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Brown Butter Buckeye Bars

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Soft, creamy, and oh so peanut butter-y with a thick layer of chocolate ganache on top, these no-bake buckeye bars made with nutty brown butter are over-the-top easy! And they are gluten free!

These no bake brown butter buckeye bars are so simple to make, with just a few simple ingredients you can make this buckeye bark in no time.

If you enjoy this recipe, you will also enjoy these make ahead holiday treats; Mint Fudge Brownies, Easy Chewy Blondies, or this Peppermint Chocolate Mud Pie!

A small gift bucket filled with pieces of Buckeye Bar pieces spilled onto the counter top. Cup of Happy lid in the background.

I love buckeye balls, they remind me of my grandmother, she and I would make these together during the holidays.

There are so many recipes out there, I decided to brown the butter and take the long process of rolling and dipping in chocolate out of the equation; these still remind me of my Grandma though!

What Does Brown Butter Add to Peanut Butter Bars

Brown butter adds incredible depth, a luxurious nutty richness to all baked goods, like these brown butter rice Krispie treats or this brown butter glaze.

Piece of buckeye bark on top of another hunk, with a bite mark in the piece.

How do you brown butter?

Browning butter is not as hard as you might think, you just can’t walk away from it.

  1. Over medium heat, melt butter, it will shizzle, snap, crackle and pop.
  2. then it will get quiet and foam up — this is where you really need to keep an eye on it.
  3. You will start to see the browned butter swirling through, swirl the pan and remove from heat, once it’s tan and brown with little flecks of goodness. It will have a lovely nutty smell.
Ingredient shot for Buckeye Bars. Sifted powdered sugar, peanut butter, vanilla, butter, brown sugar, chocolate chips and more butter.

Buckeye Bars Ingredients

  • Salted butter | unsalted may be used, but I typically only have salted butter around
  • Brown sugar | light brown here
  • Creamy Peanut Butter | most peanut butter recipes need non-natural peanut butter, this recipe you may use either, just make sure your oils are well mixed
  • Vanilla extract | have you ever tried making your own vanilla? Amazing!
  • Powdered sugar | sifted is best in this recipe
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips | the best you can afford
Process Shots for Buckeye Bars 1. browning the butter. 2. Adding brown sugar. 3. adding vanilla, 4. adding peanut butter.

How to Make the best Buckeye Bars

  1. Line an 8×8 or 7×11 brownie pan with parchment paper or foil, be sure to leave a little hanging over the sides for easy removal and cutting.
  2. Over medium heat, melt butter, it will shizzle, snap, crackle and pop.
  3. Then it will get quiet and foam up — this is where you really need to keep an eye on it.
  4. You will start to see the browned butter swirling through, swirl the pan and remove from heat, once it’s tan and brown with little flecks of goodness and will start smelling nutty.
Process shots for buckeye bars. 5, Stirring in peanut butter. 6. adding sifted powdered sugar. 7. whisking powdered sugar into peanut butter. 8. pouring into prepared pan.
  1. Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Whisk or stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir in sifted powdered sugar, a half of a cup at a time, stirring until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth. Place in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.
Peanut Butter Buckeye Bars Batter ready for fridge.

How to Make Chocolate Ganache Topping

Slice butter into 1 tablespoon hunks and place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 30-45 seconds to start, stir well, return and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted and smooth.

Note that the chocolate continues melting even after removing from the microwave.

Spreading melted chocolate mixture on top of peanut butter mixture

If chocolate becomes too thick or burns from overheating in microwave, simply stir in 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil until smooth and shiny. To fix broken, grainy, gloopy ganache, check out my Chocolate Ganache post.

Spread chocolate evenly (I like using an offset spatula for this type of thing) over the top of the chilled peanut butter mixture and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Smoothed on chocolate mixture for finished peanut butter buckeye bark

Cutting & Storing Brown Butter Buckeye Bark

  • Run a sharp knife under warm or hot water, wipe dry with paper towel. Use excess parchment paper to lift buckeye bark onto cutting board. Slice in 1 inch pieces.
  • Or place a large hunk on cutting board, with a knife for others to customize their bite!
  • Store buckeye bark or bars in airtight container on counter up to 5 days, may be refrigerated up to 7 days and frozen* up to 3 months.

*If freezing buckeye bars, the chocolate may develop a white “powder” on top.

Knife slicing buckeye bark on cutting board with parchment paper and three sliced pieces of buckeye bark

What is the White Powder on my Chocolate and can I still eat it?

I am glad you asked! The short answer is yes it is perfectly harmless; the white powder is simply a chemical reaction in the chocolate and is safe to consume.

