My sweet tooth has a tendency to play favorites. Chocolate will always be my number one. Anything nutty ranks a close second.
It’s a test of sheer willpower for me to say no to dessert when it involves chocolate, and paired with peanut butter, chocolate is impossible to refuse. They are pure magic together.
Nothing compares to the ultimate match of chocolate and peanut butter. That addictive balance of salty and sweet is what gets me. When I’m daydreaming glazing longingly at the rows of candy at the grocery store checkout, peanut butter cups are always calling my name.
There is nothing wrong with the mass-produced peanut butter cups packaged neatly in pairs, but homemade peanut butter cups are even better. You can use higher quality chocolate like a nice, rich dark. And the filling can be a sweet peanut butter made from scratch.
I started by toasting the peanuts the oven. Don’t skip this step because it intensifies the flavor of the peanut butter centers.
Then I chopped the nuts finely in the food processor with honey, oil, confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract and salt. I rolled the peanut butter into balls and flattened them into disks to fit inside the cups.
I carefully melted the dark chocolate over a pot of simmering water on the stove and spooned a slick of chocolate to coat the bottoms of the muffin cups. Then I placed a peanut butter disk on top and poured the remaining chocolate over the peanut butter until it was completely disguised.
The hours waiting for the peanut butter cups to set was agonizing, but totally worth it. The silky chocolate coating the peanut butter and made the most wonderful audible snap when broken in half. One of these is enough to satisfy a craving, but it’s tough not to start nibbling on a second peanut butter cup.
Peanut Butter Cups
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 4 hours to set
- Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
- Yield: 12 1x
1–1/3 cups roasted salted peanuts
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon canola oil
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toast the peanuts on a foil-lined sheet pan until they are lightly browned and fragrant, about 7 minutes.
Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper inserts.
Allow the peanuts to cool. Then transfer to a food processor, and process for 3 minutes until the peanuts are the consistency of fine breadcrumbs scraping down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Add the honey, oil, sugar, vanilla extract and salt, and process until fully incorporated.
Divide the peanut filling into 12 balls about 2 teaspoons each. Flatten the balls into disks that will fit inside the muffin cups without touching the sides.
In a medium saucepan bring 1 inch of water to a low simmer. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over the saucepan without the water touching the bottom of the bowl. Stir frequently until the chocolate is glossy, smooth and fully melted. (Alternatively, melt the chocolate in the microwave in 30-second blasts stirring to distribute the heat.)
Place about 2 teaspoons of chocolate in the bottom of each muffin cup. Top with a peanut butter disk gently pressing it, so chocolate partially coats the sides. Cover the peanut butter with about 1 teaspoon of chocolate smoothing it out with the back of a spoon.
Let the peanut butter cups sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours until they harden. Store in an airtight container, but do not refrigerate.
Adapted from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It by Karen Solomon