Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Peanut Butter Cups

Who does not love the flavor combination of peanut butter and chocolate? I, for one, believe they are perfect together. I have a hard time resisting anything combining chocolate with peanut butter. And apparently, my dessert party guests had a hard time resisting these little babies. I've served them at my dessert party for years and they have mostly gone unnoticed, out shined by the more flamboyant red velvet cupcakes or candy cane cookies. But for whatever reason, these little guys were the hit of the party this year and I never even had a chance to try one and there wasn't a single one leftover.

The origin of this recipe is family. While most people grew up on Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I grew up on Risa's Peanut Butter Cups. You see, this recipe comes from my aunt Risa who has been making these for the family at Christmas time for as long as I can remember. She was aptly named to have peanut butter cups as a specialty. A few years ago, I finally got around to asking her for the recipe and she kindly emailed it to me.
Start with 3/4 cup softened - but not necessarily melted - butter. Add it to a medium size mixing bowl.
Then add 2 cups of peanut butter. I generally use creamy peanut butter but I've had them with crunchy and it works well too.

Next up, 3/4 cup brown sugar.

Mix until all ingredients are combined.
Add 3 3/4 cups powdered sugar.
If you get your powdered sugar in a 1 pound box or bag, you are in luck because that equals approximately 3 3/4 cups. 
So you can dump the whole bag straight in.
And add 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Knead the ingredients together - I just use my hand mixer on the lowest setting until the powdered sugar is incorporated.
This is how the final texture should look:
At this point you can either spread the peanut butter mix into a 9x13 pan or use mini-muffin pans for the peanut butter "cup" effect. For the holidays, I use the latter. To do so, drop a scoop of peanut butter mix into a mini-muffin pan lined with papers using a teaspoon.
Then press the peanut butter into the paper with the back of the spoon.
It will look something like this. 
I use the muffin pan to help the papers keep their shape while scooping the peanut butter into the cups.
Next step, we need to melt the chocolate for the topping. You can use milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips or whatever your favorite melting chocolate is. For this batch, I used milk chocolate chips for half and semi-sweet chocolate chips for the other half. 
My melting method is this make-shift, improvised "double-boiler". I filled the bottom pan half-full of water and placed a smaller pan on top.
Then added the chocolate chips and melt on medium heat. The double boiler means you don't have to babysit it quite so closely but it is best to keep an eye on the chocolate as it melts.
Stir occasionally as this helps the chocolate melt smoothly.

Continue stirring until the chocolate is smooth. . .

Spoon the melted chocolate with a teaspoon, I used this funky shaped jelly spoon that normally just hangs out in my drawer unused. Not sure if it made a huge difference but it works well.
Carefully spoon the chocolate onto the peanut butter
I don't worry about covering all of the peanut butter, just getting a nice healthy portion of chocolate on top.
The chocolate takes a few hours to set. I usually give them over night to set up but you can put them in the fridge or freezer to speed up the set up process.
The recipe makes 60 plus mini-cups.
To add a little holiday color - and to avoid too much brown on my holiday buffet - I decided to add some holiday m&ms.

Risa's Peanut Butter Cups
2 cups peanut butter
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 package chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter, butter and brown sugar. Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Knead until well blended. Press into mini cupcake papers or 9x13 pan.
Melt chocolate chips and spread over peanut butter mixture.
Keeps well for months in airtight container in the freezer.

12 comments:

Christian said...

I feel like I need to repent after reading this.

Tiffany said...

Actually, that was me. Oops.

KamilahNYC said...

Thanks! My husband is going to love me :)

DeAnn said...

Was I the only one that could actually smell this?

Beck said...

Hey, that's GLUTEN FREE! Awesome! I just high fived myself and then I gained 20 pounds. Good stuff.

Keith said...

"Keeps well for MONTHS in airtight container in the freezer."

Yeah...sure...RIGHT!!

This wouldn't last long enough in my freezer to actually become FROZEN.

katie said...

The greatest combination ever - chocolate and peanut butter, I could survive on that alone. Thanks for the recipe!

critts said...

I wish I'd seen this earlier! I so would have made these for my cookie exchange tomorrow.

lizzie said...

yum. i may just attempt these. you make them look so easy.

Charlene said...

Yum!

the swope family said...

Just made these! Waiting on the chocolate to get a bit more firm before I try one but I can't wait! Thanks for sharing the recipe!!!

Jessica said...

You don't know me, but I follow your blog. I love cooking so I especially like your cooking demos. I made these last night with the hubby and they are sinfully delicious! We actually made some with chocolate in the bottom a round/square amount of peanut butter mix in the center and surrounded with chocolate. That was amazing too! And they look like the mini reses's cups.

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