If you’re a sucker for peanut butter cups, you’ll surely fall for these buckeye brownies.
This dessert has fudgy brownies at the bottom, creamy peanut butter in the middle, and decadent chocolate on top.
The word decadent is an understatement.
What could be better than chocolate and peanut butter combined?
Think of this dessert as an epic mash-up between brownies and peanut butter cups.
Buckeye brownies may be traditionally served for Christmas, but they’re so easy to make, you can whip them up even if it’s not the holiday season yet.
Get ready for one of the most delectable brownies you’ll ever have! These buckeye brownies are definitely one for the books.
Sure, brownies are awesome. But if you’re getting bored with your usual recipe, I suggest you give this one a try.
With this dessert, you won’t only get brownies, but peanut butter and chocolate too.
The combination of fudgy, creamy, sweet, and salty will surely make your mouth water.
By looking at those layers, you’d think this recipe requires a bit of culinary skill, but it doesn’t.
It’s such a breeze anyone can do it. So come on, let’s get started!
What are Buckeyes?
The buckeye is Ohio’s state tree. It bears round, brown nuts with light brown tops, hence the name. They may be poisonous, but the dessert version isn’t.
Buckeye balls are a sweet-n-salty dessert made of peanut butter balls partially dipped in chocolate.
The small area of peanut butter on top replicates that buckeye look.
These brownies are basically buckeye balls in brownie form.
They taste exactly the same and are easier to make because there’s no need to dip individual balls in chocolate.
What are the Layers in this Brownie?
With this delectable dessert, you don’t just get one but three amazing layers!
Brownie at the bottom – make life easier by using your favorite brownie mix.
You can also make brownies from scratch. Here’s a great recipe for super fudgy brownies.
Or you could make these Bisquick brownies if you want a more newbie-friendly recipe.
Honestly, though, because there are two more layers involved in this dessert, you really won’t taste the difference between boxed and homemade brownies.
Fudgy peanut butter in the middle – A smooth and creamy mixture of peanut butter, powdered sugar, and softened butter. You’ll use a lot of powdered sugar in this filling, but don’t worry, the saltiness of the peanut butter can handle all that sweetness.
Chocolate on top – You can use dark or semi-sweet for this recipe. I don’t recommend milk or white chocolate because the peanut butter filling is already sweet.
How to Make Buckeye Brownies
Start by baking a batch of brownies in a 9×13-inch baking dish. Be sure to grease the dish beforehand with either baking spray or butter.
For easier clean-up, though, it’s better to line the dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
Leave an overhang around the sides so it’ll be effortless to lift the brownies once they’re cooled.
My recipe has instructions for a Pillsbury brownie mix. If you’re using a different brand, follow what it says on the box.
Of course, you can also whip up brownies from scratch.
While the brownies are in the oven, prepare the peanut butter layer.
Just beat together peanut butter, powdered sugar, and softened butter in a microwave-safe bowl until smooth and creamy.
Since I have a sweet tooth, I don’t mind the amount of sugar that goes into this layer.
But if you feel like 2 cups is way too much for you, feel free to add whatever you feel is just right.
If the mixture is too dense, add more butter and heat the mixture in the microwave. Give it a stir until the mixture is soft, creamy, and spreadable.
Spread the peanut butter layer evenly over the brownies. It’s okay if the brownies are still warm.
Next, prepare the chocolate topping. In a saucepan, add the chocolate chips and softened butter.
Stir them together over low heat for 5 minutes, or until smooth and melted.
You can also melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave, but be sure not to go over 70% power level.
Also, don’t melt for over 1 minute, otherwise, you might burn the mixture.
Pour the melted chocolate over the peanut butter layer and spread evenly.
Cool the brownies in the fridge for several minutes to set. Slice them into squares and enjoy!
Tips for the Best Brownies
- For this recipe, I used the Pillsbury brownie mix. However, feel free to use whatever brand you like. Ghirardelli, Duncan Hines, and Hershey’s are some of my most-trusted brands.
- If using a different brownie mix, be sure to check the box for baking instructions. This recipe specifically has instructions for Pillsbury brownie mix.
- Most brownie recipes yield fudgy brownies. If you like them more cake-like, beat an extra egg into the batter.
