Buckeyes Recipe and Ohio Pride

Buckeyes

Buckeyes. Technically they’re nuts. But “Buckeye” is also an affectionate name Ohio residents call themselves, the football team at Ohio State University (the mascot is even an anthropomorphic Buckeye named Brutus), and of course, that most Ohioan of confections– a ball of peanut butter and powdered sugar rolled in chocolate.

That little candy has the ability to make former Ohioans very nostalgic for their homeland. Just this week I visited the Meadowlands Fair in New Jersey and passed a stand selling various deep fried goodies and was surprised to see that the Buckeye had made its way over.

Deep Fried Buckeyes

Today I made the first batch of Buckeyes I’ve made in years. They were typically a Christmas treat in my house (along with No Bake Cookies and Potato Candy). Today, however, the candies were requested by my friend Steve Slaybaugh, another Ohio ex-pat, to give out to attendees at one of his monthly mixers tonight.

Steve decided to create a space for those of us who made the 500-mile trek from our homeland. OhioNYC is a website that gathers news relevant to our kind. He also hosts the above-mentioned mixers at Park Slope bar The Owl Farm. These mixers are typically DJ’d by an Ohioan and prizes are given out, including OhioNYC t-shirts and coupons for Jeni’s and Graeter’s ice cream (which all good Ohioans know are the numbers one and two ice cream in the world).

Tonight, my husband Robert Duffy will be DJing and I will be providing the Buckeyes. If you’re in the area and would like to sample a Buckeye (and also maybe get a discount on beers!), the event starts at 8:30.

If you’re not in Brooklyn and would prefer to make these rich little bites at home, please see the recipe posted below. I decided to alter a key ingredient and dipped my peanut butter balls in melted dark chocolate candy melts rather than melted milk chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate anyway and candy melts keep the Buckeyes from becoming a big melty mess.

Buckeyes

Buckeyes
Makes about 4 dozen

Ingredients

1-1/2 cups Peanut Butter
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
24 ounces dark chocolate candy melts

Process

Cream the Peanut Butter, butter and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until combined and mostly lump-free. Slowly add the powdered sugar; mixture will look dry and crumbly. Using your hands, roll the mixture into one-inch balls and place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Place a toothpick in each ball. Once all the balls are formed, put the cookie sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Once the balls are frozen, melt half the candy melts in a shallow microwave safe bowl for about one minute. Remove the bowl and stir. If the candy melts are not smooth, continue to microwave in 10-second increments, stirring after each increment, until the mixture is smooth.

Remove the balls from the freezer and using the toothpick as a handle, dip each ball in the chocolate mixture, leaving a small circle of peanut butter uncovered to mimic the look of a real Buckeye nut. Let the excess chocolate drip off and put the ball back on the parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Repeat until all balls are dipped, adding and melting more candy melts as needed.

Put the cookie sheet back in the freezer for a few minutes to let the chocolate completely harden. You can then remove the cookie sheet and transfer your Buckeyes in a single layer to an air-tight container. If the chocolate spread when you put the balls on the cookie sheet, you can pretty easily snap off any excess around the bottoms (or use a knife if you want to be really precise).

Keep the Buckeyes refrigerated until you’re ready to serve.

Summer Wrap-up

I’ve been gone way too long. But summer is coming to an end (hallelujah!) and my baking responsibilities will be picking up again, so I thought I’d do a quick photo-heavy wrap-up of what I’ve been baking this summer.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies from The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook. This is definitely my new favorite cookbook. I’ve made so many things from it (there will be photos of more in this post) and everything so far has turned out great.

Megan's Bridal Shower dessert table
Have I mentioned my sister-in-law is getting married on Friday?!? In June, the other bridesmaids and I threw Megan’s bridal shower and her maid of honor and I baked everything but the cake for her dessert table. I brought chocolate-dipped merengues, spiced sugar cookies and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles! The truffles are from The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook and are quite possibly the most addicting and delicious thing ever. And there’s no baking at all!

Cocktail-Inspired Cupcakes
Last month, the other bridesmaids and I threw Megan’s bachelorette party and I baked cocktail-inspired cupcakes. The party was great! We even got upgraded to the Presidential Suite at the Roosevelt Hotel! The cupcakes looked so at home in that lavish suite.

