Monday, August 6, 2012

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (SRC)

Sometimes, as I dutifully set my quinoa and flax seeds on the grocery store conveyer belt, the Reece's Peanut Butter Cups woo me with sinister whispers from the edges of the check-out lane.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah---you're trying to be all healthy---but you know you cannot resist our velvety perfection," they sneer from their orange and brown packaging.  

And it's true:  I rarely resist, even though my heart quietly tells me I should.  

And I usually inhale the entire package by the time I get to the stop sign at the edge of the grocery store's parking lot.

Regret and it's evil roommate, self-contempt, fully set in as I approach the first traffic light.  (Does this happen to anyone else?)

And while the peanut butter cups taste so good, I'm trying to be kind to myself by having fewer things to regret in life, by practicing some self-control, and by removing ingredients like PGPR, dextrose, and tert-Butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) from my diet.

Therefore I was quite excited to see a recipe for peanut butter cups on the blog Dinner, Dishes, and Desserts--my assigned secret buddy for this month's Secret Recipe Club.

No more TBHQ for me!  Yippee.

Erin, the blog's author, has many delicious recipes to choose from, including homemade Nutella and a slew of no-bake cookies, perfect for hot summer days when the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven.  In fact, I made her No-Bake Nutella Bars, but of course had to take something that wasn't entirely unhealthy and turn them into truffles, dunk them in a chocolate ganache, and sprinkle them with candy.
 (This post will be up later in the week...)

So what I'm saying is you NEED to go see this girl's blog!  Click on over and give her a visit.

Now, back to the Peanut Butter Cups...
They're smiling at you, by the way. 

Bittersweet chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, coconut oil,  vegetable shortening, and muffin tin liners.  That's all you'll need.

Very high on the list of things I love about cooking is the ability to use simple ingredients to make delicious treats for my family to enjoy.  I really don't want to say to my 3-year old, "Here you go, sweet boy.  Mama made you some TBHQ bars!  I have no idea what that will make your guts look like in 50 years, but you enjoy them now, okay?!"

I used a standard-sized muffin tin to make this recipe (and yielded exactly 12 "cups").  Next time, I'll use a mini-muffin pan.  Erin says that yield is about 36.

Powdered sugar being incorporated into a mixture of peanut butter and coconut oil (you can substitute butter).


I melted the chocolate and shortening together and scooped a tablespoonful into each section of the lined muffin tin.

After putting the peanut butter mixture into a Zip-Lock bag and snipping off a corner of the bag, I squeezed about a tablespoon of the peanut butter onto the layer of chocolate.

It was kind of "squirt-y" looking, but I rapped the pan against the counter a few times,

And it smoothed right out.

Then I added a final tablespoon of chocolate to each cup.

I used the thin drizzle that occurred as the last of the chocolate was draining from the spoon to coat the edges of each cup. 

The cups chilled in the refrigerator for about an hour,

Emerging firm and ready to make all of my preservative-free dreams come true.

Thank you, Erin. 

Here's the printable recipe.

Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 1 dozen (standard muffin-tin-sized*) cups

2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (substitute milk chocolate if desired)
1 tablespoon vegetable shortening
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tablespoons coconut oil (as a solid; substitute butter** if desired)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of salt

Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners.  Set aside.

Melt the chocolate and the shortening together in a double broiler or in the microwave (in 20-second intervals). Stir well to combine.

While chocolate is melting, mix the peanut butter, coconut oil, and salt together in a medium-sized microwavable bowl.  If the ingredients do not become easily "stir-able" right away, microwave the mixture for 10 seconds.  Stir again.  Mixture should be of a smooth, creamy consistency.  If it is not, microwave for 10 more seconds and stir again.  Once mixture is smooth, stir in the powdered sugar and mix until well-incorporated.  

Transfer the peanut butter mixture to a quart-sized Zip-Lock bag.  Snip off a tiny corner of the bag and then set bag aside. 

Ladle a tablespoon of the melted chocolate/shortening mixture into each of the 12 sections of the muffin tin.  Set remaining chocolate aside.

There should be just enough of the peanut butter mixture to squeeze a tablespoonful into each muffin section on top of the chocolate layer.  You can 1) eyeball it and squeeze it directly on the chocolate layer, or 2) squeeze out the peanut butter mixture into an actual tablespoon to get a good idea of the exact amount. 

The peanut butter layer may have a rough look to it (unless it's very warm in your kitchen which will cause it to be more of a liquid).  To smooth the peanut butter layer out, rap the muffin tin on the counter and gently jostle the tin back and forth.  The peanut butter layer should smooth right out.

Once each of the 12 muffin sections have been filled, ladle another tablespoon of chocolate over the peanut butter layer.  (Hint: let the majority of the chocolate pour out in the center of the muffin cup, and then drizzle the last bit around the edges of the cup.  This helps to completely cover the peanut butter.)

After all of the muffin cups have been covered with the second layer of chocolate, set the muffin tin in a level area in the refrigerator.  After 30 minutes, the chocolate will be hardened, and the peanut butter layer will still be a bit soft.  After an hour, the peanut butter layer will be a bit more firm.

Store at a cool room temperature for a softer-textured candy, store in the refrigerator for a firmer candy.   

*Use a mini-muffin tin, if desired, adjusting the quantities from a tablespoon to a teaspoon.
**If you use butter instead of coconut oil, the peanut butter center may have a fluffier texture.

(I altered this recipe from the original by substituting dark chocolate for the milk chocolate and by using coconut oil instead of butter.)


Nicole @ The Daily Dish said...

I have forever been wanting to try making my own Reeses Peanut Butter Cups... these look so good! And I am a little in love with the idea of using dark chocolate which is my favorite. This is a great SRC pick!

Tracy said...

Oh that looks so yummy. And I wouldn't have to turn the oven on!

Chaya said...

When I saw this on the linky, I made my way here, immediately. These are the greatest. What a good choice!

Lisa~~ said...

Oh my word your pb cups look amazingly delish...yum!

If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my SRC entry: Chicken Satay Noodle Salad.

Cook Lisa Cook

Shumaila said...

I loooooooove Reese's!! But definitely do not love the TBHQ! Your peanut butter cups have come out so well. Love the smoothness they have! Great pick for the SRC. I am sure your son's gut will thank you years later!

Gretchen (Veggie Grettie) said...

Chocolate and peanut butter have always been a flavor constant for me...DARK chocolate is a necessity! Great job :-)

AlessioFangano said...

Peanut butter and chocolate... add cream-cheese to the ingredients list and you are set to leave to a dessert-deserted island :D
Lovely cups you made!

By the way, I was assigned your blog in this round of SRC, guess what I cooked from your recipes?? :-)

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts said...

Thank you for the kind words, you are too sweet!! I love that you picked these - we must have been on the same wave length this month! Can't wait to see what you did with the Nutella Bars!!

Connor's Chaos said...

these look delicious... can't wait to try them soon!

Sara said...

YUM - these look absolutely amazing! Peanut butter cups are pretty much my favorite candy, and love the idea of making them at home! :)

Lisa said...

If I said pretty please, would you mail me a box of your PB cups? :)

Heather said...

Ok. these are soooo amazing and Im so sad I starte my diet today. Maybe I can think of a calorie burning excercise to compensate!
ps. did i ever tell you, you're my hero?

Lesa @Edesias Notebook said...

Wow, they are gorgeous! Nice job!

Kirstin said...

oh yummy!!!!