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The (Crunchy!) Secret Ingredient To Pumped-Up Chocolate Buckeyes

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Whether you're baking treats for cozy Saturday afternoons, family get togethers, or that next holiday party, we partnered with Ghirardelli to share a few of our favorite back-pocket sweets you can turn to again and again.

When I was young, chocolate-covered buckeyes were a normal sweet that popped up at my house around the holidays. Covered in dark chocolate with a little eye of nut butter peeking out, candy buckeyes are named after the nut of the buckeye tree native to Ohio—smooth and brown, as coveted a token as a found arrowhead or seashell might be elsewhere.​

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An almond butter surprise covered in chocolate.
An almond butter surprise covered in chocolate. Photo by James Ransom

The candy version was a customary bartering tool, traded quickly for packs of cookies, caramels, or any other little treat I was hoping to nab a bite of at school holiday parties or family gatherings.

Buckeye candy feels like a figment of my childhood as I've grown older (I've hardly seen them outside the Midwest), these 5-ingredient, no-bake bon bons from Kendra Vaculin fill the void. Crunchy in the middle—due to the addition of graham crackers—and dipped in rich dark chocolate, they're like a pumped-up version of buckeyes. They're easy to prep ahead of time and something you can confidently set out at a cocktail party or wrap up as gifts​.

And while you need to do no tinkering with these to have them come out just right, there are tweaks you can make if you feel like playing around with them:

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Can You Swap Salted and Unsalted Butter in Baking?
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Can You Swap Salted and Unsalted Butter in Baking?
  • Make the center creamier by upping the butter to 10 tablespoons.

​* Add a little salt when you are mixing the almond butter-cracker center to offset the sweetness. Or sprinkle flakes of Maldon sea salt on top of the bon bons right after you dip them in chocolate, before they go into the fridge or freezer.

  • Speaking of mix-ins and toppings, you could add in some crushed pink peppercorns, chile flakes, or other warming spice to give the filling a kick. Alternately, finely chop extra nuts, candied citrus peel, or coffee beans and top them off.
  • Try a mixture of nut butters or swap in your favorite if you want to skip the almond version.
How to Make Any Nut Butter Without a Recipe
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How to Make Any Nut Butter Without a Recipe
  • Make them gluten-free by swapping in gluten-free graham crackers.

  • If you want a finer, less crumbly center, using a food processor to mix the almond butter-cracker ingredients is definitely the way to go.

  • For adults only: Experiment with a little booze like bourbon, rum, bitters, or your favorite liqueur by adding some to the chocolate (or a portion of it) as it melts for a little variety in the finished bon bons.​

No-Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Bon Bons
No-Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Bon Bons

And if you double the recipe, there are enough of these little nuggets to hand out to everyone at the office, in your gift swap, or descending family members come holiday time.

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No-Bake Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Bon Bons

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Makes about 1 dozen
  • 6 whole graham crackers
  • 1/2 cup smooth almond butter
  • 1/2 cup butter (8 tablespoons)
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Go to Recipe

A just-right baked good depends on high-quality ingredients—and good chocolate's a must. This holiday season, our sweetest secret is Ghirardelli's 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips—what's yours? See all of Ghirardelli's baking chocolate here.

Tags: ghirardelli