Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bake Sale: Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

I can't imagine a more divine combination than peanut butter and chocolate. In fact, I still have the taste of a Nutrageous bar on my lips right now. Mmmmmmmm.

So when my office had a bake sale to raise money for a reading program for inner-city kids, I knew that homemade peanut butter cups would be a big hit and would raise a lot of money. However, I had no idea just how popular they'd be: the bake sale sellers, not the customers, bought my treats up before the sale even started. I packaged them in bags of two, and the last bag had to be split among two people so they wouldn't fight each other for it!

Anyway, I owe this recipe to goodthingscatered, but geez, I can't believe I never thought of this myself! You don't have to temper the chocolate, but I was paranoid that my beautiful pb cups would melt on Metro. I'm melllllllltiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
semisweet chocolate chips
creamy peanut butter
(just buy a bag of one and a jar of the other and that'll be enough!)

Set out paper candy cups. Slowly melt a handful or two of chocolate chips in a double boiler or a good nonstick pot.

[The following step is NOT required, but it worked really well for me. As Fran says, "If you're one of those folks who thinks life is too short to stuff cherry tomatoes, you may not have the patience for tempering chocolate."

Tempering is the process of melting, cooling, then melting chocolate again in order to realign the crystals in the cocoa butter. Ever made truffles and wonder why they don't look professional and glossy? You haven't tempered the chocolate. Tempered chocolate gives a nice *snap* when broken and is really glossy. For this and other recipes, use a clip-on candy thermometer to ensure you do this properly.

As you slowly melt the chocolate on your stovetop, stir until the thermometer reaches 115 degrees, but no higher than 120. Remove from heat and stir until the mixture cools to between 82 and 84 degrees. Yes, it takes time. Lots of time. Once the chocolate is at the appropriate temperature, return to heat and stir until it reaches 88 to 90 degrees—no more. This may only take 10 seconds! (If it goes above 90, start the process over...)

88 to 90 degrees is the perfect temperature for dipping, which is why I suggest you work one handful of chocolate chips at a time—you need to work quickly!]

So, tempering madness aside, scoop a small blob of melted chocolate into a paper candy cup. Then a small blob of peanut butter. Then top with another blob of melted chocolate. Make a cute swirl on the top :) and refrigerate to set.

(notice varying stages of the setting process)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

YUM!!! And I'm Soooooooo glad they worked out for you! LOL @ them selling before the bake sale. TOO funny! Now you're the baking queen, though! ;)

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