Saturday, July 9, 2011

Lightened-Up Buckeyes

My best friend's mom always makes these for christmas. They sound like a great idea, but even I (Ms. I melt candy bars on cookies) can't choke down the sweetness. It's too much sugar, too little actual taste, and no texture. Plus, after a hard search for saltine truffles left me feeling unsatisfied, I felt this might be the perfect way to sneak them into candy.

I think saltines are the bee's knees. They provide texture, a salty kick (I used unsalted here though), and they add bulk that doesn't come from sugar. Plus, add crushed peanuts for a party in your mouth. This solves some of the problems I have with normal buckeyes. Still, the peanut butter filling is very sweet to me. That's where the chocolate comes in.

Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed a lot more as I get older that I'm using dark, heady chocolate to "unsweeten" desserts. I know, my life sucks right? How awesome is it that adding chocolate can temper the sweetness of a dessert. It's a topsy turvy world. I was worried that the chocolate wouldn't taste good if that's the only part you took a bite of, so I added a little milk chocolate. When I say a little, I mean 1/4 cup to the 4 oz of unsweetened. Barely sweet and perfect.

Together, they make a buckeye that still have flavor, but isn't too sweet, has some texture, and is practically a health food compared to a normal recipe. You're welcome, pancreas.

I made two batches. The one for the office looked like typical buckeyes. For these, shove a toothpick in the top and use it as a handle to dip them in the chocolate. I thought they looked funny with their one-armed toothpick salutes. Then of course they look like crazy cyclops eyes after the toothpicks are removed. Creeeepy. For my batch, I just plopped then fully in the chocolate for a richer truffle. I'm worth it.

Lightened Up Buckeyes

1 1/2 c peanut butter
1 c butter, room temperature
4 to 4 1/2 c confectioners sugar
1 cup crushed saltines
1/2 to 1 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Coating
8 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate
1/2 cup semi-sweet chips
(really, any chocolate you want works here)

Mix peanut butter and butter together thoroughly. Then add the rest of the ingredients except for half of the powdered sugar. Keep mixing well until you get the taste you like with a thick texture, adding more sugar until you're happy with the result.

You can refridgerate the "dough" until it firms up, then roll it into balls. I found the cold dough hard to work with, so just get it pliable without being too hard. Roll into as many balls as you like. Mine made about 40 medium sized truffles. Push in your toothpick handle then freeze until they're hard- at least two hours.

Once hard, start your chocolate. You can temper it the old fashioned way, or you can cut corners like I did and microwave it for 20-30 seconds at a time, stirring between. It should take about 1 to 2 minutes for the choclate to melt.

Use the toothpicks to carefully dip and swirl each truffle until they're to your liking. If you are doing the entire batch at once, I suggest melting your choclate in a small bowl or cup and making 2 to 3 batches of the chocolate. The truffles cool the chocolate quickly so this will make it easier to work with. Once all the truffles have been coated, return to the freezer for another hour or so, until you can't wait anymore.

Dig in. Or, take some in to work for strategic favor garnering. I place my work treats in this tub.

Works every time.