Written by Steph Coombes, Central Station editor
Smoko – the most savoured meal of the day. It’s that burst of calories you need to tide you over from the breakfast you scoffed down at sparrows, until the soggy sandwich in your saddle bag comes out well after lunchtime. Cakes, cookies, slices, sausage rolls – I’m getting hangry (angry because I’m hungry) just thinking about it. Walk into any station kitchen across the north and generally there’ll be at least one tuppaware container full of goodies just waiting for you.
My recent stint on Yougawalla Station (helping out as a temporary office biatch) was my first station experience since moving back to Australia. While I’m still rocking the same old Aussie work shirts and that classic Willow 5L blue water bottle, there have been a few American influences creeping in (which I supposed should be expected after having just lived there for 3 years).
Exhibit A – my choice of smoko food.
Before I moved to America, I didn’t eat peanut butter. It was never in our house growing up. We were a vegemite family … and definitely a Nutella family. It wasn’t until after the first two years in the States that I actually tried and started to enjoy peanut butter. The reason? My best friend Jeremy made me Buckeyes.
Buckeyes are the most deliciously decadent but super simple treat ever. They’re so easy to make that I even let Tilly, at the ripe old age of 9, “help me”. It was evident after 2 seconds that she was going to provide plenty of entertainment – and so I took the easy option and decided to turn our afternoon’s efforts into a blog (because that one was less blog idea I had to come up with) So without further ado, I give you – How to make Buckeyes with Miss Matilda.
Warning: Photo spam ahead.
- 1 1/2 cups (390g) smooth peanut butter (althought I tried crunchy and it goes alright!)
- 1/2 cup (115g / 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 1/2 cups (400g) powdered sugar
- 3 cups (525g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
Step 1: line your tray with baking paper.
Step 2: Measure out the butter.
Step 3: Melt the butter, and then mix it with the peanut butter in the bowl. (We forgot to take photos of this!). Stir the butter and peanut butter until they are combined well.
Step 4: Slowly add and stir in the icing sugar, and make sure you use a sieve – otherwise you will end up with lumps all throughout your mixture (which is what happened when I brought some of these treats out to Kalyeeda Station, and it was so embarrassing – “Hey guys, want some of these lumpy peanut butter balls?”).
Don’t forget to read the nutritional information on the bag to see just how much sugar you’re about to consume!
We weren’t kidding – using a sieve is make or break for this recipe!
Taste testing regularly through this process is very, very important.
When you’re about halfway through the process, realize that you’ve been taking photos of the bosses kid who hasn’t yet brushed her hair for the day, run and grab a hairbrush, and give her cute as heck Miley Cyrus buns.
What did I say about taste testing?
As you add in more icing sugar, it’s going to get harder to stir, so you’ll need to make your concentration face and probably let out some tennis player inspired grunts.
Step 5: Roll the mixture into balls
Note: After rolling precisely two balls, your young assistant may become extremely restless and throw herself on the ground claiming boredom.
Step 6: Pull a toothpick in each ball, and then put them in the fridge. (No photos of this, sorry!)
Step 7: Melt the chocolate chips in a pot on the stove. Depending on what kind of chocolate you use, you may need to add milk, which is what we did. We melted ours directly in the pot, but you are supposed to put them in a bowl and sit the bowl over a pot of boiling water … but I’m not that domestic.
I couldn’t leave this photo out, obviously.
Step 8 – Ok, so this is where we cheated and skipped a few steps. When you put the balls in the fridge you’re supposed to put toothpicks in them, so they harden up and it’s easier to dip them in the chocolate later. But we lived 4 hours from the nearest grocery store, and the mail plane wasn’t due for another week. So, we tried using a skewer, but we’d also skipped the step of putting them in the fridge … so they were still soft and on her first attempt to dip a ball in the chocolate, Tilly’s broke, and she opted to go eat a fruit kebab her brother had made for his School of the Air project. So, channeling my inner feral, I dipped the balls in the melted chocolate using … my fingers! (Oh the horror!)
Of course Tilly turned back up when all the work was done haha! And so … here are our buckeyes ready and waiting to go in the fridge. What a hot mess. I would like to note that I have made these about half a dozen times and they’ve always turned out *much* more attractive.
THIS is what they are supposed to look like!