Halloween is lurking around the corner and while the trick-or-treaters that come to your door, no doubt, want the classic candy brands they know and love, Halloween parties and office gatherings scream out for homemade peanut butter cups.
Homemade peanut butter cups might seem like a mystery - just how do they get the peanut butter inside the chocolate cup anyway? Lee Zalben, the founder and president of Peanut Butter & Co., solves the riddle with this step-by-step guide for peanut butter cups made in your own haunted house.
Peanut Butter Cups
Makes approximately 24 cups
175 g (6 oz.) dark chocolate, chopped (Recommended: E. Guittard 72% cacao bittersweet chocolate)
175 g (6 oz.) milk chocolate , chopped (Recommended: E. Guittard 38% cacao milk chocolate)
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1 Tbsp peanut flour
1 Tbsp graham cracker crumbs
Special Equipment: Mini-muffin tin, baking or candy liners, candy thermometer (optional), kitchen scale to measure chocolate (optional)
1. Place 24 candy or baking liners in the cavities of a mini-muffin tin. Set aside for later.
2. In a small bowl, combine the peanut butter, confectioners' sugar and peanut flour. Mix until smooth. Add the graham cracker crumbs and mix until well combined. Place the bowl in the refrigerator and chill for 20 minutes or until the mixture is firm.
3. Using a 1/2-teaspoon measure, scoop out 24 rounded spoonfuls of peanut butter. Gently roll into balls and place on a cutting board or plate. Lightly flatten the balls with your fingertips, making discs. Refrigerate for 10 minutes so they firm up.
4. Place all of the chocolate in a large glass bowl and mix together. Remove about one third and reserve for later. In the meantime, heat 4 to 6 cups of water in a medium saucepan. Once the water comes to a simmer, turn the flame down to its lowest setting and place the glass bowl with chocolate on top of the saucepan (This process of using a double boiler prevents the chocolate from burning by melting it over consistent, but moderate heat). Gently stir the chocolate for several minutes until the mixture is smooth. Use a candy thermometer to ensure that the chocolate gets to 115°F but doesn't go above. Turn off the flame.
5. Place a towel on your work surface and place the glass bowl on top of the towel. Add the reserved chocolate and stir constantly, bringing the temperature of the melted chocolate to about 82°F. Once it hits 82°F, return the bowl to the saucepan of hot water and bring the temperature of the chocolate back up to about 90°F. You may or may not have to turn the flame on to achieve this. Keep the chocolate at 90°F while you work with it. (This process is known as tempering the chocolate, which will help the chocolate maintain its high gloss finish and "snap" when you break or bite into it.)
6. Drop one teaspoon of tempered chocolate into each of the liners in the muffin pan. When done, gently tap the pan on the counter so that the chocolate spreads to the bottom of the liners. Tilt the pan slightly in each direction to encourage the mixture to coat the sides of the liner slightly and then tap the pan again.
7. Remove the peanut butter discs from the refrigerator and gently place one on top of the chocolate in each liner. Next, spoon additional chocolate on top of the peanut butter. When complete, tap the pan to remove air bubbles and level off the tops. Add more chocolate if necessary and repeat tapping.
8. Refrigerate the muffin pan for at least 60 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.