Peanut butter and chocolate are a good combination – great combination, in fact – which is precisely why there are so many peanut butter and chocolate confections out there. But commercial availability has never stopped me from putting together a homemade version of a favorite treat before, so when I saw a recipe for homemade chocolate peanut butter candies on on Bittersweet, I knew I had to try it.
I first made the candy cups, spreading melted dark chocolate into mini bonbon papers (sold at craft stores, they are basically metallic versions of mini muffin liners, which make a fine substitute) with a small paintbrush that I use for candy-making only. I chilled the cups and prepared the filling, a mixture of organic peanut butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt. The filling is the place where you really get to play. For instance, I used a mixture of crunchy and creamy peanut butters, blending two different brands together, along with vanilla and sugar. I needed to add a bit of extra salt to enhance the overall flavor of the filling, but I might try adding cinnamon or maple next time for a bit of a twist.
The finished candies were fantastic. The centers had a good amount of chew to them, and I loved the fact that there were fairly large pieces of peanut in mine. The chocolate – naturally – was a great contrast to the center. I brought the candies along to a little party this week and they were a huge hit. The only downside is that the recipe only makes about 2 dozen candies, so I’ll have to make another batch for myself later because there were no leftovers from the first one.
Other nut butters would also work in the filling, if peanut butter isn’t your favorite, and you could try doing this with different types of chocolate, if you really prefer to use milk instead of dark, for instance.
Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
approx 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate, chopped (or dark chocolate chips)
1/2 cup creamy organic/natural peanut butter
1/2 cup crunchy organic/natural peanut butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
generous pinch salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Set 2-dozen mini muffin/bonbon wrappers on a baking sheet.
Melt approximately half of the dark chocolate, using a microwave-safe bowl and cooking it in short (30 second) intervals, stirring frequently, until smooth. Use a spoon to pour a little chocolate into each muffin wrapper. Use a small, very clean brush to paint the chocolate up the sides of each wrapper. Alternatively, you could add extra chocolate and swirl it around, pouring out the excess later, to coat the inside of the wrapper.
Chill candy shells until set, about 20-30 minutes.
In a small bowl, whisk together peanut butter(s), confectioners’ sugar, salt and vanilla. When the mixture has come together, heat it in the microwave (again in short intervals, stirring frequently), until it is very, very soft. Working carefully with the hot filling, transfer it to a pastry bag (or plastic bag with the tip cut off) and pipe a generous amount of the filling into each prepared candy cup. Chill again for approx 30 minutes, or until set.
Melt all remaining chocolate and, when the candy fillings have set, fill each muffin wrapper up with chocolate. Chill until set.
Serve cold or at room temperature.
Makes 2 dozen.