I get pure joy in the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. My other half thinks it's so common. (Wink, wink.) And then he consumes PB & Choc in quantity with me.
I like Reese's Peanut Butter Cups along with the rest of the universe, but there has always been this part of me that wanted to make my own. I'm strange like that. I'd rather spend a whole day making my own than bundling my three kids up and heading to the supermarket for a quick fix.
Like I said, I'm strange. And I like chocolate. (A lot.)
In any case, I think making homemade peanut butter cups is a great gift to give to neighbors and friends for Valentine's Day. (Or any other time.)
I offer you a tour of how I made my own yesterday...
How To Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups:
First you need to make sure you have all the ingredients. Or come up with a plan. And you should probably do this a few days before. (Don't wait until your craving is intense.) And maybe even search out some recipes online. Or make up your own. (That's what I did!)
Here's what you need:
*a mini-muffin tin
*1 lb. bittersweet or milk chocolate and 1 tsp. pure vegetable shortening
*homemade peanut butter filling...wait--I forgot to take a picture of it.
Then you get to work:
1. Line the mini-muffin cups with paper liners.
2. Melt the chocolate and shortening in the microwave on 50% power. Stir to melt any chunks. Take the temperature. It should be no more than 88-90 degrees F. for dark, and 86-88 degrees for milk. (Sources vary on the temp for milk chocolate...)
3. Spoon a bit of the chocolate into each paper-lined well.
4. Use a clean paint brush to cover the bottom and sides of each paper liner.
5. Drop a ball of peanut butter filling into each well.
6. Spoon a bit of melted chocolate on top of each peanut butter ball. Lightly spread to cover the top and sides of the ball.
7. Rap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
8. Work in batches. I did six at a time. And I did have to rewarm the chocolate a few times.
Don't let it get too hot! Look what can happen--
9. Let the PB cups sit for a few hours to set.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
2 dozen mini-paper cups (available in the cake decorating section of party stores or online)
small, clean paint brush (like the ones your kids use for watercolors)
For chocolate shell:
1 lb. bittersweet or milk chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp. pure vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups roasted peanuts (if you use salted, adjust the amount of salt in the recipe)
1 cup rice cereal (graham cracker crumbs will work, too, and may even be better)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp. melted butter (you may need a little more if it's too dry)
salt to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.)
For chocolate shells:
Line a 24-cup mini muffin tin with mini-baking cup paper liners.
Place the chocolate and vegetable shortening into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on 50% power for a few minutes, stopping the microwave and stirring every 30-45 seconds, until most of the chocolate is melted. Keep stirring to melt any large chunks. Take the temperature with an instant read thermometer. (Dark chocolate should be between 88-90 degrees F., and milk should not exceed 88 degrees F.)
Place the rice cereal in the bowl of a food processor. Process until it forms fine crumbs. Add the peanuts and process until a paste forms. Add the brown sugar and butter. Keep processing, scraping down the bowl as needed, until a somewhat smooth paste forms. Set aside while you prepare the chocolate.
Work in batches of six at a time.
Spoon a small amount of the melted chocolate into each well of the mini-muffin pan. Use the paint brush to spread the chocolate across the bottom and up the sides of each paper. (Keep checking the temp of the chocolate to make sure it stays in the right temperature range.)
Drop a rounded teaspoonful of peanut butter filling into each painted cup.
Spoon a enough chocolate over the peanut butter filling to cover it. Rap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Smooth the top of the chocolate.
Repeat with remaining cups. (You may have a bit of filling and/or chocolate left. Remember--chef's snacks!)
Let the peanut butter cups sit for a few hours to set up. Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, lining each layer of PB cups with waxed paper.
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