Ohio: Buckeye Bars

Ohio’s cookie is a bar version of The Buckeye State’s buckeye candy: a shortbread base with a creamy peanut butter layer topped with fudgy chocolate.

Recipe source:

These bars sound right up my alley. I love peanut butter and chocolate. Reese’s cups are a favorite candy and the combo in ice cream is fantastic. My favorite really quick snack/post-workout refuel/I just want to stop feeling hungry snack is a spoonful of peanut butter. My body is ready.

Yes, that is a pound of butter there. Yikes!

For some reason this recipe makes heavy use of the food processor instead of a mixer. I’m not sure why. Maybe the person who created it doesn’t have a stand mixer.

Return of the parchment handles! I got lazy and folded under instead of trimming to size. I think it gave it more lifting endurance though.
Whipping the butter. One stick went into this.
After adding the flour. Crumbly but coming together.

Ugh, scraping peanut butter into a food processor is the worst. There’s no good place to scrape it off, and the middle of the axle was bound to get messy.

Look at this mess.
Butter and peanut butter together. It did whip it very smooth. One of those sticks went into this.
After adding the powdered sugar. It was similar to the consistency of Reese’s filling but less stiff and dry.

Next comes the chocolate layer. First, I was annoyed that the peanut butter layer ingredients didn’t specify room-temperature butter (though it was pretty obvious that it needed to be). And now I curse this imprecision:

What is this, Mee-maw’s ancient recipe? Is the flour measured in handfuls? Tell me how many ounces each bag should be at least!

The instructions said that if one doesn’t like a 1:1 ratio of peanut butter to chocolate, then halve the chocolate layer ingredients. I’d love an equal ratio but there’s an issue:

That’s about one centimeter of head space there. Despite the originating recipe’s images, the peanut butter layer is biggest by far. The shortbread layer wasn’t even as thick. And I did use an 8×8 pan as instructed.

Being that my “bag of chocolate chips” was a 1.5 pounder, I eyeballed half of the bag and used 3/4 of a stick of butter instead of 3/4 of a cup.

I faithfully used the repeated 15 second intervals of microwaving method and I dunno, it didn’t seem to get overly hot but it looks kind of seized. Eh, it’s fudge.
See what I mean about the layers? Peanut butter dominates.

Overall impressions: I feel somewhat weird about it, and maybe I just wasn’t in the mood tonight, but this really didn’t do it for me. Maybe it’s because the layers are uneven (and I really have no idea what I did that they turned out that way). My first thought was, “If I wanted a mouthful of peanut butter, I would have eaten a spoonful of peanut butter.” They’re good, but sometimes you don’t want a Reese’s Big Cup. It didn’t help that the corner pieces seemed to be missing some shortbread. Maybe I’m crazy, but I think mashed up with some vanilla ice cream would do the trick. Or a smaller serving.

Tips and suggestions:

  1. Next time I think maybe I wouldn’t add all the peanut butter filling. I’d try and make sure the layers are even (maybe bake it in an 8×8″ Pyrex so I can see from outside what they look like). Even if they’re thinner bars, I think the ratio would be better.
  2. I’d also melt the chocolate over a double boiler instead of using the microwave. I swear it makes a difference.
  3. Make sure to spread the shortbread into the corners and edges more.
  4. Maybe use the mixer rather than the food processor. I don’t think the food processor did anything the mixer wouldn’t be able to do. And it’s so much easier to scrape a bowl and paddle than trying to scrape blades and under the blades without slicing up my silicone spatula.

Next time: Pecan Pie Cookies for Oklahoma. Now these are definitely up my alley.

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