Mojito Cupcakes
Mojito Cupcakes

Old Fashioned Cupcakes
Old-Fashioned Cupcakes

White Russian Cupcakes
White Russian Cupcakes

Moscow Mule Cupcakes
Non-Alcoholic Moscow Mule Cupcakes

Screwdriver Cupcakes
Non-Alcoholic Screwdriver Cupcakes

Red, White and Blue Cupcakes
July 4th Red, White and Blue Vanilla Cupcakes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes (Can you guess where this recipe is from?)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough-Stuffed Cupcakes innards

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Thumprint Cookies
Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Thumbprint Cookies (Again, from The Cookie Dough Lovers Cookbook)

And that’s it! There have been a few other items that I didn’t photograph, but I’m getting back in the swing of things now. I’ll be providing baked goods for the first Largehearted Lit event of the season at Word bookstore in Greenpoint on Wednesday, September 19th. The book/music event is free, so come check out some great authors, music and cookies!

Book review: “Marshmallow Madness” by Shauna Sever

You might think you know marshmallows. Those big, puffy white pillows that come in a Jet-Puffed bag or those tiny, crunchy blue stars and red hearts in a box of Lucky Charms. Think again.

Shauna Sever (of the blog Piece of Cake) brings you a myriad of delicious and delightful marshmallow recipes in her new cookbook “Marshmallow Madness”. The recipes range from classic Vanilla Marshmallows to boozy Margarita Marshmallows to fruity Key Lime Pie Marshmallows (rolled in crushed graham cracker crumbs)!

I set out to try one of the recipes and settled on Root Beer Float Marshmallows.

Root Beer Float Marshmallows

These marshmallows are made with actual bottled root beer. Root beer is mixed with the gelatin and it’s also added into the sugar/corn syrup mixture, which gets whipped along with the gelatin to within an inch of its life.

Shauna’s recipes are clear, concise and easy to follow. I was skeptical that the liquidy mess I was pouring into the bowl of my KitchenAid mixer would turn into marshmallow, but sure enough, it tripled in volume and became a gooey, sticky, delicious confection. Wary of getting a spatula coated in marshmallow, I simply coated my hands with cooking spray and scooped the marshmallow goo into a greased 8×8 glass pan by hand.

The hardest part of the whole marshmallow-making procedure is waiting six hours for the marshmallow to cure and set up. But set up it does! These marshmallows aren’t anything like those Jet-Puffed ones; they’re light and airy but with a little bit of jiggle. The people who tasted these marshmallows compared their appearance to tofu or flan, but I think that had more to do with the slightly tan color that came from the root beer.

I only had two issues with my marshmallows. The first was that the root beer flavor was just a little too subtle. Shauna writes that root beer extract is optional if you’re using a high-quality root beer. I went with Virgil’s, which is an amazingly flavorful root beer, but the intensity of the flavor just didn’t carry over. When I make these again (and I will make them again), I will definitely add the root beer extract for the added oomph of flavor.

The second problem was that my marshmallows seemed to absorb the powdered sugar and cornstarch coating that they were dusted with. The coating helps to keep the marshmallows from sticking together, but my coating just got absorbed. I’m not sure if I should have dusted them and then laid them all out single file on a baking sheet instead of throwing the in a Tupperware bowl (which is what I did). I will play around with this coating in my next few marshmallow attempts until I get it right.

Root Beer Float Marshmallows

There are so many wonderful recipes in this book that I can’t wait to try. I’m especially looking at the aforementioned Key Lime Pie marshmallows and the vegan ones for my sister-in-law.

And, just in time for Easter, Shauna has linked a couple of videos on her blog that will teach you how to make your very own Marshmallow Peeps! I’m already committed to bringing an Angel Food Cake to my family’s Easter dinner, but those Peeps were second on my list!

Beet Ice Cream from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”

Well, Ice Cream Week has come to a close here on the ol’ blog. If you only take one thing away from this week’s posts, let it be this; Beet Ice Cream is PINK.

Beet Ice Cream

This recipe intrigued me the first time I saw it in the cookbook. In addition to the milk/cream/sugar base that the majority of the ice creams in Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home use, this one combines two roasted, pureed beets and mascarpone cheese and throws an orange peel into the mix to steep. Jeni calls for poppy seeds to be added while the ice cream is churning, but my texture issues with bits in food put the kibosh on that.

And there in lies the problem. I pureed my beets and forced the puree through a fine mesh sieve, but the ice cream is still full of tiny little beet bits. My husband Rob didn’t have a problem with the beet bits, but I sure did. Even though I enjoy the flavor of this ice cream quite a bit (it’s so interesting and not at all what you think it might taste like), I only had one bowl because I couldn’t deal with the beet bits. I wish there was some way to OBLITERATE bits in food so that everything could be completely super smooth. But until that magical device finds its way into my home, I’ll stick to the creamy recipes.

Beet Ice Cream

So that wraps up Ice Cream Week! I will definitely still post all the recipes I try, but autumn is in the air and there are MANY baked goods on my horizon. In fact, there are a couple of pies cooling in my kitchen as I type this. More about those later.

The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”

Day three of Ice Cream Week! This time, it’s chocolate.

