Two great tastes that taste great together
Sherrel Jones’ story on Snider Farms peanut butter and “The Field Guided to Candy” byAnita Chu inspired me to do something I’ve talked about for years: Try my hand at making peanut butter cups.
My lust for Reese’s Peanut Butter cups is storied. I shudder to think how much of my excess baggage is filled with Reese’s.
I figured if I was unable to kick the habit, I might as well save some dough and learn to make them myself.
Thanks to the rich, dense peanut butter from Hollis and chef Chu’s expert directions, I can now make a pretty fair rendition of this classic candy from the mind of Hershey’s employee H.B. Reese in 1928.
The peanut butter cups are one of a myriad of treats from Chu’s book of confections. It’s a sized like a field guide and would work as a stocking stuffer, but is probably more valuable to ring in the holiday season leading up to Santa’s big day.
As for the cups, here’s a couple tips. I used two kinds of chocolate: Ghiradelli milk chocolate for baking and Hershey’s milk chocolate chips. The Ghirardelli had a higher milk content and mirrored the flavor of Reese’s to perfection. The Hershey’s was good but less reminiscent of the original. The reason I used two different kinds is that I ran out of chocolate. This is most likely because of my inexperience, but I recommend buying extra of the Ghirardelli. Also, baking milk chocolate wasn’t super easy to find, but Cresent Market carried it. I suspect some of the gourmet shops have it, too.
In the video, we also tried out the Waring Professional blender, a gift-contender for those shopping for small appliances. To try it, we made a peanut-butter chocolate shake. The shake recipe was adapted from Bobby Flay’s “Burgers, Fries, and Shakes” — an excellent stocking stuffer for your family’s kitchen lead. Shakes are tricky for blenders in that they can be difficult to manage if the ice cream is to cold. The Waring is a wonder in simplicity. Two speeds, heavy-duty housing and a thick glass jar that holds up to 48 ounces. There’s no guess work here and clean up is super easy. Outside of this shake demonstration, I also made a couple smoothies that had perfect consistency. This is a keeper.
Without further ado, here’s the Peanut Butter recipe from “A Field Guide to Candy” by Anita Chu. I’ve made slight adjustments for use with Snider Farms peanut butter. Keep in mind you will need a candy thermometer to temper the chocolate.*
- Related to this story
- Video: Food: Peanut Butter Ideas (2009-12-01)
Peanut Butter Cups
- 1 pound milk chocolate for baking
- 1 cup Snider Farms peanut butter
- 1/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Melt and temper the milk chocolate.
- Use a small spoon or pastry brush to coat the cup molds with tempered chocolate
- Refrigerate about 30 minutes to let the chocolate set
- Combine the peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a bowl. Spoon the mixture the cups. If you’re using a standard cream peanut butter, put the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a round tip.
- If using Snider’s peanut butter, take pinches of peanut butter and gently mash them onto the set chocolate in the cups, filling to near the top of the cup molds. If using standard peanut butter, pipe the peanut butter mixture into the cups.
- Cover the peanut butter mixture with the remaining chocolate. Use a spatula to smooth the tops.
- Refrigerate peanut-butter cups until set, about 1 hour, before removing them from molds.
Makes about 48 cups. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. But don’t worry, they won’t last that long.
*How to temper chocolate, according to Anita Chu
- Finely chop chocolate (I used a food processor and it worked great)
- Place two-thirds of the chocoate in a double-boiler or metal bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water. Place a candy thermometer or digital thermometer in the chocolate and stir frequently with a rubber spatula
- Do not let temperature of the chocolate exceed 105 degrees for milk chocolate. When it has fully melted, remove the bowl from heat. Wipe the bottom of the bowl to get rid of an condensation.
- Stir in the remaining third of the chocolate a little at a time. Let it melt before adding more.
- Let the chocolate cool to about 85 degrees. If it is warmer, keep stirring and let it cool some more. If it is cooler, begin reheating in the next step.
- Once the chocolate reaches 87 degrees, place it back over simmering water. Remove bowl from heat once you’ve reached the right temperature.
- Spread a small spoonful of chocolate on a piece of wax paper. If it looks dull or streaky, re-temper, starting with Step 2. If it dries quickly with a glossy finish and no streaks, the chocolate is in temper.
Source: Anita Chu, “The Field Guide to Candy”
Peanut Butter Chocolate Shake
- Six scoops chocolate or vanilla ice cream
- 1/4 cup chocolate syrup (optional if using chocolate ice cream)
- 1 tablespoon Snider Farms peanut butter
- 2 peanut butter cups
- 1/3 cup milk
- Add softened ice cream, syrup and milk to blender, pulse 10 seconds
- Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth, up to 30 seconds.
You may need to stop and stir any chunks toward the blades.
Source: Adapted from “Bobby Flay’s Burgers, Fries and Shakes”