No thanks. I don't need to be reminded of all the OSU worshipping that goes on back in buckeye land.
When I feel like I've accomplished something, I put some Ray Conniff or Lennon Sisters on the old hi-fi.
Can this be done without gross shortening?
Lola @3 - yes, you can use a better quality chocolate, and you can use butter instead of shortening.

The recipe my mother had for these things included using some kind of wax in either the peanut butter or the choclate mixture. She could never figure out why they didn't taste like the ones my neighbor made (that presumably didn't involve wax of any kind). Thanks to the internet, I figured out pretty quickly that the recipe she had been given was some kind of weird, 70s, preservative fest.
Oh, also - I'd recommend a double boiler for melting the chocolate, rather than just using a pan over direct heat. The chocolate is less likely to burn that way.
Oh, also - I'd recommend a double boiler for melting the chocolate, rather than just using a pan over direct heat. The chocolate is less likely to burn that way.
Lola and Sheryl: I've tried with super-expensive chocolate and butter, and failed to get the right dipping consistency -- which could be user error, but just a warning. (My mother's old recipe also called for paraffin! Paraffin, which makes shortening look new wave.)
@3 & @4 My chocolate bible, "Cocolat" by Alice Medrich, uses high quality chocolate and butter, and a teeny bit of light corn syrup.

However, I would have to say the quintessential holiday cookie would be the big, chewy, sugar-crusted ginger cookie...mmm.
Okay, sorry to be arguing again, but in my experience a double boiler is a total pain in the ass when you're trying to dip the chocolate as it's running low -- and totally unnecessary. I tried that, too. Again, just my experience, just sharing.
am i the onliest one who thinks they look like a box of....?
What kind of double boiler are you using, dear? It's just a pan inside a pan. How could it be any different, dipping-wise? Did one of those clerks at the Value Village sell you a teapot or percolator or something and tell you it's a double boiler?
Wolverines are awesome. The animals, not the jocks. I'd eat cookies called wolverines.
Hey, seriously NOT trying to hijack this thread, but does anyone remember a "young adult" novel that had a wolverine or fisher as the main character?
Actually, the shortening is important. The higher melting point helps hold the chocolate on the cookie (butter is too soft at fairly low temps and the chocolate tends to slough away from the buckeye). Same thing with refrigerated dough that you roll. The shortening stays firm and therefor the cookie adheres less to your rolling surface.
Jen, yeah, they are a pain. But I tend to burn things without even trying, so I still use one (well, a homeade one, at any rate - a small sauce pan over a larger sauce pan) to reduce the chances.

Parrafin! Yes - that's what was in my mother's recipe. I think there is a certain amount of that in chocolate chips, which may be why they work so well.

I've done it with good chocolate and butter and it has worked before...or has at least worked well enough. I'm not one for aesthetics when I'm cooking - nothing I make ever looks good, but it generally tastes good, which is much more important.
My pupils are dilating, and I'm moaning just THINKING about buckeyes. Now I'm going to have to make them. Thanks a lot.
I really love that, just for once, SLOGGERS are arguing over the relative merits of butter-versus-shortening and double-versus-single boilers!
@3 - often butter can replace shortening but not always. as @14 points out, shortening has different consistencies at different temps than butter and so you can't always substitute. in my experience you'll generally get a softer, oilier feel when you replace shortening with butter. although butter tastes better. :)

also - curious as to why you think shortening is "gross"? is it the health issues, taste, texture? what? just curious.

@5 - In my experience (YMMV) double boilers are not necessary if you use a sauce pan that's relatively heavy and thick (especially the bottom). If your sauce pan is relatively thin - i.e. most stainless cookware or cheap-o cookware) then a double-boiler can help.
@Canuck — Redwall? I didn't read it, but that sounds like a possibility?

I'm gonna advocate for the paraffin wax version, since it's what my dad's/my version uses. We've never used shortening and the consistency's always been perfect, easy as pie, and I've honestly never noticed a taste difference between ours and those made by other families.

The biggest trouble with paraffin is FINDING the stuff. It's pretty easy in the south, but major metropolitan areas tend to be devoid of it. We just buy a huge box when we find it and it usually lasts five or so years.

We do the cheap version of a double boiler — one pan balanced precariously on top of another — and again, no troubles. And we cover the WHOLE ball in chocolate, so they're not technically buckeyes, but fuck yeah chocolate, right?
Isn't paraffin a petroleum product? I'm already going to kill myself with adult onset diabetes; I don't need to literally poison myself as well.
I like using the Crock Pot Little Dipper:…

It keeps a nice consistent temperature perfect for dipping. It's also under $20.00.
Meh, I don't like the mouth feel on paraffin.

