Another one of my favorite Christmas cookies are Buckeyes. These delicious cookies are traditionally peanut butter and powder sugar balls dipped in chocolate, made to look like the buckeye nut. The buckeye nut is commonly found back East, like Ohio and Michigan, where my family is originally from.
The roots for this recipe go deep in our family. Much like the Force.
Ok, maybe not the Force (although I am excited for the new Star Wars movie that comes out this week!)
But we do make Buckeye cookies a lot. Since powdered sugar is hardly GAPS legal, I haven't had these cookies for a while either. But all that is about the change!
Introducing GAPS legal Buckeye cookies!
These no-bake cookies are egg free, and casein and lactose free (contains whey and butter). They are also coconut free!
Please note that while cassava flour is not technically on the GAPS-illegal list, it is still quite starchy. These cookies should be a special treat, and consumed infrequently and in small amounts. Same with cocoa powder. And, as always, observe if YOUR body is okay with this particular food at this time. Just because something is "GAPS legal" does not give you a free pass to eat it! Pay attention to what your body is telling you. But if it's telling you that these cookies are okay for you, then by all means ENJOY THEM!!!
GAPS Legal Buckeye Cookies
Makes about 48 cookies
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups cassava flour
8 TBS whey
1/2-1 cup honey
8 oz butter
2 tsp vanilla
Prep time: Need to start this recipe 24 hours in advance, 5 minutes prep time. Then it takes about 30-45 minutes to finish on the following day.
Twenty-four hours in advance: mix 1/2 cup peanut butter, 4 TBS whey, and 1 cup cassava flour together until everything is moist and crumbly. Try to eliminate as many clumps as possible. Leave on the countertop in a glass container with a lid. This is to give the legumes and cassava flour a chance to lacto-ferment. This makes them more digestible and increase the nutritional value. For more on why we should only eat nuts and seeds that have been properly prepared, watch my video on this.
After 24 hours, the mixture should look something like this...just a little more moist than what you started with the day before.
Add to this the vanilla extract, honey and 8 oz of softened butter (it's not the end of the world if you melt it, but try not to).
I used 1 cup of honey for this recipe, and to my non-sugar eating palate they are very sweet (which is the point, I suppose)! I plan to reduce the honey by about half the next time I make this. The mixture just needs to be formed into balls.
Mix well, and smooth out as many clumps as possible. You should be able to easily for this mixture into little balls.
Form the dough into 1 inch balls and place on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper
Place the balls in the freezer to chill (about 10-15 minutes) Next, make the coating The most important part of making the coating is to heat things just hot enough to melt. Nothing should be cooked here! You are gently heating them up to mix. Then gradually cooling them back down again.
Using a double boiler (or as I just discovered, my glass 2 cup measuring container fits perfectly into a medium saucepan) On low heat, melt the cacao butter chips.
When they are fully melted, turn off the heat and add the honey.
Next, stir in the cocoa powder (I recommend using a whisk to mix well.)
Finally, remove the mixture in the top half of the double boiler to the coating is allowed to start cooling Continue whisking the coating mixture occasionally. The honey cools faster than the cocoa butter, and you need to keep them mixed.
When the mixture is cool enough, remove the dough balls from the freezer. Stick a toothpick (or broken-off bamboo skewer in our case) into a ball and dip it into the coating. Depending on the temperature of the coating, you may need to dip more than once to achieve a satisfactory coating. After allowing the extra coating to drip off for a few moments, return the ball to the parchment paper.
Maintain the coating within a narow temperature margin. Keep the water from the lower part of your double-boiler ready. If your coating begins to cool too much, slip the top of the double-boiler back on top of the hot water for a minute or so to warm it back up (you probably don't need to turn on the heat). Do not let it cool too much or reheat it too quickly or too much—these can cause the chocolate to clump (this happened), and there's not going back from this. You would just need to start over making the coating.
Traditionally the coating is darker than this recipe. I originally made a darker coating, but more cocoa powder required more honey, which seemed to throw everything off balance. I think this is part of why it clumped. Once you master the basics of temperature and consistency, you can try increasing the cocoa powder to darken the color. I will be doing that myself. In the meantime, even though this isn't as dark as traditional Buckeye cookies, the coating dries hard at room temperature. I'm calling that a win!
When they are all dipped to your satisfaction, use a toothpick to roll over the holes, filling them in.
There you have it! Rich, delicious Buckeye cookies.