Get ready to satisfy your sweet tooth with a tasty twist on a classic treat - Vegan Buckeyes! These irresistible peanut butter balls with a chocolate shell are both indulgent and plant-based. Whether you're a long-time vegan or just looking to explore delicious dairy-free options, these little bites of bliss are sure to become one of your favorite desserts.
What is a Buckeye?
A buckeye is actually a type of nut that comes from the buckeye tree - the state tree of Ohio. It's named "buckeye" because the nut resembles the eye of a deer. People in Ohio often consider it a symbol of good luck.
But if we're talking about the candy, a Buckeye is a sweet treat made from peanut butter and a layer of chocolate, shaped to look like the nut. It's a popular snack, especially in the Midwest.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Peanut butter and chocolate: These vegan treats taste just like my favorite candy - peanut butter cups!
- They look impressive: A plate of these buckeye candies looks great on your table during the holiday season or for game day.
- Simple ingredients: You only need a handful of ingredients to make them.
- Peanut butter - Creamy works better than natural peanut butter in this recipe.
- Vegan butter - My favorite brands to use are Earth Balance and Country Crock Plant Butter. Make sure it's softened before using.
- Coconut oil - You can substitute vegetable shortening for the coconut oil. It's purpose is just to thin out the chocolate to make dipping easier.
- Chocolate chips - Choose any brand of dairy-free chocolate chips you can find. Dark chocolate chips work great in this recipe too!
1. Prep a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened vegan butter and peanut butter. You can also use a large bowl and a hand mixer or a food processor. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
3. Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again.
4. Use your hands to quickly roll the dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon worth. Place on the parchment paper lined sheet pan and place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes. If you can't fit it in the freezer, the fridge works as well.
5. Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chip and coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave for 30 minutes and stir. Place back in the microwave and repeat until melted and creamy.
Do not overcook the chocolate! You can also melt the chocolate using a double boiler if desired.
Stick a toothpick in each ball of peanut butter. Dip in the melted chocolate leaving a small circle around the top of the peanut butter ball that doesn't have chocolate.
Tap the toothpick on the side of the bowl to shake off the excess rich chocolate coating.
6. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet to set. For best results, work in batches so the dough balls stay cold. Leave the peanut butter balls in the freezer while you're working on smaller amounts.
Repeat until all the balls have been dipped. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. to set.
Remove the toothpick. Either use a little leftover peanut butter dough to cover the hole or use a wet finger to smooth it over.
Plate and enjoy!
- Dip the dough balls in batches while the rest are in the freezer or fridge. If they get too soft at room temperature then the toothpick won't stay in and the peanut butter balls could fall into the chocolate.
- To remove the extra chocolate, GENTLY tap the toothpick with the buckeye on it against the side of the bowl. The key is to work quickly so no need to try to get all the extra chocolate off.
- If you have one, use a small cookie scoop to help make the buckeyes uniform in size.
Store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve. They will stay good for up to 5 days.
These freeze beautifully. Keep frozen in an airtight container or freezer bag up to 3 months and thaw overnight in the fridge for best results.
While I only use natural peanut butter in general to stay away from added sugar and oil, for this particular recipe I use regular creamy peanut butter. It improves the consistency and helps keep the peanut butter balls together more. So think of brands like Skippy or Jif peanut butter.
Honestly, they are all good! You can find brands labeled vegan like Enjoy Life. Or there are plenty of accidentally vegan brands like Trader Joe's, Costco's, and Target brand has a variety.
Sure! Instead of peanut butter you can use cashew butter or almond butter. Sunflower seed butter may work as well but as it's thin you might need to add some additional butter and/or powdered sugar.
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- 2 cups creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup vegan butter (softened)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips (non-dairy)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Prep a sheet pan by lining it with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the softened vegan butter and peanut butter. Add the vanilla extract and mix.
- Add the powdered sugar one cup at a time and mix until well combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix again.
- Use your hands to roll the dough into balls, about 1 tablespoon worth. Place in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chip and coconut oil in a bowl. Microwave for 30 minutes and stir. Place back in the microwave and repeat until melted and creamy.
- Stick a toothpick in each peanut butter ball. Dip in the melted chocolate leaving a circle around the top that doesn't have chocolate. Tap the toothpick on the side of the bowl to shake off the excess chocolate. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet. For best results, work in batches. Leave the peanut butter balls in the freezer while you're working on smaller amounts.
- Repeat until all the balls have been dipped. Place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. to set. Remove the toothpick.
- Plate and enjoy!
- To fix the hole from the toothpick, use a wet finger to rub over it. Or, use a little leftover peanut butter dough to cover it up which is what I prefer to do.
- When microwaving the chocolate, don't overcook it or it will seize up and get hard instead of the creamy consistency you're looking for.
- Sheet pan
- Parchment paper