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The United States of Desserts: Buckeyes

Buckeyes (the candy)
Buckeyes (the candy)
Photo by Kim Keegan

In this series, we examine the history and origins of famous sweets, confections, and desserts associated with certain American states.

Buckeye. I can't think of another word in the English language that simultaneously denotes a professional sports organization, a tree, a butterfly species, a breed of chicken and a type of candy.

Because I'm uninterested in college football or botany, slightly afraid of butterflies and indifferent to chickens, the focus of this post will be buckeyes the candy.

For those unfamiliar with these confections, which were created in and are strongly associated with Ohio and its residents, the buckeye candy is basically a ball of peanut butter, powdered sugar and butter, half dipped in semi-sweet chocolate.

Photo by Shihmei Barger Buckeyes (the nut)
Photo by Shihmei Barger Buckeyes (the nut)

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The nomenclatural origins of the buckeye candy involve a few degrees of separation. The candy is so named for its resemblance to buckeye nuts, which supposedly got their name (via translation) from Native Americans who thought they looked like the eyes of mature male deer.

Buckeyes (the football team)
Buckeyes (the football team)
Photo by Alvin Trusty

Anyway, who knew a "buck's eye" could be so delicious? Everyone and their mother has a recipe for buckeyes; this one is straightforward and produces some terrific candy.

One final note: If, for some unthinkable reason, you find yourself unable to eat all the buckeyes you make, you can freeze the extras for consumption at a later date.


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