Tag Archives: cookies

Ohio State Buckeyes–The Guaranteed Winner in PB and Chocolate

Will a plate of Buckeyes affect the outcome of a football rivalry? A guaranteed winner.

Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State Buckeye Cookies

Are they cookies or candy?  Whatever Buckeyes are–the ones we are baking and eating today are NOT the Buckeye nut.  That nut, related to the Hickory, can be eaten by deer and squirrels, but not humans.  They look kinda like the little cookies/candy on the plate.

This weekend the whole state of Ohio vibrates with excitement. It is the weekend of THE BIG GAME.  The Buckeyes play against “That state up North”.  If that is not enough of a clue for the football clueless, team _e_bers are cautioned against using the 13th letter of the alphabet for a week. (Which can be tricky when you are addressing Coach Urban _eyer).

The rivalry goes WAAAAY back.  In fact, even before the first football game the two schools played, in 1897, way back before 1837 when Michigan became a state, the two states were skirmishing on the political field.  What is now called Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, belonged to Ohio.  A complicated deal traded the city of Toledo and the Toledo Strip to Ohio and the Upper Peninsula to Michigan, after a war of words known as The Toledo War.

Harriette Anderson Joins the Buckeyes

Ohio State University stadium

The Ohio State “Shoe” in 1923–one year after it was built.

My mother was attending Ohio State in 1923 a year after the “Shoe”, the massive new stadium, opened.  The second game in that stadium in 1922 was against Michigan Wolverines and announcers said the crowd was 72,000.  That in a stadium with 62,210 seats!  Crowd sizes measure the enthusiasm even that far back for the rivalry game.

Family Tradition Continues

I arrived at Ohio State in 1956 and promptly joined “Block O” a section of students who made pictures out of cards they held up.  Ten years later, my sister also became one of the Buckeyes.  She has never recovered from the fact that Ohio State’s marching band, TBDBITL–The Best Damned Band in the Land, was all male until AFTER she graduated, so she never got to play her trumpet out on that hallowed field.

Here’s a page with all the skinny  on the rivalry. When I was a student at Ohio State, we won two and lost two, but recently, the state up north as not been doing so well.

Game Time Sweets–The Recipe

But on with the Buckeyes cookies–or candy if that’s your category for this peanut butter/chocolate treat.

According to a December 1972 recipe in OSU employee newsletter, the Buckeyes recipe was invented in 1967 (just seven years after I graduated from Ohio State).  The “original” contains paraffin, which I wouldn’t want to put into the chocolate coating even if I had any on hand. But if you want to try the original–be my guest.

Instead, I surfed for a different version of Buckeyes, and found this slightly lower-sugar, lower-fat recipe on the Smitten Kitchen site.  Rather than repeat it here, I suggest you follow the link to Smitten Kitchen.

However, I must warn you that the volume amounts and the measurements by weight did not compute on my scale.  For instance, I found that a 1-pound jar of Jif Creamy Peanut Butter made a generous cup and a half, which equals 454 grams, not 145, and was definitely enough peanut butter for my taste. I don’t know why she thought 190 grams would be necessary.

Also, the air is dry here in Arizona, which may have accounted for the dough being too dry to form into balls until I added another couple of tablespoons of melted butter.  So play it by ear.

I used dark chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate.

Finally, getting the dough dipped in the chocolate so that only a little spot of peanut butter filling shows was much harder than I thought it would be. It would be a snap to just cover half the ball, but that doesn’t look like a buckeye to me.  Smitten Kitchen’s methods didn’t work for me. Let me know how you cope with that step.

I’m hoping we will win tomorrow, but on the list of unpredictability–the outcome of the annual Ohio State Buckeye/Michigan Wolverine game stands out.  You never know what will happen.  Wish us luck.

But peanut butter and chocolate is a guaranteed winner. Have a cookie.

Ohio State Buckeyes. Great football team. Great cookie. Fitting pillow.

Buckeyes and pillow

Buckeyes with the never humble pillow for THE Ohio State University alumni.

Who Doesn’t Love Christmas Cookies?


We are talking about Christmas cookies all during December, so naturally I talked to my friend, Brette Sember, the cookie expert. She shares all she knows about cookies in  Cookie: A Love Story. Great title, isn’t it?

Well, we were both astounded to learn that we had a heritage cookie in common, which made me wonder–how many ways are there to make a sugar cookie?

Brette wrote last year for the site, Living Large in Our Little House, about the traditions of Christmas Cookies. Did you know that Christmas cookies reach back to the 1500’s? And it all began with the Gingerbread man! Brette says:

Gingerbread was a sim­i­lar food [to cookies], but laws restricted its bak­ing to guilds­man. How­ever at the hol­i­days these reg­u­la­tions were relaxed and peo­ple were allowed to bake their own at home, mak­ing a very spe­cial once-a-year treat…. Eventually [gingerbread] became asso­ci­ated with Christmas when spec­u­laas (gin­ger­bread cook­ies) were made into ani­mal and peo­ple shapes and used as hol­i­day decorations.

Christmas Cookies

Frosted Sugar Cookies cut with a Gingerbread Man cookie cutter.

When I asked Brette about heritage recipes, she replied:

The book [Cookie: A Love Story]  includes a very special sugar cookie recipe. My grandmother’s recipe is made with buttermilk and produces a soft, cake-like cookie that is unlike any I’ve had anywhere else.

They are a bit of a pain to make, since the dough is very sticky, so you freeze the dough before baking. My grandmother used to keep a plastic container of the dough in her freezer (which was on the bottom of her fridge) and when I was little, I used to sneak out there and eat it with a spoon like ice cream.

When she passed away, she left me her handwritten recipe notebooks and I discovered the recipe was her mother’s. Her mother-in-law, my grandfather’s mother, also gave her a very similar recipe, which uses sour cream instead of buttermilk and creates the same type of very soft cookie.

I found it fascinating that both families had the same recipe. They both lived in the same small rural area, but my grandmother’s mother (who was a Mennonite) was from Kansas so I don’t know if it is a recipe she brought with her or was given once she got here. This cookie is a special part of our holiday traditions and learning to make it is a rite of passage in our family.

My aunt once famously had to make the recipe in a hurry with no time to freeze it, so she set up a table in the garage and rolled the dough out there where it was cold.

Christmas Cookie Assembly line

Cookie Assembly line

As Brette and I discussed this heritage recipe from her grandmother, I realized that it was nearly identical to the soft sugar cookie from my Grandmother Vera’s recipe– which is the must-have cookie at our house. My grandmother used sour milk instead of buttermilk, and sprinkled in nutmeg for the flavoring. I’ll be sharing that recipe later. If you want to try  out Brette’s version and learn a whole lot more about Christmas cookies, you can follow the link to Living Large in Our Little House.

Read more of Brette’s cooking and decorating and travel and other things at Putting It All on the Table. And of course, I recommend that you add Brette’s interesting and comprehensive book on cookies to your kitchen library.

Do you make sugar cookies for Christmas? Are they crispy or soft? Do they use sour cream or buttermilk? What flavoring do you use?