Although I use shortening for the reasons above, I also think it's gross. It's also messy and difficult to measure....

One way to get around the double boiler is to melt the shortening, butter, or paraffin first, so that the chocolate is not sitting directly on the hot pan.
I am shocked to discover that people put paraffin wax in something that humans eat. I use that stuff to make fire starters for camping! It burns like gangbusters.

PS, @19

The always-resplendent HARDWICK'S in the U District carries paraffin wax.
Hi keshi! The paraffin used for cooking is made from vegetable oils. (There are many paraffins---not all are edible)
You could try:

1 lb (4 cups) confectioners' (powdered) sugar
30 grams (1/3 cup) unsweetened ( I like Scharffen Berger) cocoa powder
42 grams (3 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
120 ml (1/2 cup) milk

I always make mine in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir until smooth, but still thick.

It works great for making Lamingtons. Of course, I'm dipping chilled squares of sponge cake with it and not Buckeyes.

Just thought I'd throw it out there.
I find that an aluminum mixing bowl set into a pan of water makes a good double boiler, but watch out because the edges get HOT.
I have never heard of eating paraffin, unless you count the thin layer on store-bought apples. Still, I wouldn't deliberately add it to my food. Shortening maybe, if I had to, but not paraffin.

I've heard of making buckeyes with hershey bars, with noting added. But I've never made them yself so I can't really say.

Alternatives to cooking with wax.
Parafin is used in many candy bars. We've probably all eaten lots of it through the years. If anyone wants to buy some, I'm pretty sure the Red Apple on Beacon Hill sells it.

But what's all this loose talk about improvised double boilers? I have a lovely Georges Briard double boiler that I leave out on the stovetop for decoration, and a handsome copper and ceramic number I drag out when I mean business. Both from the thrifts, and worth every nickel, especially when dealing with temperamental stuff like chocolate or milk.

Furnishing a kitchen can be fun and thrifty if you have patience.

Well that's a relief. I thought it was the same stuff used in candles.
I have a recipe for killer brownies with fudge topping and the fudge topping solidifies well. It would be soft & sticky still, not a shell, but adheres well (at least to non-stick pans and butter/corn syrup-based brownies...) and gets a glossy ganache-like finish.

Melt together over low heat:
2/3 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Remove from heat & add:
2 teaspoons milk

It's very runny at first, so walk away and let it cool for 10-15 minutes or so.

Must try the buckeyes recipe... yum!
Ewww. Guys, those things are disgusting. How many ways do you need to put butter, peanut butter and chocolate together?
According to my stomach, as many ways as possible.
Bringing Buckeyes to a party is all well and good. But here's another Ohio specialty that is just as sinfully delicious if not actually addictive; however, it is recommended that you already have your name on a waiting list for a heart transplant. Lacto-intolerant vegans should stop reading right about here:

1 lb hot sausage
1 lb mild sausage
2 lbs Velveeta cheese
1 12-oz can evaporated milk
1 small jar pimentos
Tabasco sauce to taste
Brown sausage (drain grease); melt cheese in crockpot; add remaining ingredients. Serve hot with triangular chips.
I haven't used a double boiler for years, ever since discovering that you can easily melt chocolate in the microwave. Chop the chocolate, then microwave on the defrost setting for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Best to stop before every last bit is melted, and then stir to melt the remaining bit.

This process has the byproduct of tempering the chocolate -- the crystalline structure in the unmelted chocolate seeds the formation of crystals in the cooling chocolate, such that the chocolate dries firm and glossy, rather than mealy and dull.
Are those instructions only partial? Surely there is flour or something involved, and I assume they get cooked at some point. Not that I planned to make them anyway - I hate peanut butter.
No, Dee, apparently that's it. I know, it doesn't sound very appetizing to me either, but I've never had one.
I've been making them for years -- I'm from the Midwest originally, so it's like a law or something -- and I carefully melt the chocolate in the microwave in a glass bowl. I use Ghirardelli chips, adding no lard or butter or anything else -- and they're a huge, huge hit. I also cover them completely, so they look like truffles. People ask me every year when I'm going to start making them and handing them out.

They are considered a confection or candy. I've never made them or tried them, though. From the Joy of Baking: "The best way to describe their flavor is to say they are like a homemade Reese's Peanut Butter Cup. They have that same lovely coating of chocolate with a smooth and creamy peanut butter filling that is almost fudge-like in texture."

