Cooking with Kids: Feeding the Buckeye Nation

Melissa Kossler Dutton

No matter what happens on the field for the Ohio State football team this fall, one local resident has a winning recipe for buckeyes.

Peggy Mackessy, a Columbus mother of seven, always wins with her version of the chocolate-and-peanut butter treats, which most people consider the official snack of the Buckeye Nation.

Mackessy makes dozens of the treats each year. She makes them with her children to give as Christmas gifts. She makes them with her daughters' Girl Scout troops as a fundraiser. Sometimes, she even makes them for fun.

"I've been making them since I was in high school," said the graduate of Northland High School. "I would be fine if I never ate another buckeye."

The candies, which are crucial for any Buckeye tailgate party, can be a fun family project.

Mackessy and her children recently whipped up a batch to share with friends.

Before they got started, she shared one of her trade secrets: "Wash your hands and don't pick your nose while you're rolling the balls."

Then with an authority that comes from having made thousands of the candies, she put the kids to work creating the creamy delights.

The kids took turns mixing the ingredients, rolling the balls and dipping them in chocolate. They also made sure to close up the holes created by the toothpick used to dunk the peanut butter balls in the chocolate.

Toothpick holes are their mom's pet peeve.

"The holes bother me," she said. "Especially at stores when they're charging a fortune for them."

Seven-year-old Katie said she looks forward to making buckeyes with her siblings for one reason: "I can eat them at the end."

The kids had differing opinions as to why buckeyes are so delicious.

"It's all the butter," said Molly, 16.

"I love the peanut butter," said Emma, 11.

"It's the chocolate," said Michael, 18.

Ingredients (makes 150):

  • 1 pound margarine (or butter), softened
  • 2 pounds creamy peanut butter
  • 2.5 pounds powdered sugar
  • 1/2 block of a paraffin wax, chopped up into small pieces
  • 24 ounces of chocolate chips

Directions:

Grown-up: Cover several cookie sheets with wax paper.

Kid: Combine margarine and peanut butter in a bowl with a large spatula. Add powdered sugar.

Grown-up: Finish the mixing process by making sure everything is combined well.

Kid: Roll into balls. Place the balls on a cookies sheet and refrigerate until cold (at least 20 minutes).

Grown-up: Melt chocolate and wax slowly in a double boiler, and stir together. Remove from heat right before next step.

Kid and grown-up: Using a toothpick, dip balls into chocolate. Close up the toothpick holes. Put the dipped balls onto the cookie sheets and into the refrigerator to set (at least 20 minutes).