Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dare to eat? Buckeyes

I met JAM came when she came to work in my office around Thanksgiving time, 5 years ago. That first Christmas, she gave me a small bag-full of chocolate- candy for my daughter A. It didn't look like something you'd buy in a store, so I asked her and she said that she'd made it. I was impressed...if there's anything I can't do or had ever attempted to do, is work with chocolate. A was about 3 yrs old at that time, and didn't care much for chocolate. Which was good because that bag of candy never reached home. I ate it; just couldn't stop at one.

Since then, I look forward to JAM bring me her most famous Christmas treat of all , right before the holidays. And if it looks like she's trying to forget , I very shamelessly remind her that I'm expecting it. In true Holiday spirit, she's been very generous all these years. So this year as we sat there enjoying her treat during lunch the other day, I actually felt a little voice in my head telling me that it was time to set JAM free of our unwritten contract. Which prompted me to ask if she'd share her recipe with me. And she did. As I wrote it all down, I realized that I had everything that I needed, and what I didn't have, JAM offered to bring me from her own pantry. So I was set to make and share these goodies that JAM calls Buckeyes, with no excuse to procrastinate at all. Before we go on to the recipe however....another tidbit of gossip, a Buckeye exchange ritual even. Every year, as I sit there eating these goodies, I ask JAM: Why are these called Buckeyes? And she says " because they look like a buck's eyes". But this year, we have a new colleague who livened up this exchange by asking, "then why is Ohio called the Buckeye state?" That left both of them shaking their heads, and I, well, I am not even expected to know the answer since I'm not a US-born American. But Google knows everything. I found my answers in this wonderful blog on buckeyes as well as Wikipedia. I finally know that this chocolaty-peanut buttery- goodness is called Buckeyes because it looks like the seeds of horse chestnut tree, or buckeye, which grows abundantly in Ohio state, hence the "buckeye state". And the tree gets its name because it's seeds look like a bucks' eye, the state animal of Ohio!! Phew...if you all are still with me, we'll go on to this amazingly simple Holiday recipe. And I am sending this to the It's time to jingle again 2010 event by Priyanka

Buckeyes
Creamy Peanut butter 2 cups
Salted Butter 1 1/2 sticks/ 12 Tbsp
Vanilla essence 1tsp
Confectioner's sugar/caster sugar 1lb
Dark semi sweet chocolate chips 9 oz
Bakers unsweetened chocolate 1 square
Paraffin 1/6 stick
  1. In a saucepan, melt butter, peanut butter and vanilla essence over low heat.
  2. Once melted, turn off the heat, and start adding caster sugar a little bit at a time and stirring it. Add as much sugar as it takes to get to a rolling consistency. I used up almost 1lb of the sugar .
  3. Take little bit of the mix and roll it into balls between your palms, like making laddoos. Keep them on waxed paper at room temperature for some time to harden up a bit.
  4. Meanwhile, get your double boiler going for the chocolate. If you don't have it, do what I did- in your deep fryer/vegetable steamer bring water to a boil. Put a metal sieve/ steaming basket in this water, and a heat-resistant glass bowl inside that basket.
  5. Melt the paraffin, bakers chocolate square and chocolate chips in this glass bowl. It took about 10 min after getting the water to a boil for this. Stir well.
  6. By this time, your peanut butter balls would be hard enough to stick a tooth pick in them. Jab a ball with a toothpick, give it a quick swirl in melted chocolate covering the bottom 3/4 with dark chocolate, and set it down on wax paper.
  7. Repeat with all the balls. Good to go. Don't wait anymore- dig in.
My two cents: The first bite is heaven, there's no looking back from this point on. That should tell you enough. And if you're counting calories in your head, let me tell you that I already knocked down the butter from JAM's recipe. So indulge; after all it is the Holiday season. We'll worry about those love handles next year. Oh by the way, little A never got to taste this goodies (and she's 8 now) till I made them this year. She promptly re-named them "Reese's balls"