I whipped up these quick no bake bars to use up some leftover Easter candy. Crunch bars and Reese’s Pieces Eggs plus just three other ingredients make for a crispy, chocolatey, peanut buttery treat perfect for Easter or several days after. Plus, read on for the elusive story of buckeye candy and some yummy related recipe features.
Since looking into the history of this recipe, I realized that not everyone is familiar with this treat at all! What the heck?! It’s definitely one of the easiest candy recipes out there and the combo of chocolate and peanut butter is always a winner. Buckeyes are a popular Ohioan/Midwestern confection consisting of balls of peanut butter partially dipped in milk chocolate. They are named for their resemblance to the nut produced by Ohio’s state tree, the buckeye tree. Buckeye nuts are so named because the nuts resemble the eye of the white tailed deer. Buck eyes, get it?
The association of Ohio with buckeyes may stem from an 1840 election speech given by General William Henry Harrison wherein he referred to Ohio as ‘The Buckeye State.’ It may also be dated even earlier. In 1788, native Americans of the are now known as Marietta, Ohio nicknamed colonial explorer Ebenezer Sproat after ‘the eye of the buck.’ However the association began, in 1952 The Ohio General Assembly declared the buckeye the official state tree ’cause there’s so damn many of ’em here! If state candies existed, ours would definitely be the buckeye. In Columbus, home of Ohio State Buckeye sports, candy company Anthony Thomas produces 100,000 pounds of buckeyes every year! You can find the world’s largest buckeye, weighing 271 pounds, in Fremont, Ohio.
Ohioan Gail Tabor claims to be the inventor of this popular treat. She was trying to make some other type of candy around Christmastime but things didn’t turn out quite right. However, as you bakers and cooks know, sometimes a happy accident can happen in the kitchen. She showed her ‘failed’ candy to her husband who remarked that they looked like buckeyes. Tabor called her creation ‘Buckeye Balls’ and made them every year for seventeen years straight for the Ohio State-Michigan football game. (We hate each other. It’s a big deal since states can’t go to war with each other anymore.) The candy was very popular and she got many requests for the recipe. She kept it secret until a woman who was moving to Oklahoma asked her for it. Tabor figured it would stay secret because who even lives in Oklahoma for that lady to tell about it? Later, Tabor learned the woman had sent the recipe to the Ohio State Alumni Magazine. And the rest is history.
Gail Tabor’s Original Buckeye Balls Recipe:
4 pounds powdered sugar
1 pound butter
6 or more tablespoons peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 block canning wax
Combine first four ingredients, adding a bit of milk if necessary. Rolls into small balls. Melt chocolate chips and canning wax in top of double boiler. Make sure chocolate and wax are mixed well so wax doesn’t rise to the top. With toothpick, dip the balls into the chocolate, but do not cover completely. Chill in refrigerator. After chocolate is hardened, store candy in plastic bags in freezer.
Buckeye Crunch Bars
1 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup butter, divided
2 cups powdered sugar
3 cups fun size Crunch bars
Melt peanut butter and half of butter in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each.
Mix in powdered sugar.
Press mixture into bottom of well-greased 8” square pan.
Melt remaining butter and Crunch bar pieces in microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring after each.
Spread over top of peanut butter mixture in pan.
Sprinkle Reese’s candy over top.
Move to freezer for one hour to set.
Cut into 16 squares.