Chocolate and peanut butter fell in love on an unsuspecting day, not much different than today. The weather was cold, but not too cold. The sky a nondescript dusty blue. These were the olden days, the golden days, before Reese’s were even a gleam in the eye of a lucky entrepreneur.
Chocolate and peanut butter just couldn’t get enough of each other. They had a little fun, took a little roll in the hay, and created a love child. Yes, that’s right, a peanut butter love child dipped in chocolate. I hate to be the one to have told you this, but I thought you should know. This is just what happens when two foods with perfect genes fall in love.
The first time I made buckeyes, I knew they would be good. I mean, how could you go wrong with two foods so meant for each other? I didn’t, however, expect them to be this good. I’m not really a sweet eater most of the time. I’m normally a savory kind of gal, so a couple bites of most desserts usually does it for me. I’ve never felt such a compulsion to keep going back to the fridge as I did with these buckeyes.
I’m reminded of sneaking bites of dough while mom was occupied with pressing the Hershey’s Kiss into the middle of her peanut butter cookies. The cookies were always good, but I always thought the dough was even better. This peanut butter filling has the same sweetness and little hum of vanilla as the cookie dough, with a little bit of saltiness and a more concentrated peanut butter flavor.
Some combinations seem to have been written in the stars. I have a chocolate peanut butter lover at home as well. If you do too, look no further. Heart-shaped boxes filled with waxy chocolates are over-rated. Buckeyes are where it’s at.
- For the centers:
- ¼ cup vegan cream cheese, at room temperature (or real cream cheese)
- 1½ cups creamy peanut butter
- 10 tablespoons vegan butter, such as Earth Balance (or real unsalted butter)
- 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 cup almond flour
- 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the coating:
- about 4 cups dark or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
- Make the centers: Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a mixer. Blend together at medium-high speed until smooth and creamy. Refrigerate the mixture for at least 30 minutes, or until chilled but still pliable.
- Form the peanut butter balls: Scoop a tablespoon of the peanut butter mixture and roll it into a ball with your hands. Place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Repeat for the rest of the peanut butter mixture. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. (Leftover filling can be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to a week).
- Prepare the chocolate: Bring an inch or two of water to a boil in a small/med saucepan. Place the chocolate in a metal mixing bowl on top of the pan of boiling water. When the chocolate begins to melt, whisk it until smooth.
- Dip the buckeyes: Spear a peanut butter ball with a toothpick, and twisting it into the chocolate, without submerging it completely. Place it on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Carefully twist the toothpick to remove, and smooth over the hole with your fingers. Repeat with the remaining peanut butter balls. To create hearts, use the end of an oval-handled utensil such as a spoon, to stamp the two sides of the heart. Fill with melted chocolate using the back of a spoon, a squeeze bottle or piping bag.
- Refrigerate until the buckeyes firm up. They can be stored in single layers separated by wax paper in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.