Jeni's Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World

I made three recipes out of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home before diving into chocolate. So when it was time to go chocolate, I decided to really GO chocolate and chose the recipe titled “The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World.”

This ice cream gets its intense chocolately flavor from a chocolate sauce that combines cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, brewed coffee and sugar.

Jeni notes that this ice cream has a slightly chewy texture, which is true. I sort of love it. I like chewing my ice cream; it makes it seem like a meal.

The only issue I had with this ice cream was my own fault. Pretty much every ice cream recipe in the book calls for a little cream cheese and I was using cream cheese from a small tub. I think I pushed the tub too far back in my freezer and froze the cream cheese, which then thawed back out. My cream cheese had tiny little ‘beads’ in it, like tapioca, which I thought I got all smoothed out, but which reappeared upon freezing the ice cream. It didn’t affect the taste or texture in the least, but it was a little strange to see ‘bumpy’ ice cream in the dish.

Jeni's Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World

Tomorrow I’ll finish out Ice Cream Week with Beet Ice Cream! Think pink!

Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”

Ice Cream Week continues! Today I’m spotlighting the Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet I made using the recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.

Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet

I love lemon. It’s one of my favorite flavors. There’s a lemon frozen yogurt recipe in this book that’s calling my name, as soon as I get the time I need to prep that thing (you have to let yogurt strain for at least 8 hours in advance!). I’m also a fan of watermelon, as long as I eat it with a fork so I can pick all the seeds out. I hate taking a big bite of watermelon and ending up with a mouthful of seeds.

Therein lies the problem with this recipe. You are instructed to cut watermelon into chunks, remove the seeds and then puree it. Removing seeds from watermelon isn’t the easiest task. The black ones come out all right, but those little yellowy ones do not want to let go. Then you’re instructed to remove one cup of the puree and reserve the rest for another use. I’m not sure what that other use is, so I just cut a little at a time and pureed it, until I ended up with a cup. And that cup was mostly liquid.

I don’t know about you, but when I think of ‘puree’, I picture applesauce. Or baby food. A thick, pudding-like substance. I put my watermelon chunks in my food processor and two pulses later, I had watermelon juice. There was very little by way of watermelon ‘puree’.

I went ahead with the recipe and churned the liquidiness in my ice cream maker. 20 minutes later, I had a good-looking consistency, but when I stopped the machine and started to scoop it out, I noticed there was still a lot of liquid in the bottom of the machine. I churned for about five more minutes, but I started to get nervous that I was going to make my sorbet crumbly, so I stopped the machine, poured it all into a container, gave it a stir to incorporate the liquid, threw it in the freezer and said a quick prayer to the baking gods.

Well, it froze solid. There was no scooping of this sorbet. It was more like a granita. I had to chip at it to get a bowl full.

Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet

But man, oh man, it tasted fantastic. Slightly tart, a little bit sweet, big lemon flavor mixed in with that watermelon. We served it to friends and one of them (a vegan chef!) told me it was the best sorbet she’d ever had.

I posted my problem on the forum at Jeni’s website to see if I could get any pointers. I was told that the sorbet should not be liquidy while churning and that the puree consistency will depend on the sweetness of the watermelon. Great. I can’t very well tell how sweet the watermelon is without cutting into it and eating it. A few other people posted, commenting that they had the same problem, so maybe Jeni will look into this one and tell us all what we’re doing wrong.

Stay tuned! Coming up next will be the Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World!

Backyard Mint Ice Cream from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home”

So my friend Danae over at The Busty Baker has declared it Ice Cream Week on her blog, so I am shamelessly stealing the idea. I’ve made three different ice creams since my last post (Jeni’s The Buckeye State ice cream) and I’ve just been sitting on the photos. All the recipes have come from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home and I’ve had great success for the most part.

Up first: Backyard Mint!

My favorite summer seasonal flavor at Jeni’s scoop shops was always Backyard Mint. It’s a delectable mix of cream and mint with nary a hint of vanilla in sight. It hits you in the face with mint and it was always fantastic on its own or paired with Belgian Milk Chocolate. Insert Homer Simpson noise here. I hope Jeni opens a shop in Park Slope soon.

Jeni's Splendid Backyard Mint

Putting this ice cream together is super simple, probably among the simplest in the entire book. The only problem is adding the mint. The cookbook calls for a ‘small handful’, but that’s a fairly subjective amount. I went with about 10-15 mint leaves and it might have been a touch much. I love mint, but hooooo boy, was this minty! Next time I think I’ll tone it down just a smidge.

Jeni's Splendid Backyard Mint

Out of the four flavors I’ve made so far, this is our second favorite. The Buckeye State is still winning and I’m planning to make a second batch this week!

Stay tuned, next up will be Watermelon Lemonade Sorbet!