FOR THE CENTERS:
¼ cup (60 g) cream cheese, at room temperature
1½ cups (275 g) creamy commercial peanut butter, such as Skippy
10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks/150 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons (10 g) fine sea salt
1 cup (85 g) almond or peanut flour (see Note)
2 cups (400 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
FOR DIPPING AND GARNISH:
About 4 cups (26 ounces/740 g) chopped dark chocolate, or 3 cups (19 ounces/540 g) chopped dark chocolate and ½ cup (4 ounces/110 g) mild vegetable oil
Coarse sea salt (optional)
Stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or electric mixer with large bowl
2 large (13” x 18”) rimmed baking sheets, lined with parchment or wax paper
Make the centers: Combine all the ingredients in the mixer bowl and beat on medium-high speed until completely incorporated and creamy-looking. Cover and refrigerate the peanut butter mixture until it has firmed up a little (it should be pliable but hold its shape), about 30 minutes.
Scoop up a tablespoon of the mixture, roll it into a ball with your hands, and place it on one of the prepared baking sheets; repeat with the remaining mixture. Once all the mixture has been formed, place the balls in the refrigerator until firm, about 30 minutes. (Any leftover peanut butter mixture can be wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to a week.)
Prepare the dipping chocolate: Temper the 4 cups of dark chocolate (ed. note: using the double-boiler method Liz discussed on Serious Eats. Just be careful to not let any water get into the chocolate). Or use the 3 cups dark chocolate and ½ cup oil to make Cheater’s Chocolate Coating: place the chocolate the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in the microwave for 20 seconds. Stir with a whisk or heatproof spatula. Keep microwaving in 20-second increments, stirring after each, until the chocolate melts. Then, slowly stir in the oil until it is completely incorporated. Allow it to cool to the consistency of hot fudge before using. Place the coating of your choice in a large bowl.
Dip the buckeyes: Stick a toothpick into a peanut butter ball and dip it in the chocolate, but don’t submerge it–leave the top quarter undipped. This spot is what makes a buckeye a Buckeye! Transfer the buckeye to the second prepared baking sheet. Pull out the toothpick, twisting it gently, and either use your thumb to carefully smooth out the hole left behind or cover it with a few grains of coarse sea salt. Repeat with the remaining buckeyes.
Allow the buckeyes to set up until the chocolate is firm, 15 to 20 minutes. Store the buckeyes, layered with wax paper, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
NOTE: Nut flours are sold at specialty and health food stores. Bob’s Red Mill is a widely available brand; they have a great almond flour that works very well in this recipe, adding a delicate nutty flavor and hearty texture we love. Peanut flour, which you can find online at Amazon, adds a extra-special peanutty kick that you should definitely try at least once.
Read more about this recipe in our cookbook review: Enjoy the Sweet Life with Liddabit Sweets Candy Cookbook!