Protein Buckeyes, the Peanut Butter Version

What are buckeyes? Buckeyes are a delicious type of candy traditionally made with peanut butter fudge and chocolate. Making them is simple: you just make nice and firm peanut butter doughy truffles and then you you dip them in chocolate, leaving a bit of the truffle exposed so you get a kind of ‘eye.’

Here’s what’s kind of funny, well, to me at least. Not in a haha way but in a ha… I’ve enjoyed buckeyes (the candy) for a long time and, until recently, used to think that the name was inspired by actual eyes, by buck’s eyes. Let me draw a buck for you, this guy; by his eyes:

I used to find it curious (but obviously not curious enough to google it or ask anyone about it): why would anyone name a type of candy after… an eye? But alas, they don’t. No one does (unless they’re selling Halloween-theme candy?) Buckeyes’ name actually originates from the nuts that sprout from the Ohio buckeye tree. Below is one of those nuts:

Source: Ohio Division of Forestry – Ohio Department of Natural Resources

It’s kiiiiind of looks like a chocolate-dipped peanut butter truffle, right? Buckeye’s nuts are a bit like a more polished version of its cousin The Chestnut (here’s an interesting article summarizing the difference between chestnuts and buckeyes – it’s a fascinating read, if you’re into horticulture especially).

Healthy Protein Buckeyes RecipeMaking a healthy – low-sugar and high-protein – version of chocolate buckeyes is easy. All you need are a few ingredients you likely have at home! The recipe is open to dairy-free and different flavor tweaks too – see now my notes below.


1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup vanilla or unflavored whey protein powder 
1/8 cup ground almonds
1-3 tsp of almond milk* (start off by adding 1 tsp of milk, try to bind your mixture into a dough using your hands, and then add another tsp until you get a nice playdough-y dough; it’s better to add the milk just gradually and adapt how much you need as you go along because how much you need depends on the kind of nut butter you use)
1/8 cup dark chocolate chips


1. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until you get a nice and thick playdoughy consistency that you can roll into balls. If your dough is too wet or sticky, add more of the ground almonds. If it’s too dry and crumbly, add a tiny bit more of the milk (paying attention to the note in the ingredients above).
2. Using your hands, roll your dough into 8-10 balls, or truffles.
3. Melt your dark chocolate and dunk your truffles using a small spoon or a toothpick. Leave a bit of the ball uncoated – that’s the ‘eye’ of the buck.
4. Leave them to set in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10 minutes.

Macros per buckeye, out of ten: 65kcals, 5g protein, 1g carbs, 4g fat


1. If you want to make your buckeyes dairy-free, go for it! Just use vegan protein (may I recommend our creamy pea) protein instead of whey but make sure you use just 1/8 cup of the pea and 1/4 of the ground almonds, plus a bit more milk to ensure you reach a nice and doughy consistency. Go ahead and add some stevia drops too so that your truffle filling is nice and sweet.

2. If you want to make double chocolate buckeyes, you can! Simply add cocoa powder to your filling along with a tiiiiiny bit more dairy-free or regular milk. You can make a strawberry version by blending in some strawberry powder into your batter too. Or you can make a version with cinnamon, or with vanilla essence; you can also bind your mixture with coffee instead of milk for that extra punch of coffee… POW!

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