Because of the cult-like following of our college football team, everyone in Ohio knows what a buckeye is; little chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls made to resemble the nut that grows on our state tree.
I don’t know how common they are in other parts of the world, but in Ohio they are everywhere. Basically they taste like a really creamy Reese Cup, and I am seriously addicted to them. The only thing I don’t like about them is they’re a little tedious to make, not very Stay At Work Housewife friendly. First you have to roll the peanut butter mixture into little balls, then you have to carefully dip them in melted chocolate without completely submerging them so that some of the peanut butter still shows (to resemble a buckeye), and if you accidentally drop one in the chocolate, it’s no longer a buckeye so you have to just eat it because you can no longer gift it that way. I told you, Ohioans are fanatical about buckeyes. A few Christmases ago I lost motivation by the time I got to the buckeyes and I decided to sort of cheat. No way was I rolling out all those peanut butter balls. That was the day my Christmas Buckeye Bark was born!
Two 10 oz bags of chocolate chips (I use semi sweet but I also love it with white chocolate)
2 tbsp Crisco shortening, divided
1 and 1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
Combine peanut butter, butter, and vanilla until blended, then slowly add powdered sugar while mixer is still on and combine completely. Set aside.
Place one bag of chocolate chips and 1 tablespoon Crisco in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second increments, stirring in between, until melted.
Pour melted chocolate on to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spread the melted chocolate out as smooth as you can get it; then place in the refrigerator or freezer until it hardens.
Once the chocolate has set, remove from fridge/freezer and add peanut butter mixture to the top. Spread it out evenly (I use my hands and push it out like a pizza crust), careful not to crack the chocolate underneath.
Melt remaining chocolate and Crisco, pour over peanut butter and smooth it out, make sure you cover the peanut butter completely.
*Optional: Add Christmas sprinkles or crushed peppermint before the chocolate has set.
Place it back into the fridge/freezer to harden.
Once the chocolate has set, you can cut it into desired sized squares with a sharp knife. I usually run my knife under hot water to heat it up, but dry it off before cutting the buckeye bark. Refrigerate in an airtight container. Enjoy!