If you’ve ever been to Ohio, especially central Ohio and Ohio State University, you’ve probably had buckeye candy at one point or another. If you haven’t, that’s crazy and you need to get on that. Buckeyes are pretty much amazing. They are a staple during football season and especially at Christmas. I personally love eating buckeyes (they’re chocolate and peanut butter, so its a no-brainer), but I hate making them. Mixing them up is easy enough, but then you have to roll the filling into balls and dip most of the ball in chocolate, leaving a little circle of peanut butter showing, so they look like the nut from the buckeye tree:
You can get the same flavor for a lot less work by making the buckeye into bars instead of rolling them out by pressing the peanut butter filling in the pan and adding a layer of chocolate on top.
OR, you can make salty, crunchy, chocolatey-peanut butter goodness by adding pretzel crumbs to the bars, like I did on a whim. These were a happy accident…I had already crushed up the pretzels for another dessert before deciding that I didn’t want to turn the oven on that day, so I decided to mix them in. I’ll never make peanut butter bars without pretzels again! The Ohio State Buckeye football season kicks off in a few days – this recipe is perfect for game days!
- 3 cups pretzels, crushed (I used gluten free pretzels)
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups peanut butter
- 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
- Crush pretzels in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin or mallet, or chop in a blender or food processor.
- Melt butter over low heat or in microwave, stirring every 15-20 seconds. In a medium bowl, mix butter, sugars, peanut butter, vanilla, and about 1/2 of the crushed pretzels into the filling.
- Press into a 9 x 13 inch pan.
- Sprinkle about 1/2 of the leftover pretzels on top of the filling and press lightly.
- Melt chocolate chips and spread over the top of filling.
- Sprinkle the rest of the pretzels on top of the chocolate.
Also, you’ll find plenty of recipes that call for graham cracker crumbs mixed into the filling for buckeyes and buckeye bars. That’s unnecessary and I don’t know where that started. The only reason I can think you’d do that is to make the bars/balls a little more firm. If that’s the case, the pretzels definitely help with that and add the salty dimension that is perfect with pb and chocolate.