Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Buckeyes in the Middle East

My husband purports to be "from" Ohio.  He was born in Indiana and actually relates more to Northern Virginia (NoVA)/DC, but whenever asked out pops "I'm from Ohio."  What follows is usually a challenge:  Oh yeah?  What part of Ohio?  Then begins the showdown between those who have ties to Cincinnati, like Ian, or those from the other place.  You know... Cleveland.  I guess Columbus doesn't really have a following, and please don't talk about Toledo.

I don't get it.  I'm not "from Ohio" so I don't care much about any part of it.  I'm not really from any state, though I do have home ties to NoVA/DC.  We lived in Silver Spring, MD, we had two houses in NoVA, and we plan to live in DC once all the kids are grown.  So OK, I guess I'm "from NoVA."  Which is is not be mistaken as "from Virginia." I want to be very clear about that.

But Ohio has one good thing, and it's not White Castle.  Not even Skyline Chili.


See, there's this tree in Ohio (and about 6 other states) called the Buckeye. Aesculus glabra is referred to as the Ohio Buckeye, the American Buckeye, or the fetid buckeye.  Why do people do that?  Fetid?  Ew.  It's a relative of the chestnut.  Those same nuts that are roasted on an open fire in the Christmas carol.  People buy them as hand warmers while walking through a winter market, but I've never seen anyone actually eat them.  When roasted they get mushy.

I digress.

Buckeye.  Buck eye.  It's called this because the seeds look like the eyes of deer.

Since there's not much in Ohio but Cincinnati, Cleveland, some college football (I went to a college without any football, so... eh), the Mud Hens and White Castle, folks turned the Buckeye into a dessert treat.  Not the actual buckeye, that would be gross.  Remember, it gets mushy. Instead they took an assortment of other food stuffs and turned them into something that resembles a Buckeye nut.

They are so easy to make with no baking involved.  Roll peanut butter balls, dip in melted chocolate.  Done.

Peanut butter balls:

1 1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 lb powdered sugar

After an initial mixing with a spoon I find it's easiest to just get in there with hands.   After it's all mixed together nicely it should ball up easily in your palms without being runny or sticky or crumbly.  If it is any of these things, adjust accordingly with a little more PB or a little more powdered sugar until you get something easily rollable.  Line a tray with wax paper and start lining up little PB balls.  I think it makes 70-80 balls, but don't quote me on that as I didn't actually count them.  There were a lot.

Put the tray in the fridge.

In a double boiler, melt 1 cup of chocolate chips and a dollop of Crisco.  The Crisco will let the chocolate set in the fridge and avoid melting off in room temperatures or with the touch of a finger.

Confession time: I do not own a double boiler.  Instead I use a small to medium size pot with some water in the bottom, top it with a metal mixing bowl, and melt my chocolate there.  Who needs specialty gadgets?  Except for my pastry cutter, that thing is a huge time saver.

Excuse the toothpicks.  Can't figure out how
to dip them without scalding myself otherwise. 
Some folks have no feeling in their fingertips. I salute you. Pick up the chilled PB balls and give them a quick dip and twist in the hot melty chocolate sauce, let the excess drip off before placing them back on the tray or there will be a puddle on the wax paper. For the rest of us I recommend the toothpick method.  Poke, lift, dip, twist, drip, cool.

Done.  Pop the tray back in the fridge and eat at will.  We can manage two at a time, maybe three if we set our minds to it.  They're cute, they're easy, they're great when you just have to bring something to a party.

It'll also bring every Ohioan out of the woodwork.

Oh yeah?  Which part?


  1. I love buckeyes!!! Growing up I had a friend who's mom would make them and bring them to parties - they were closely guarded and always looked forward to!

  2. That is one of our favorite desserts to make and eat but we save them for Christmas time treats. Sometimes we add rice crispies to the peanut butter mix to give them a bit of a crunchy textures. Yummy both ways! BTW, I'm from Iowa (going way back), not Ohio, although there is nothing wrong with that. Just a shout-out to the Hawkeye State!

  3. We have a ton of peanut butter left in our consumables to eat before July so I foresee a lot of these in our future. In fact I am having the boys make them for dessert this week.