Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Buckeye ReDeux: A Better Bon Bon
Let me first start by saying i was born in Ohio and spent the first 10 years of my life there. I remember as a small girl going to the Big Bear Grocery with my mom and getting a treat at their bakery counter called the 'Buckeye'. Anyone from Ohio knows what these are, but for those of you not from Ohio, a buckeye is the most heaven sent chocolate covered peanut butter ball you could have ever dreamt up, and you can find it at any bake sale across the Buckeye State. It's sweet, it's peanut buttery, it's chilled, it's covered in chocolate, and i'm quite sure The Three Wise Men brought it along with frankensense, gold, and myrrh when they visited the Baby Jesus. The story is, upon sinking his little Baby Jesus toof into the buckeye he cried "Halleluah!" and the angels sang in chorus while a brilliant gold glow surrounded the group. Okay, so maybe I just made that up, but this is what i see and hear when i bite into a buckeye. You get it right? Buckeyes are utterly amazing.
Now if you live anywhere around southern california or if you have a TV or radio and listen to the weather you'll know we are deep in rain. For me this means going into June Cleaver mode, busting out the apron, rolling pins, and of course pearls and heels, and putting in some serious home maker time in the kitch. I finally put the granola aside long enough to take on another sweet holiday treat, and my buckeye redeux was born.
Let me go back a bit. Yesterday I was the most unproductive person i could have been. I seriously don't think it's possible to be lazier than i was. I wanted to bake the rain away so i surfed on line for ideas, and then it hit me....I wanted buckeyes! Once i came to this decision, it was like this overwhelming craving had set in that absolutely refused to dissipate until i was seated in my car at the market with an open jar of peanut butter in one hand and an arsenal of dark chocolate morsels in the other. "Seriously Meredith?? What has come over you? Put the Peanut butter back in the bag, and put the chocolate down." I had to have a stern talk with myself. There would be plenty of a-nibbling when baking begins.
Now i didn't know how to make buckeyes, so I found another foodie blog that shares her recipe. Check hers out (click here)...they are beautiful and are what buckeyes are supposed to look like, if you follow the traditional directions. The ingredients on her site call for: confectioner sugar, PB, butter, chocolate, and edible wax. Butter?? Edible Wax?? (i don't even know what that is?) Confectioner Sugar?? Are these really necessary when chocolate and peanut butter are already involved (a marriage made in heaven)?? You know i like to take a more natural approach, so in an attempt to make this unhealthy treat a scoatch more healthy i opted for local honey and fresh dates instead of confectioner sugar, skipped the butter all together, and opted for dark chocolate for it's anti-oxidant qualities. I figured i could leave the wax out too...and though the chocolate glaze isn't as shiny and perfect as hers is, it works just fine. The only hiccup i ran into was that my dough wasn't binding. I added in some chia gel as a binder (chia and water mixed together make a gel), and it not only worked but gave my treats a little omega 3 boost. While i hadn't planned on sharing this recipe i realized shortly after making them that it was far too dangerous to have so many bon-bons in my fridge, so i brought some to work today. The girls loved them so much they asked me to post the recipe here so that they could bring them to their holiday event. I'll do my best to share it since it wasn't really measured out, but rather buck-eyeballed. It's an easy treat to make, super delicious, but get them out of the house fast for sake of your waistline!
Here's the not so healthy, healthier version of this deliciously decadent treat.
Makes 18 bon-bons:
10-12 pitted fresh medjool dates
3/4 jar of peanut butter
about 2 Tbsp - 1/4 cup of honey
1/2 bag of ghiradelli dark chocolate chips (60% cocoa), i melted half the bag but threw a lot of it away
1 and 1/2 Tbsp chia seeds
2 Tbsp water
Add the dates, PB, crank or two of sea salt, and honey to a Food Processor and process down to a smooth-ish dough. You'll need to stop and scrape the sides down as you go.
Put the chia and water together in a small bowl and mix well to make a gel. Add this gel to the Food Processor and process again until the dough forms a ball.
Prep a tray, baking sheet, or large plate with parchment paper.
Grab a small amount of dough and squeeze tightly to get rid of some of the oil. You'll need to wipe your hands well (and often) to get the oils off. Roll this dough in between your palms to make large balls about the size of a gum ball, a little smaller than a golf ball. Set on your parchment lined plate. When all the balls are formed set them in the freezer to firm up.
Meanwhile melt a bunch of the chocolate chips in a double boiler, again feel free to add a crank or two of sea salt. If you are like me and do not have a double boiler than put a large stainless steel mixing bowl over a pot with an inch of boiling water. Stir the chocolate as it melts down. Remove from heat.
Dip your PB balls into the chocolate leaving a little round spot of the PB ball visible at the top and transfer back to the parchment lined plate. When all are done use a spoon to lap up more of the melted chocolate and drizzle this over the top of your buckeyes (don't forget to lick the spoon before you put it in the sink).
Wha-lah. Put these in the freeze for a couple of minutes to harden the chocolate or put them directly into the fridge where you'll store them. Let them set up for a few hours. Chocolate covered Peanut Butter Bon Bons or Buckeye ReDeuxs will have you crying Halleluah! AAAHHHHHHHHHH (chorus of angels)
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