National Peanut Butter Month: How to Make Buckeyes

BuckeyesNovember is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month — and it is certainly loved. You can find peanut butter in just about any edible form — cookies, cupcakes, chicken chili, Thai noodles –but since LTD Commodities is in the Midwest, our favorite way to serve peanut butter is as a buckeyes.

BuckeyesIf you don’t know what a buckeye is, it’s a tree. It’s native to the Midwest, but Ohio adopted it as its state tree and The Ohio State University claims it as its mascot (but we don’t have any collegiate allegiances at LTD Commodities). We refer to its seeds as buckeyes — which are very similar to chestnuts, but they’re highly toxic. Buckeye Balls — which are made with peanut butter and chocolate to look like buckeye seeds — are, however, certainly edible and absolutely addictive.

Here’s how to make Buckeyes:buckeye-blanket

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • 4 ounces dark chocolate chips (60% cacao or more)

In a bowl fitted with a stand mixer and paddle attachment or using a hand-mixer , beat together the butter, peanut butter and vanilla on low speed. When the mixture is smooth, start adding the powdered sugar a little bit at a time, occasionally scraping down the sides of the bowl. Scoop out about 1¼ TB of the mixture and form a ball with your hands. Set it on a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Repeat the process with the remaining batter. Refrigerate for about an hour.

Buckeyes

Melt the chocolate using a water bath: on high heat bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Reduce the heat to low and keep the water simmering. Place a kitchen towel over the pan and place a heat-proof bowl on top of the towel. Place the chocolate chips in the bowl to melt. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Buckeyes

Using a toothpick, spear a chilled peanut butter ball and dip it in the melted chocolate leaving a little bit of the peanut butter exposed — this is what makes them look like buckeyes. Return the peanut butter ball (now covered in chocolate) to the cookie sheet and repeat the process with the remaining peanut butter balls. Refrigerate for 15 or 20 minutes.

Serve immediately or refrigerate for later. This recipe makes about 25 peanut butter balls but it can be doubled, tripled or even cut in half.  Buckeyes also travel well for parties and they can be made ahead and frozen.

You don’t have to be from the Ohio or even the Midwest to enjoy a buckeye ball. They’re easy to make, perfect for the holidays and delicious — even a Michigan Wolverine would enjoy a good buckeye ball.

7 Foods You Thought Were Bad for You But Aren’t

Eating healthy can be a challenge. If it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, it might take a long time to prepare. However, there are some foods that just look too good to be true. But, in all reality are good for you. Here is a list of 7 foods that are actually good for you.

GuacamoleGuacamole The main ingredient of guacamole is avocado which is full of fat but it’s good fat that not only doesn’t contain cholesterol, but it can also help lower bad cholesterol. Avocados are also a good source of vitamin K, folic acid and vitamin E. In addition to avocados, guacamole also contains onions, jalapenos and tomatoes. Tomatoes are widely considered a super-food; they contain lycopene, vitamins A, C and E. Mix it all together and you have a cancer-fighting, heart-disease-battling dip.

Sweet Potato Fries Sweet potatoes are associated with carbohydrates which can scare away any dieter, but those orange tubers are packed with nutrients and they don’t contain nearly as much starch as rice or corn. Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, fiber and vitamin A (and Beta-carotene). Beta-carotene protects the body’s immune system and can lower the risk of cancer and heart disease. While adding fat through deep-frying isn’t ideal, in moderation the benefits outweigh the consequences. However, baked sweet potato fries are just as tasty as the fried ones.

Blueberry-SmoothieYogurt Blueberry Smoothie Smoothies get a bad rap for being high-calorie sugar shakes, but if you use yogurt instead of ice cream, they won?t be so bad. They can actually be quite good for you. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which prevents the production of cell-damaging free radicals. They’re also anti-inflammatories. Yogurt promotes intestinal health as it’s full of probiotics and the active cultures help prevent yeast infections. You can add banana for texture and potassium and orange juice as a sweetener and for some vitamin C. Just hit puree and you have a shake for cancer to contend with.

Pork Rinds Deep fried pig skin. Sounds heart-stopping- deadly, doesn’t it? Well, unlike their potato counterparts, pork rinds contain no carbohydrates. The other good news: the bad fat in the skin is rendered off in the cooking process leaving behind almost pure protein.

Peanut-Butter-CupsPeanut Butter Cups You got chocolate in my peanut butter! You got peanut butter in my chocolate! Together, they taste like strength. Peanut butter is a protein rich food that helps build and repair muscle. It also has cholesterol-lowering, healthy fats and it’s loaded with anti-oxidants. Wrapped in dark chocolate, this may be the perfect food. Dark chocolate can lower your blood pressure, improve your cognitive function and reduce the risk for stroke. A peanut butter cup made with the right ingredients does a body good.

Coffee Coffee doesn’t just wake you up in the morning, it can give your brain a boost. It actually stimulates the release of dopamine and norepinephrine as well as improve your memory and cognitive function. But a cup of Joe can give your whole body a kick start as well. The long term benefits may include lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer?s and Parkinson?s disease.

Fried Food Fried food not only tastes good, but it?s good for you, too. Sort of. It depends on what is being fried. Something like battered and fried broccoli isn’t so bad despite that it’s cloaked in fat. But foods that contain carotenoids and fat soluble vitamins like A and K need fat it helps the body absorbs the nutrients. What makes the frying bad is the type of fat. It’s better to stick to oils like canola and safflower that are made up of unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fatty acids which improve blood cholesterol levels and decrease your risk for heart disease. The bad fats like butter and shortening (trans fats) should be avoided. They increase cholesterol significantly.