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Perfect Buckeyes

A treasured Christmas treat at my house. My mom invented the skewer dipping method to keep the candies from having little chocolate skirts when you set them down to dry. Hence, "perfect" buckeyes! Warning: you may get a waistline like Santa if you eat too many of these. But they mean Christmas to me!

From "The Infinite Feast: How to Host the Ones You Love—Recipes from the Big Easy . . . and Beyond" by Brian Theis, 2020 Click here for more info on my best-selling cookbook!

Perfect Buckeyes

Makes 32 candies

Equipment: Three dozen 8-inch wooden skewers. Coffee cups and/or glasses as described

2 cups creamy peanut butter (Skippy or Jif best)

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened

16 ounces confectioners' sugar

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a roomy counter area, set out 6 to 8 coffee cups or heavy drinking glasses that are about 4 inches tall and four inches in diameter. More on these later.

In a large bowl, stir peanut butter and butter together thoroughly. Add sugar, continue stirring, then use your hands till all is fully combined. Shape into 1 to 1 1/4-inch balls by rolling between your palms. Place on the baking sheet, freeze for 45 minutes to an hour.

Use two pots similar in size, or a proper double boiler, for melting chocolate. Simmer 1 to 2 inches of water over medium to low heat in the bottom pot. Make sure bottom of top pot doesn't touch simmering water. Spray top pot with cooking spray before you add chocolate chips, for best cleanup. Melt chips and stir as needed till no lumps remain. Start this about ten minutes before peanut balls are finished firming up in the freezer.

Stick pointed end of an 8-inch wooden skewer into each chilled peanut butter ball then dip with a nice swirl so chocolate is about halfway up the side of each. Place the other end of your skewer in one of your cups so chocolate can harden. Depending on how heavy your cups or glasses are this may require some skillful balancing with multiple skewers to keep from tipping over a cup. Don't worry, it's not as hard as it might sound. I do all this by an open window in December in the Northeast to hasten chocolate hardening.

Running back and forth spearing them one at a time out of the freezer then running to dip them is what I do, but I don't recommend keeping your freezer door open for too long. As soon you're done dipping and all rested buckeye shells feel hard, remove each one from its skewer, close the hole in the peanut butter with your finger, and place (preferably uncovered) in fridge to firm up.

Now don't eat 'em all in one sitting! Keep candies stored in fridge between servings.

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