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Unwrapping the History of Buckeye Candies This Holiday Season

A plate full of peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate otherwise known as Buckeyes

The story of the chocolate peanut butter recipe

Oh Buckeye, Oh Buckeye, How Lovely Are Thy Treats! 

Hello, fellow sweet-tooth enthusiasts and holiday cheer spreaders! As we deck the halls and trim our trees, let’s dive into a delectable piece of Ohio’s Christmas tradition – the legendary Buckeye candy. Trust me, these aren’t your average holiday treats; they’re a festive phenomenon!

🌰 What’s In A Buckeye, Anyway?

Imagine a smooth, creamy blend of butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter, lovingly dipped in rich, melting chocolate with just a dash of vanilla. That’s the Buckeye – a simple yet divine union of chocolate and peanut butter that can make your eyes roll back in pure bliss.

🎁 A Christmas Tradition with a Twist

In Ohio, while cookies are great, the Buckeyes steal the show. These chocolate-dipped peanut butter balls are the first to vanish from dessert plates. Why, you ask? Well, if you’ve never had a Buckeye, picture the most perfectly crafted sweet morsel that puts even the most elaborately decorated cookie to shame.

📜 The Tale Behind the Buckeye Candy Treat

Here’s where the tale takes an intriguing turn. The Buckeye candy’s origin story is as rich as its taste, brimming with historical flavor. Significantly, the credit for this culinary invention goes to Gail Tabor, an innovative Ohioan who, back in 1965, sparked a sensation by dipping peanut butter balls in chocolate. Notably, these treats became a hit, particularly during the Ohio State vs. Michigan game, as a symbolic nod to their resemblance to the Ohio State tree’s nut.

🕵️‍♂️ The Plot Twist of the Iconic Candy Recipe

Now, as with every great story, there’s always a twist of intrigue, right? Initially, Gail’s recipe was a closely guarded secret, protected until the mid-1970s. However, a dramatic turn occurred when a trusted friend betraying her trust, revealed it to the masses, and unjustly took all the credit for herself. But fear not; the story doesn’t end there. In 1983, Gail took a decisive step to reclaim her narrative, effectively setting the record straight through a revealing article.

🎉 From Tailgates to Wedding Cakes

What started as a game day treat soon became a staple at Christmas celebrations and weddings across Ohio and beyond. The simple buckeye candies became a sweet symbol of joy and togetherness, transcending its humble beginnings.

📍 Where to Score Your Buckeye Fix

For those in the know, the real Buckeyes are found not just at the “Shoe” in Columbus but in many Ohioan homes. These delectable treats are also popular in specialty shops and candy stores. Moreover, the Anthony Thomas Candy Company once crafted a staggering Buckeye weighing 235 pounds

📖 The Original Buckeye Recipe – A Holiday Must-Try

Craving to make your own? Gail Tabor’s original recipe (see below), with its flexible peanut butter rule (“start with six tablespoons, then adjust to taste”), is available on her son’s blog, “Newsroom With A View.” It’s a holiday adventure worth embarking on!

As we embrace the holiday season, let’s remember the humble beginnings of Ohio’s beloved Buckeye candies. Whether you’re an Ohioan or just a curious foodie, trying this iconic treat is a must. For they are not just mere candies. This simple yet scrumptious treat celebrates tradition, creativity, and the joy of holiday indulgence.

So, here’s to a holiday filled with love, laughter, and plenty of Buckeyes! 🥳🍬

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Gail Tabor’s Original Buckeye Balls Recipe

4 pounds powdered sugar
1 pound butter
6 or more tablespoons of peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
12 ounces chocolate chips
1 block canning wax * (This is the original recipe. However, we recommend using Paraffin wax. See below for an explanation.)

First, mix together the first four ingredients, adding milk if needed, and then roll them into small balls. Next, melt the chocolate chips and canning wax together in a double boiler. Make sure to stir the chocolate and wax thoroughly, preventing the wax from separating and rising to the top. Then, dip the balls into the chocolate with a toothpick, remembering to leave part of them uncovered. After dipping, place them in the refrigerator to chill. Once the chocolate has hardened, the final step is to store the candies in plastic bags in the freezer.

* Paraffin Wax makes chocolate shiny and stable: Adding paraffin wax to chocolate makes it look shiny and stay solid at room temperature. It’s used in some candy bars to stop them from melting in your hand and is a main ingredient in chocolate coatings for ice cream and cookies. 

Understanding the difference between Paraffin and Canning wax: Usage and Safety:

  • Paraffin Wax: In the kitchen, food-grade paraffin wax is used to coat chocolates and candies and seal certain types of food. It’s essential to ensure the paraffin wax is food-grade for safety and health reasons.
  • Canning Wax: This wax is primarily used for sealing jars in home canning to create an airtight and hygienic seal. It’s not typically used in direct food applications like coating chocolates.
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