gob of the peanut butter mixture by hand to form the balls.  Go ahead, try it.  You'll quickly learn that this is a pain in the ass that leads to poorly formed and unevenly sized buckeyes.  Break down and get yourself a melon baller or mini ice cream scoop so you can behave like a proper, tool using homo sapien. 


(9)  Get your hands in there!  This mixture is not a good opportunity to use the $4 Walmart mixer you picked up on Black Friday, unless you like the smell of motors catching fire.  Mix thoroughly.  A buckeye with a big chunk of butter in the middle is not a buckeye, it's just disgusting.  

(10)  You didn't really want to see the basic ingredients, did you?  A few pounds of powdered sugar, a couple pounds of peanut butter, and a  pound of ...butter butter.  There are certain things that you'd just rather not know the ingredients of if they're to be properly enjoyed -- salad dressings, any food bought from shifty-eyed street vendors with dubious health inspection certifications, and buckeyes.

That's it!  I don't have any other pictures, (1) because it was pretty late when we made these and pictures were an afterthought, and (2) I'm seriously hoping you can figure out how to put three ingredients into one bowl.  Hint:  It helps to heat up the butter first.  

Just in case you actually want to make these, here are the ingredients.  

In the mixing bowl:
1 lb butter
2 lbs peanut butter
3 lbs powdered sugar

In the double boiler:
30 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 bar of paraffin wax


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