How about some Buckeyes while you watch college football over the Thanksgiving weekend. There is a lot of eating and watching football during this holiday in my family. It is also the University of Michigan (my alma mater) and Ohio State University game.
This is one of the biggest college games for my hometown of Ann Arbor. Especially since the team is playing so well and we have a new football coach, Jim Harbaugh. He was a quarterback for Michigan; played 14 years as a quarterback in the NFL and then was the head coach of a number of pro football teams. Can you tell I have high hopes for this years football team as well as all “GO BLUE” fans do.
The Michigan and Ohio teams have a fierce rivalry that goes back to 1897 and had been renewed annually since Michigan rejoined the Big Ten in 1918. For me I remember the so-called “Ten Year War” between Woody Hayes (OSU) and Bo Schembechler (Michigan) as I was getting my Masters in Library Science at the time.
Ohio is known as the “Buckeye State” and is the state tree of Ohio since 1953, on the occasion of Ohio’s 150th anniversary of statehood. In 1950 Ohio State University adopted the buckeye logo as its official symbol. Then in 1965 Brutus Buckeye became the official mascot of OSU.
So what is a buckeye? Buckeyes are nuts that grow on medium-sized deciduous trees growing 50 to 80 feet tall and are related to the horse chestnut. It is native primarily to the Midwestern and lower Great Plains regions of the United States. The nuts are contained in a spiny hull until they ripen in September when they open and fall to the ground. Having lived in Ohio for the first 16 years of my life I enjoyed foraging for these little beauties with my siblings and friends. Aren’t they cool???
Buckeye Candy – peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate
The dried nuts are mainly used in decorations and crafts. During the pioneer days the tannic acid extracted from these nuts was used in making leather. Native Americans roasted, peeled and mashed the buckeye nut, which they called “Hetuck,” into a nutritional meal. I guess they didn’t know buckeyes are slightly poisonous and are not edible unless they are heated and leached. Doesn’t sound good to me!
Climate change could shift the Buckeye Trees’ habitat to Michigan. If the world keeps warming this could actually happen. Oh my – that would be something!!!
Buckeye candy is a confection made into balls consisting of peanut butter, a little butter, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, rolled into small balls and dipped into chocolate leaving a circle of peanut butter showing, just what the real nuts look like.
You can use 1) chocolate wafers as seen below or 2) semi-sweet chocolate chips plus 1/3 cup paraffin wax beads you can buy from Amazon.
Even if you will not be watching football these make a sweet little dessert. They are easy to make and can be made ahead of time. Who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate?
- 1-1/2 cups smooth peanut butter
- 1/4 cup butter, softened or you can melt it in the microwave
- 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2-3 cups chocolate wafers or
- 2-3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips plus 1/3 cup paraffin wax beads or 1 tbsp. shortening
Combine the first four ingredients and mix well. Shape into balls using a 1-inch stainless steel scoop. You can either refrigerate or freeze the balls and then take out a few at a time to dip.
Slowly melt the chocolate in a double boiler; I did use the chocolate wafers and did not have to add any paraffin or shortening. Remove the balls from the refrigerator or freezer a couple at a time – insert toothpicks for easier dipping and dip the balls in the chocolate leaving the top uncovered. Work quickly as the weight of the chocolate makes them come off of the toothpicks.
Place on wax paper or a cake rack to cool. I sprayed a cake rack and the balls wanted to stick anyways. So I turned the rack over and carefully coaxed the balls off the rack so the chocolate would stay as intact as possible. Close up the holes made by toothpicks with your finger.
Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Comment: Paraffin wax is a chemical preservative used to make fruits, vegetables and candy shiny, pretty and to retard moisture loss and spoilage.
Recipe by cookingwithauntjuju.com
I’m sharing these peanut butter balls dipped in dark chocolate with Fiesta Friday. Everyone will love these “Buckeyes.”