Read more:…

I'd rather mess with lamingtons. I usually make traditional and buttered-rum, and I'm going to attempt a carmel-whisky version. I'm not crazy about peanut butter anymore.
@28 - I'm a lover of thrift shops when it comes to equipping my kitchen. The area I live in is filled with suburbs and students. The students give stuff away when they graduate (because their parents have more money than sense and buy them state-of-the-art stuff for making microwave popcorn and ramen noodles), and the suburban housewives replace things way more often than is necessary. Pretty much all of my dishes and flatware have come from there, and I found a set of vintage Pyrex mixing bowls - the heavy kind my mom had - for $5.

I haven't seen any good double boilers, though, or I probably would have bought one by now.
those are delicious. my gramma has made them for us since i was wee.
and they don't require any baking, dee. just chill 'em down, and devour.
@5280, blip and Kim - Thanks for the clarification. I guess the word 'cookie' threw me off. Plus, they do kind of look baked in that picture.

Kim - Lamingtons, oh my word! Please send me some! Actually, now you mention it, maybe I should try my hand at baking some. I haven't had one since my last trip home. Did some clever Aussie/Kiwi introduce you to them? Your boozy versions sound great, do you flavor the cake, the filling, or both?
I have made these EVERY YEAR since 1976. I have rolled thousands of these little balls, here are the tips:

1. the recipe is 1, 2, 3. 1 pound of butter, 2 pounds peanut butter, 3 pounds powdered sugar.

2. do not double the recipe, EVER.

3. put a small amount of parafin wax in the chocolate, about half the size of your thumb for every 16oz of chocolate in the double boiler.

Go forth and eat my friends.
Fear the nut.
So. These are similar to my grandma's peanut-butter balls. Unfortunately, she left us without writing down the recipe. However, we figured out that her secret ingredient was cornflakes. If you like a little more crunch than this recipe will give you, try adding a couple of cups into the peanut butter. So good. Miss you grandma.

@37 - we cover them entirely here in MN, too. So not truly buckeyes.
Hi Dee,

I posted the Buttered-rum Lamingtons recipe here:… See post 70.

I got my traditional recipe from The Joy of Baking website which lists "The Cook's Companion," by Stephanie Alexander as its source.

I fell in love with Australia when I was about 10 years-old, and I'm still enchanted. It's on the list of places to go, not next year though, I have family to see in Denmark. My daughter's friend's dad is from Perth and they came up in a conversation once, so I researched them. The period between Thanksgiving and New Years is loaded with birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and I found that they work wonderfully for cocktail parties.

The caramel-whisky (Kentucky, can't bring myself to experiment with bourbon) ones are in process. The cake is being baked today. And, the rest will be done tomorrow. We will see how they turn out.
Ew. Take the peanut butter out, and they might be edible. Peanut butter is for baiting rat traps.
Kim - Thanks a bunch, I am definitely going to give that recipe a shot. I'll let you know how it comes out! Good luck with the caramel/whiskey variant - sounds deeeeeeeeelicious.
I have some real buckeyes mellowing out on my kitchen counter. They make great worry stones.
And I've got a bunch of buckeye wood sitting here waiting to be made into knife handles. Great stuff.
Deal lord. Here's a wonderful recipe for buckeyes. Non chemical ingredients.…
Lordy, Once people start firing up the microwaves, I know it's time for me to head to the pantry and count the napkins. I have shrunk our microwave down to the smallest one I can find, and would get rid of it entirely, except that certain people around Chez Vel-DuRay (who cook once a decade and make it more ceremonial than a papal installation) get all tense and brusque when you change things too much.

And I admit the "radar range" does come in handy for drunk food. If you pass while it's cooking, you probably shouldn't be eating, and you just throw it out in the morning. If you pass out while somethings on the cooktop, you end up with a horrible smell in the house and a piece of Kobenstyle fused to the burner.
Dear I must agree. I tossed my old cancer box several months ago since I never used it. However there are the refined few who contain the brainpower for a simple double boiler.
I've always made these with whatever chocolate chips were available at the grocery store, melted very carefully in the microwave, with no wax or anything else diluting it for the coating. They're always great. If I take them on a long car trip and there's a lot of variation in the temperature, the chocolate might get a little ashy looking, but they're still delicious.
For those of you who have never had a buckeye: I'd never even HEARD of them until I went to a conference in Ohio. They were arrayed in (many) rows along a table, and I wandered over to look at them. Suddenly I was elbowed aside by several dozen grad students all shouting "Buckeyes!" so I had to grab one. I couldn't believe how good it was! Amazing. I must have had a dozen. They sell them at all the Ohio airports, too, like we have aplets and cotlets (the buckeyes win in comparison, by the way). And yeah, they look a LOT like the heads of uncircumcised penii.
I just made some-they came out super crumbly and hard to form into balls. I suspect this is because I used natural hippy peanut butter instead of Skippy.

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