One of the most wonderful things about our truly amazing babysitter Erika, is the friends she has brought into our lives. Basically every single person who has every babysat for my kids is a friend of Erika’s. Catherine is our other regular and our boys love her as much as Randy and I do. She is a southern girl making a fulfilling life for herself in Seattle.
Catherine brings her sweet spirit, cute accent, and beautiful smile to our house about every other Friday for a date night. She is a very enthusiastic eater of my food so I love having little things hidden away for her in the refrigerator or in the cookie jar. When Catherine turned 30 last fall, she asked me to cater a dinner for her. I was very touched that she asked and had a lot of fun deciding on a menu. Graham loved sharing his house with 20 beautiful women dressed in their best party clothes. After the holidays, Catherine brought me two huge bags of pecans from her parents’ tree. Yes, we love her.
I made these crack-like concoctions the other day for our yoga retreat and, since Catherine babysat on Friday night, I saved her a few. She walked in and really, before saying hello to me or the boys said with wide eyes, “Are those Buckeyes?” A Southern girl who knows her treats.
Being an almost lifelong Pacific Northwesterner, I had never heard of Buckeyes. My loss! These over-the-top treats are a mixture of cream cheese, graham crackers, butter, and peanut butter dipped in chocolate. It may not surprise you to know that I got the recipe from the new Baked cookbook. It may also not surprise you to know that the other treat I made for the retreat also came from that cookbook. And if neither of those things surprise you, then you probably know that I want to make every single thing in that book, like, tomorrow. I think it may even surpass the first one in terms of decadence and all around yuminess.
One Year Ago: Fettucine with Oil-Cured Olives, Tomatoes and Goat Cheese
Two Years Ago: Gnocchi with Winter Squash and Seared Radicchio
Makes 36 to 42 buckeyes
¼ cup cream cheese, softened
1½ cups peanut butter
1 cup graham cracker crumbs (about 9 full graham crackers)
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
10 tbsp. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
12 ounces good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
Make the candy
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and peanut butter until combined. Add the graham cracker crumbs and beat on medium speed for 10 seconds. Add the confectioners’ sugar and butter. Beat at low speed for 20 seconds to prevent the sugar from spilling over, then gradually increase the speed until the mixture is completely combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again. The mixture will feel slightly dry. Set the peanut butter filling aside while you melt the chocolate.
In the top of a double boiler set over hot water, melt the chocolate, stirring frequently until it is completely smooth. Pour the chocolate into a small, deep bowl. Let cool to tepid (about 100ºF, body temperature) while you shape the peanut butter centers.
Assemble the Buckeyes
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Scoop out slightly more than 1 tablespoon’s worth of filling and use your hands to form it into a ball. Place the ball on the prepared sheet pan and repeat the process until all the filling has been shaped. The balls can sit fairly close to each other, just make sure they are not touching.
One by one, using a fork or large skewer, dip each ball into the chocolate. Roll the ball around from side to side to cover almost the entire peanut butter center, leaving a small amount uncovered. Manipulate the buckeye so that the dripping chocolate covers the holes made by the fork. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl and return each chocolate-covered buckeye to the pan. Refrigerate the entire sheet pan for about 30 minutes to set the chocolate before serving.
(Buckeyes will keep for up to 3 days, tightly covered, in the refrigerator.)