buckeye state ice cream in the buckeye state of mind


My addiction to the buckeye candy is well documented. It is not something I am proud of, and – truth be told – I wish my addiction skewed more fabulous a la caviar and Krug Grande Cuve. I suppose I should be thankful that the buckeye, a ball of peanut butter “candy” dipped in chocolate, makes me so happy. It’s a cheap and easy endorphin rush.

I am glad to see that I am not suffering alone in buckeye compulsion. After we published a recipe for this native Ohio candy in our second book, Baked Explorations, we were thrilled to see it pop up in many beautiful forms in many beautiful places. We did not create the buckeye, but we are some of its most devout evangelists.


As luck would have it, I had to go to Ohio (yup, the epicenter for all things buckeye) for business last year. And because I was in Ohio, I had to go to Jeni’s Ice Cream. And because I was in Ohio in a Jeni’s, I had to consume my body weight in Jeni’s Buckeye State flavor because that is what happens when you lose all willpower and you give in completely (this happens a lot).

Thankfully Jeni published a book. This has saved me many dollars in unnecessary flights to Columbus, OH. Much has been blogged about Jeni’s unique (some would say unusual) ice cream base recipe, but suffice it to say it is almost fool proof. Throughout summer I vacillate between making something from Jeni’s book and something from David Lebovitz’s iconic book – (you should own both) and when I am feeling especially lazy, I swing by my local grocer for a pint of Steve’s. But here me out: I never go a day without ice cream. And Jeni’s Buckeye State recipe is seared into my memory.


The Buckeye State Ice Cream (Honeyed Peanut Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Freckles) via Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home


2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
½ cup unsalted natural peanut butter
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1 ¼cups heavy cream
⅔ cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 tablespoons honey
4 ounces dark chocolate (55% to 70% cocoa), chopped



Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.

Whisk the cream cheese, peanut butter, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.

Fill a large bowl with ice and water.


Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup, and honey in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes.

Remove from the heat, and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.

Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heat proof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.


Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziplock freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.


Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and begin to spin the ice cream.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Remove from the heat and let cool until tepid but still fluid.

When the ice cream is thick and creamy and almost finished, drizzle the melted chocolate slowly through the opening in the top of the ice cream machine and allow it to solidify and break up in the ice cream for about 2 minutes.

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.