OHIO! Alright, whether you’re an Ohio State University Buckeye fan or not, if you like peanut butter and chocolate, you’re going to love this dessert.
These Vegan Buckeyes are what I consider to be truly the best version of my hometown’s classic delicacy. With added peanut flour rich in plant-based protein, these healthy buckeyes take less than 20 minutes to prepare and 5 ingredients!
Fun fact, Ohio’s state tree is a horse chestnut and horse chestnuts (the actual nut-like seed of the tree) are not editable; in fact, they are toxic. As a way to celebrate Ohio’s state tree and really enjoy the buckeye, it became a gift.
I have some of the best memories of making horse chestnuts not only during the Christmas season, but all year round with my mother. It was a really fun process making peanut butter balls and then carefully dipping them in chocolate to look like a buckeye while she told me stories of why we make them and don’t eat the real thing found in the backyard. Fast forward to my undergraduate and graduate years at Ohio State wearing horse chestnut t-shirts, necklaces and keychains, it was a right of passage to honor this nut-like seed.
Protein-Boosted Vegan Buckeyes
Traditionally, horse chestnuts are made with fairly simple ingredients. For the filling, include peanut butter, powdered sugar, butter and milk chocolate as a topping. To give this a stripped-down nutrition twist, I wanted to up the protein a bit to balance the macronutrients, so we also added a satiety factor with the protein and the added benefit of stabilizing blood sugar levels a little more. which we would do if it didn’t have as much protein present. All without sacrificing flavor!
Also, instead of powdered sugar, I use maple syrup and a little goes a long way so you can adapt to your specific tastes. The real curveball in my recipe is using peanut flour, which is basically a process of removing the fat from the protein in the peanut butter and leaving you with something that looks like a protein powder, except it’s rich in peanut flavor and at the same time it retains the protein.
If you don’t have peanut flour, which I found at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, you can order organic peanut flour online or just use your favorite plant-based vanilla protein powder. Enjoy these vegan Buckeyes!
Peanut allergies are thought to affect up to 8% of children and 2% of adults. Although it is usually a lifelong condition, between 15 and 22% of children outgrow the allergy before reaching adolescence (1).
Symptoms can vary in severity, but in some cases can cause life-threatening complications, such as anaphylaxis. Additionally, although peanuts are not considered tree nuts, about 30% of people allergic to peanuts may also be allergic to tree nuts (2).
If you have a peanut allergy, instead of using peanut butter you can use cashew butter or sunflower seed butter. Instead of peanut flour, you can use your favorite vanilla plant protein powder and you may need to adjust the texture by adding a little water depending on how much moisture the protein powder absorbs. Start slowly and add a teaspoon of water at a time.
Learn more about food allergies here.