- When measuring the peanut butter, grease the cup with baking spray or butter. This way, the peanut butter will come off easily.
- For easier clean-up, line the baking dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Leave an overhang around the edges so you can lift the brownies easily when ready.
- These buckeye brownies are already extra decadent, but you can take it even further by adding more toppings or brownie mix-ins. I love adding chopped nuts, such as hazelnuts, walnuts, or macadamias to my brownies because they add a nice layer of crunch.
- Serve the brownies chilled. Not only will they be easier to slice, but they’ll also be more fudgy and delicious.
- Powdered sugar is extra sweet, so you may want to add less, especially if your peanut butter is already sweet to begin with. Start with 1 cup of powdered sugar and add little by little until desired sweetness is achieved.
- Prepare the peanut butter layer in a microwave-safe bowl. That way, if the mixture turns out too dry, you can heat it in the microwave with a bit of butter so it becomes more spreadable.
- For a deeper flavor, add 1 tablespoon of vanilla to the peanut butter mix.
- Instead of melted chocolate, try using chocolate ganache for the third layer. Melted chocolate becomes crunchy when chilled, while ganache remains smooth and fudgy.
- To make ganache, simply microwave 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 2 cups of chocolate chips (can be dark or semi-sweet) for 1 minute at 70% power level.
Let the mixture sit for 2 minutes and stir until smooth and melted. If the chocolates haven’t completely melted at this point, pop the bowl back in the microwave and heat for another 30 seconds.
Do not microwave the chocolate for over 2 minutes at a time, otherwise, you’ll end up with scorched, gritty chocolate.
- Buckeye brownies can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Once they’re completely cooled, slice them into squares and place them on a cookie sheet. Freeze them for 1 to 2 hours or until completely hardened.
Wrap the squares individually with plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Place them in an air-tight container or freezer-safe bag, label, and freeze.
How to Use the Microwave to Melt Chocolate
1. Place the chocolate chips and softened butter in a microwave-safe bowl.
2. Microwave for 1 minute at 70% power.
3. Stir the mixture until smooth and melted. If the chocolates haven’t completely melted at this point, pop the bowl back in the microwave and heat it for another 30 seconds.
Do not microwave the chocolate for over 1 minute, otherwise, you’ll end up with scorched, gritty chocolate.
How to Use the Double Boiler to Melt Chocolate
Called the bain-marie or water bath method, melting chocolate in the double boiler requires more effort than the instructions in this recipe.
However, with this technique, you get perfectly melted chocolate 100% of the time.
1. Boil water in the bottom pot. Reduce the heat to low. Fit the top pot over the bottom pot.
2. Add the chocolate chips and butter to the top pot and stir the mixture until the chocolates have completely melted.
If you don’t have a double boiler, DIY it. Just fit a heat-proof bowl on top of the pot of boiling water and melt the chocolates as instructed.
Why is my melted chocolate grainy?
Seized chocolate occurs when it comes in contact with water during melting.
It can also happen if you melt the chocolate way too long or at an overly high temperature.
Follow these tips to prevent grainy or curdled melted chocolate:
- If using the double boiler method, the top pot or bowl and utensil are completely dry. Do not use a wooden utensil to stir the chocolate and butter because it retains water.
- Dark chocolate can only handle a temperature of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, while milk and white chocolate can take only 110.
If you’re using the microwave method, do not go over 70% power level. For the saucepan or double boiler method, the stove temperature can’t go above low heat.
- If you’re using a chocolate bar instead of chips, chop it into small chunks so they melt faster and evenly.
If your chocolate has seized, here’s what you can do to fix it:
- Mix in more chocolate chips. Adding more will cool down the burned chocolate and return its smooth and silky beauty.
- Smoothen out the clumps with vegetable oil or hot cream.
- Strain the chocolate through a sifter to remove the curdled parts.
- If none of these work, use it as a mix in for brownies or cookies. No one will notice the texture.
More Peanut Butter Recipes You’ll Love
- No-Bake Cookies
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Pie
- Lunch Lady Peanut Butter Bars
- Peanut Butter Rice Krispie Balls
- Easy Peanut Butter Cup Cookies
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