~ These no-bake “buckeye” candies will be the stand-out favorite on your Christmas cookie platter this year! Totally simple and more healthy than most cookies and holiday treats, this recipe for chocolate-covered peanut butter balls will be the go-to for all of your holiday parties! ~
This Recipe Is: • Freezable • Make Ahead • Vegetarian • Gluten Free •
I’m not from Ohio. Originally.
But I’ve lived here almost as long as I lived north of Pittsburgh. And my family now constantly makes fun of my Ohio “accent” – even though I totally don’t have one. (I definitely don’t speak Pittsburghese … that’s for sure. N’at.)
So even though I’ll always have a special place in my heart for PA, I think I’ve fully embraced my Ohio-ness.
O – H!
(And this is where all of the people who were, are, or will ever be from Ohio yell, “I – O!”)
People don’t call out “P – E!” and then someone yells “N – N – S – Y – L – V – A – N – I – A!” Doesn’t happen.
So Ohioians for sure have that going for ’em.
And ya know what else Ohioans have going for them??
Not the nut. Or Ohio State’s mascot.
Nope. I’m talking the delicious, chocolate-covered, peanut butter, ball-shaped goodness that makes an appearance on Christmas cookie trays every year.
I recently saw a hilarious video where they had people from California (another state that doesn’t have a chant to spell its name. Just sayin’ …) try foods native to Ohio.
Some foods didn’t go over as well as others … but pretty much everyone agreed that the buckeyes were fantastic (and they even asked for more)!
I grew up with buckeyes on our Christmas cookie platter every year. I must have lived just close enough to the Ohio border to have them. And thank goodness I did! What a void I’d have in my life if I didn’t have the creamy peanut-buttery scrumptiousness … all nestled inside a chocolaty shell. Ahhh … bliss.
I remember they were always the first to be eaten off the cookie plate. And they’re definitely still the most popular with my family!
Since Shelley and I started THK, I’ve had buckeyes on my mind.
The originals … while totally delectable … are pretty lacking in the nutrition department. I knew there had to be a way to enjoy our beloved buckeyes without all the butter and sugar.
You know we put our recipes through lots of trial runs here at THK … to be sure they’re totally maxed out on both deliciousness and nutrition! But, honestly, these babies were practically perfect from Round 1!
I did experiment with crunchy vs. regular peanut butter. And well, it’s super good either way. Our taste-testers honestly couldn’t decide! So use what you’ve got on hand! Just make them!
These nuggets of candied joy are wonderfully dense and satisfying … rich and so decadent that no one will ever guess they’re healthier, too. Seriously, nobody missed all the butter and powdered sugar. Nobody. The biggest complaint … there simply weren’t enough of them!
Our husbands couldn’t stop eating them. Our kids couldn’t either. My dad came by for lunch one day, and he couldn’t stop eating them … before lunch (silly, Dad!).
So, yeah … you’re gonna want to make up a few extra batches of these.
They’ll certainly be the healthiest treats on the cookie platter. Unless you’re also making our Pistachio-White Chocolate (No Butter!) Butter Cookies. Or maybe our No Bake Chocolate-Coconut Peanut Butter Bars. But yeah. These bites of yum will let you enjoy the cookie buffet without feeling guilty.
You’ll be the hero of the holiday party!
Even better, though … wanna be a real hero? Known for more than just your phenomenal cookies?
You may remember back in September, when Shelley and I were involved in a terrific project that helped raise money for the Feeding America food bank network. We loved creating a recipe for a wonderful cookbook (which is still for sale and makes an amazing gift … with all proceeds benefitting Second Harvest Food Bank!).
Well, we’re helping out again – and you can, too! Join us in supporting food banks nationwide this holiday season, in their campaign to make milk more widely available to those in need.
Did you know that milk is the most requested item at food banks? Still, families that depend on Feeding America food banks receive less than one gallon of milk … per year.
Help those in need. Give the gift of milk through The Great American Milk Drive. From now until December 31st, every donation that is made will be 100% matched. Even better? The donation will go to a food bank in your area. You can make a difference for a family in your own community.
We’ve made our donation … and we hope you will, too!
And, you never know … maybe people will start spelling your name cheer-style wherever you go! You are a hero, after all!
- 1/2 cup quick oats
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (see note)
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil (optional, see note)
- In a medium bowl, combine quick oats, peanut butter, honey, flax, and vanilla. Stir until mixed very thoroughly.
- Using your hands, firmly press and roll into 1-inch balls.
- Place balls on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (so they're firm enough to hold their shape while dipping).
- Melt chocolate chips and coconut oil (if using) in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds (see note).
- Coat each ball with chocolate (see note).
- Return each peanut butter ball to the parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until chocolate is set.
- Once fully set, store peanut butter balls in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.
Peanut butter: This recipe has been tested using both creamy and crunchy peanut butter. Both work well; use what you have on hand or whichever you prefer.
Coconut oil: Coconut oil helps the chocolate to flow and coat the peanut butter balls more easily. If you choose to omit the oil, you may need to rewarm the chocolate in the microwave more often during the process of coating all the balls, in order to keep it free-flowing enough to coat smoothly. Whether or not you use the oil, if too much time passes, you may still need to rewarm the chocolate. Just be gentle with it and only microwave the chocolate for a few seconds at a time so that it doesn't seize up or scorch. Remember, too, that microwave times and cooking powers vary, so we always recommend that you check often while microwaving chocolate, especially near the end of cooking time.
Dipping and coating the balls: Everyone has their own preferred method for doing this. As shown in our photos in the post above, we generally place each peanut butter ball on a fork and drizzle chocolate over it from a spoon, allowing the excess chocolate to fall through the fork's tines. Then, we pass the ball between the fork and spoon once or twice until the ball is coated completely.
Make-ahead tips and storing: These freeze beautifully after the chocolate is set in the refrigerator. Place in an airtight container.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 30 servings Serving Size: 1 Buckeye
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 17mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 2g
Nutrition information does not include optional coconut oil. Nutrition information should be considered an estimate only, and may additionally vary depending on your choice of ingredients or preparation. No guarantees are made regarding allergies or dietary needs. Always consult a physician or dietician for specific advice and questions.