Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Recipe - Home-made Peanut Butter Cups

It's time for another recipe and I think with the way the weather has been turning late last night into early this morning, that this recipe will bring home a nice fall weather feeling to most. I LUV peanut butter + chocolate in almost any form but most of all when it comes to peanut butter cups. Out here in Belgium, we simply do no have these. In fact, we don't have any thing at all peanut butter + chocolate *faint*. Same goes for having little to nothing in the way of mint + chocolate although this is slowly catching on. So what is a born and raised American gal suppose to do?? Well duh, make her own! It's really messy but the results are.... one simple word... DROOL!

I made these over a year ago now so I just have to get to making these again when I can get my hands on some more America style peanut butter but that also means I only have a few photos of it and no finished product photo. I know... shame on me. I'll come back and revisit this when I make them again with brand new photos though!

Sorry to again add so many tips, but recipes like this really need them! You'll thank me later!
Tip #1 - Have all of your ingredients and equipment ready. The last thing you want to do is have to grab for another spoon or such while trying to put hot melted chocolate into a muffin tin.

Tip #2 - Make sure you have more then enough working room. As you'll see from my photos below, these get MESSY! You can choose to use something better to get the chocolate into the muffin tin then a spoon like I did I suppose but then where is the fun in that?!

Tip #3 - These will and do work with the normal sized muffin tins but if you really want to make sure you have a stock of them, choose to make them in a mini muffin pan. They will make this recipe huge as I got almost 2 dozen normal sized muffin tin size cups out of this recipe.

Tip #4 - If you have access to using foil vs paper muffin liners, do so! The foil ones will come off these much easier then paper but just in the same if you are careful with it, the paper will come off well also. Just foil will make it easier, especially if you take on tip #3 about using mini muffin pans.

Tip #5 - Make sure you have room in your fridge to put these to 'chill out' for an hr or so. These will need to be refrigerated not only between making batches (yes batches!) but in the end you'll also need to store these in there some how too since the chocolate will become very very soft without it.

Tip #6 - When making these, use American style peanut butter. Using the very basic no sugar added peanut butter found mostly in the Belgian/Holland area is too greasy and has a completely different taste when making these. If you want the best and closest 'American Style' peanut butter cups, you need the added sugar kind of peanut butter.

Tip #7 - Feel free to choose what kind of peanut butter you use for the filling mixture since it's just a mix of peanut butter and sugar any ways but when you make the chocolate mixture you MUST use creamy peanut butter. The reasons for this are namely 2... first you will not have a smooth texture to the chocolate and most of the time with the amount of chocolate that is used, the nuts that were once making it 'chunky style' will just sink to the bottom and you'll end up with a bunch of wasted end chocolate because of all the excess nuts. Besides, the peanut butter in this part is meant for flavour not texture.

Tip #8 - When you get to melting the chocolate/peanut butter for the chocolate mixture, please do not use the microwave unless you have enough space to do all of this recipe in one go. Most of us do not have this option and will end up making this into 2 or more batches like we would cookies. Because of that factor, it's better to use a double boiler for this stage as it will allow you to keep the chocolate nicely melted while only having to stir it every once and a while. If you do this in the microwave, your chocolate will start to set while you wait for the next batch to be made and you'll have to microwave it again to melt it... doing this over and over will risk that you make the chocolate unstable or worse, that you burn it. Eventually too much microwaving of chocolate will just simply ruin it. You want a nice rich, creamy, glossy, and smooth melted mixture.

Peanut Butter Filling Mixture
 1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter (see tip #6)
 5 tsp butter, softened/room temperature
 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Chocolate Mixture

  2 cups (12 oz) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  1 cup (6oz) milk chocolate chips (pure milk chocolate candy bars will work too)
  1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (see tip #7
Prepare peanut butter filling mixture by simply whisking together the peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar until lighter in colour and combined well. Set aside for now.

In a double boiler, place both kinds of chocolate and the creamy peanut butter and melt slowly. Please see tip #8 for information on why NOT to use a microwave for this part.

Now comes the messy but fun part. Grab your muffin tin (mini or regular sized), make sure you have them lined. Fill each spot about 1/2 way up and stop. Get that peanut butter filling mixture and place a nice spoonful right in the centre of that chocolate. What you are looking for is a nice yummy drop of peanut butter filling to land right in the centre so that you see a bit of chocolate sticking out the sides. Then cover with more chocolate mixture just until you have covered up that yummy peanut butter filling *licks off fingers*.

Stick the finished pan in the fridge for about 1 hour or until firm enough to remove them from the pan and then rinse and repeat with the remaining filling and chocolate mixture.

For something more fancy, before sticking in the fridge for their chill out period, try adding sprinkles or coloured sugar to the top. For some thing like a Christmas present, add green and red coloured sugar to the top for example. Make sure you do this though BEFORE putting them in the fridge for the first time or well yea... logic tells you that hard chocolate won't keep the sugar I would hope. Be careful and READ THE INGREDIENTS when buying sprinkles! A lot of them are made with/from wheat for some stupid reason! I'm looking into how to make my own and will certainly post about it later on (hopefully in time for Christmas cookie making!).

Store in the fridge when finished or the chocolate will get very soft and it'll be difficult to remove from the liners. Also a suggestion, separate each layer with a piece of wax paper if you stack them to store such as in a bowl. It'll keep them from sticking to each other.

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