When I tell people I meet in D.C. that I’m from Ohio I sometimes get fun questions, such as “How did you make it here?” or “That’s in corn land, right?” or even “Ohhh…I can tell” [I was wearing a side braid at a work conference. Clearly, everyone from the Midwest still dresses like Katniss Everdeen, I suppose].
People I’m closer to ask me whether or not where I live is rural, if it’s near a great lake, and exactly how close I live next to the Deliverance country of Kentucky.
Bridge by our place
However, my parents actually live in a village close to Cincinnati, called Newtown, which is pretty stereotypical “real America.” People say ‘y’all,’ men work on the field, and you can get a homemade apple pie at the market down the street.
You can also ask anyone close by if they like buckeyes and they won’t automatically assume you’re speaking of tree nuts. They’ll know you’re talking about the chocolate and peanut butter candies Ohio is [somewhat] known for that resemble those tree nuts.
Best ice cream
As I spend my last day here in the Buckeye State playing with old friends, drinking with family, and eating my way through memories, this tried-and-true candy recipe seems like the perfect end to a wonderful home visit.
Me and Grandma
I’m comin’ home, y’all! 😉
[Makes roughly 5 dozen]
- Stand mixer [recommended] or hand mixer
- Double boiler [recommended] or microwave
- 1 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 stick softened unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla
- 3 cups SIFTED powdered sugar
- 4 cups good quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 tsp. vegetable shortening
Make the peanut butter balls: In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), combine the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla. Gradually add the powdered sugar to the mix until it is well mixed. Roll the mixture into 3/4″ balls, using your hands, and place on a plate lined with waxed paper. Stick a toothpick in each of the balls (to be used as a handle for dipping in the chocolate). Chill in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Melt the chocolate: When the peanut butter balls have set, gently melt the chocolate and shortening in the top of a double boiler, stirring frequently, until smooth.
Form the buckeyes: Dip the frozen peanut butter balls in the chocolate, holding them by the toothpick. Leave a small portion on the peanut butter showing at top so the candy resembles the fruit of the buckeye tree. Return the buckeyes to the plate. Gently remove the toothpick and smooth over the hole. Refrigerate at least two hours before serving.
*Note: Store buckeyes in a tightly sealed tin or (preferably) in the refrigerator. Buckeyes also freeze well.