Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Burgers & Buckeyes

First things first: if you did not just grunt at the photo above, sorry, you're not a true American. This past weekend the group got together and we cooked, ate, and took pictures (crazy Saturday night, what can I say). I had always heard how Thomas makes the best burgers, so I really wanted to try them out. These bad boys were heaven in a bun. I don't have a specific recipe for the burgers because Thomas is being a diva and refuses to disclose his secrets, but I did gather some tips for achieving burger perfection:
  • Put some ketchup & BBQ sauce into the ground beef for extra juice (about 1/4 cup of each per lb. of ground beef)
  • The burgers were about 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick
  • ALWAYS toast the buns. Nothing ruins a party like a soggy, pathetic bun.

Oh man, look at that juice
While Thomas was competing for America's Next Top Grill Master, I started baking. We had a ton of peanut butter in my house, A TON. I'm talking an industrial size vat of peanut butter. So, I was inspired to make one of my favorite candies, peanut butter buckeyes. 
For those of you who do not know what a buckeye is, it is a peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate, made to resemble the buckeye nut from Ohio. I'm not from Ohio, nor do I know many people from Ohio, but I do love peanut butter. And peanut butter with chocolate? Get outta town. That's gold.

The peanut butter mixture should be firm enough to hold a shape

Make sure that the chocolate is shiny and smooth and that there are no lumps. The chocolate should be a little  on the liquid-y side, so it is easier to dip the peanut butter balls into.

Peanut Butter Buckeyes
makes about 35 buckeyes

1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 stick salted butter (softened)
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup milk chocolate chips

  1. In a large mixer, beat the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla at a medium to high speed until combined
  2. Gradually add the sugar and blend until combined
  3. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil
  4. Shape the peanut butter mixture into small balls, about 1 tablespoon of mix per ball
  5. Put the balls in the freezer for at least 15 minutes to harden. The more time they have to harden, the easier they are to work with
  6. Use a double boiler to melt the chocolate chips until smooth and shiny
  7. Using a toothpick, dip each ball in the melted chocolate, making sure the sides are even
  8. Once all the balls have been dipped, place the balls back into the freezer for 15 minutes or into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes until the chocolate has hardened