There are two types of “bloomed” chocolate:

  1. A sugar bloom (typically caused by moisture exposure in the chocolate and what you would find when freezing), Sugar bloom is typically a storage issue, though; if you keep chocolate in a damp room, condensation can form on its surface.
    This can also happen at the grocery store or in your own fridge, so stash your chocolate in a cool, dry place if you want to avoid sugar bloom.
  2. A fat bloom is the second type of white powdery bloom. Improper storage can also cause fat bloom.
    If it’s just warm enough, the cocoa butter in the chocolate will separate a bit and settle on the surface of the chocolate, forming greasy streaks. Fluctuating temperatures can also be to blame. (Source)

How to Package Buckeye Bark for Gift Giving

This is a wonderful treat for gift giving, at Christmas or anytime!

Bucket of Buckeye Bark with bakers twine and gift label with decorations.

I cut my bark up into 1 inch pieces and carefully stacked them in these cute storage containers I found at Home Goods, but you can find these on Amazon as well.

Chinese takeout containers would be really cute too!

And don’t forget to print some fun Gift Tags!

I hope you LOVE this recipe for Easy Brown Butter Buckeye Bars, they are naturally gluten free too.

Sharing this week on Weekend Potluck – check it out!

PIN to your favorite Holiday Sweets board!

Long Pin for Brown Butter Buckeye Bars (Gluten Free) top image of decorative tub filled with buckeye bars, bakers twine and a gift tag. Bottom image of sliced buckeye bar bites

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Yield: 64 one inch pieces

Easy Brown Butter Buckeye Bars

Piece of buckeye bark on top of another hunk, with a bite mark in the piece.

Soft, creamy, and oh so peanut butter-y with a thick layer of chocolate ganache on top, these no-bake buckeye bars made with nutty brown butter are over-the-top easy! And they are gluten free!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

Peanut Butter Filling

  • 3/4 cup salted butter | unsalted may be used, but I typically only have salted butter around
  • 4 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1 cup Creamy Peanut Butter | most peanut butter recipes need non-natural peanut butter, this recipe you may use either, just make sure your oils are well mixed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar, sifted

Chocolate Ganache Topping

  • 10 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chips | the best you can afford
  • ¼ cup butter, sliced into tablespoon pieces

Instructions

Line an 8x8 or 7x11 brownie pan with parchment paper or foil, be sure to leave a little hanging over the sides for easy removal and cutting.

Over medium heat, melt butter, it will shizzle, snap, crackle and pop, then it will get quiet and foam up -- this is where you really need to keep an eye on it. You will start to see the browned butter swirling through, swirl the pan and remove from heat, once it's tan and brown with little flecks of goodness and will start smelling nutty.

Remove from heat and stir in the brown sugar until smooth. Whisk or stir in peanut butter and vanilla until smooth.

Stir in sifted powdered sugar, a half of a cup at a time, stirring until smooth. Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth. Place in freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

Chocolate Ganache Topping

Slice butter into 1 tablespoon hunks and place chocolate chips and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in microwave for 30-45 seconds to start, stir well, return and microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted and smooth. Note that the chocolate continues melting even after removing from the microwave.

If chocolate becomes too thick or burns from overheating in microwave, simply stir in 1-2 teaspoons of vegetable oil until smooth and shiny. To fix broken, grainy, gloopy ganache, check out my Chocolate Ganache post.

Spread chocolate evenly (I like using an offset spatula for this type of thing) over the top of the chilled peanut butter mixture and refrigerate until firm, about an hour.

Notes

Cutting & Storing Brown Butter Buckeye Bar

  • Run a sharp knife under warm or hot water, wipe dry with paper towel. Use excess parchment paper to lift buckeye bark onto cutting board. Slice in 1 inch pieces.
  • Or place a large hunk on cutting board, with a knife for others to customize their bite!
  • Store buckeye bark or bars in airtight container on counter up to 5 days, may be refrigerated up to 7 days and frozen* up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

64

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 101Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 8mgSodium: 48mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 1gSugar: 8gProtein: 1g

The nutritional information is estimated and may not be entirely accurate, at times it pulls information for suggestions and options which may increase calories, etc. Nutritional information will change based on used ingredients, quantities used, etc.

Did you make this recipe?

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Amy Nash

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

These were AMAZING! I love how simple and easy they are to make. I froze half of the batch so I would have some on hand when I want a treat!

Kathleen

Tuesday 12th of January 2021

That is perfect Amy! I do the same, so I don't eat the entire slab! HAHA!

Tasia ~ two sugar bugs

Monday 4th of January 2021

Buckeyes always remind me of my grandma too! I love the way you elevated these bars with brown butter!!

Kathleen

Wednesday 6th of January 2021

Thank you so much Tasia!!

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