One of KD’s Christmas traditions is making candies with her grandmother, ED and sister, AG. ED, who will be 92 years old this January, loves to cook. For the holidays, she usually makes a few types of fudge, including chocolate, peanut butter and penuchi, as well as these “Buck Eyes”, also referred to as “Buffalo Balls” by some family members.
She starts by combining a jar of peanut butter with a cup of crushed graham crackers (not vanilla wafers as stated in the recipe), 1 lb. confectioner’s sugar, two sticks of room temperature butter and a cup of walnuts, roughly chopped. As Alton Brown and KD’s grandmother agree, your hands are the best tools for the job.
She mixes everything together by hand and rolls the mixture into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls and places them on wax paper while she prepares the chocolate.
To make the coating, she melts one package of chocolate chips and half of a block of paraffin wax in a double boiler. The wax is added to help the chocolate harden properly and to add sheen. There is some controversy over using wax in candies, some folks suggest substituting vegetable shortening.
Once everything is fully melted, ED removes the coating from the heat and places the pot near the tray of balls. Using a slotted spoon, she dips each one in the chocolate, making sure they are fully covered, and gently returns them to the waxed paper.
They are delicious when eaten right away, although a little messy until the chocolate sets. These Buck Eyes have big peanut flavor, and the chunks of walnut add a nice bit of crunch. ED generally makes enough Christmas treats so she can pack tins full of goodies to share with her friends and family.
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