I’ve came to a decision. Chocolate and peanut butter make the best flavor combination ever. And chocolate peanut butter cups are the best things I have ever eaten. I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (unfortunately, they’re rather rare to come by here in Sydney) but what I love even more are homemade chocolate peanut butter cups.
I’ve made them before and was surprised at how easy they were to make. They didn’t match the exact taste of a Reese’s, but they were delicious, and they were homemade and that made them extra special.
It has been a few years since I made chocolate peanut butter cups, so I took the opportunity to do so last week. I had been sick all week (thanks a lot to my daughter, who also got sick from a “bug” going around her kindergarten class) and I had wanted to make these little beauties all week but was too sick. Finally, on Friday, I was feeling better and got to work first thing in the morning (which, for me, means about 1PM!).
Don’t they look so special? Let me tell you about how special these little cups really are. That’s not just average chocolate you see there; that chocolate is Lindt’s A Touch of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar. This is my most favorite chocolate bar. Ever. There is also my own touch of sea salt in the creamy peanut butter filling.
And, these are mini chocolate peanut butter cups, which makes them especially cute!
I have a secret to get the perfect smooth top on your cups, as well. I’ve already had questions about this, so I will share my tip with you guys too. Most of the peanut butter cups I have seen on blogs have a dollop on top, or spreading marks from a knife or spoon. This is fine, there’s nothing wrong with that as the taste will still be awesome, but I prefer smooth tops these days and I know exactly how to get them.
When you first start making the cups, you will be melting chocolate and peanut butter together. You’ll spread the melted mixture into paper liners, then you’ll refrigerate them to set them. In the meantime, you’ll be making the peanut butter filling. When it is done, you’ll take out the chocolate cups from the ‘fridge, fill the cups with peanut butter, then spread the remaining melted chocolate on top. Then you’ll be refrigerating them again to set.
Okay, so in between the time you first spread the chocolate into the liners, refrigerate them, make the filling, etc., the melted chocolate will be cooling and hardening slightly. It’ll still be liquid by the time you spread it on the top, sure it will. But you won’t be able to get a smooth top unless you re-melt the chocolate.
What you’ll need to do is, after filling the cups with the peanut butter, place the cups in the refrigerator for a minute or two, then re-melt your chocolate. Just until it’s warm and runny again. Don’t make it hot though. Just a minute or two of constant stirring over the stove on low heat until it’s warm and runny, that’s all. Take it off the heat, then immediately spoon it on top of the cups. After this, don’t touch the melted chocolate on top at all. Instead, pick up the pan and tilt it gently this way and that until the melted chocolate covers the peanut butter entirely. Repeat with the remaining cups. You now have smooth chocolate tops! And, of course, immediately refrigerate them until set.
I wouldn’t recommend pouring the chocolate on all of the cups, and then tilting the pan because the chocolate will start to harden due to the chilled cups and you might not to be able to get a smooth, even coverage on the first cups that you filled.
With all that said though, who really cares what the tops look like? No matter if they’re a messy rustic pile of melted chocolate with a bit of peanut butter in the middle, they will taste spectacular!
Adapted from Have Cake, Will Travel
Makes 10 mini-cupcake sized cups
142g Lindt A Touch of Sea Salt chocolate bar, chopped
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
96g smooth peanut butter
32g powdered sugar
1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs* (optional)
pinch sea salt
Melt chopped chocolate bar and 1 tablespoon peanut butter in a small heavy-bottom saucepan over low heat on stove, stirring often, until completely smooth. Immediately remove from heat.
In the meantime, line a mini cupcake pan with 10 mini paper liners.
Spoon 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate in one liner at a time, then, using the back of a small spoon, coat the paper liner with the chocolate almost up to the very top, but not touching the top. Repeat until all 10 liners are coated. Refrigerate the pan for about 20 minutes, or freeze for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, make the peanut butter filling. Combine the remaining ingredients in a bowl and stir until completely incorporated.
Take the cups out of the refrigerator or freezer, and spoon out 10-12g (or about 1/2 tablespoon) of the peanut butter filling. Lightly form into a ball with your fingers, then place the ball into one of the chocolate cups. Gently flatten the ball out by pushing it around the cup with your fingers to get it into all the nooks and crannies of the cups. Repeat with remaining filling. If you have some filling leftover, either eat it, or divide it up into cups that look like they may need a little bit more.
Here is where you can either top the cups with 1 teaspoon each of the remaining melted chocolate, then spread it around to completely cover the peanut butter, then refrigerate for 1 hour or until set, or, if you want a perfect smooth top, then follow the procedure below.
After filling with peanut butter filling, refrigerate the cups again. Gently re-heat melted chocolate until just warm and runny again. Remove from the heat. Take out the cups from the ‘fridge, then, one at a time, spoon 1 teaspoon of the melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter filling in the cup. Do not touch the melted chocolate once it’s on top! Instead, pick up the pan and gently tilt it this way and that way until the chocolate covers the peanut butter filling entirely. Gently tap the pan on a hard surface if you’re having trouble filling any gaps. The main thing though is to not touch the chocolate at all in order to get that smooth surface. Repeat with remaining cups.
Refrigerate again for about 1 hour or until set. Or freeze for up to 30 minutes. Store leftovers in the refrigerator. They taste great straight from the refrigerator, but you’ll get a better peanut butter taste if you let them come to room temperature first, for about 10-15 minutes.
* If you can’t find graham crackers, use a plain sweet biscuit or cookie, like Arnott’s Nice biscuits. Basically the crumbs are providing texture in the filling.