July 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Cups

There are two different kinds of people in my world...people you will find hanging out at the dessert table and those you will find hanging out at the starter/nibble table. Those who will order a starter and main course and those who will order a main course and dessert on a €20  two course lunch menu. Where do I fall? I fall in with the dessert crowd! With all the butter, sugar and cream.... So. Darn. Good. 

But, have a salty dessert on your two course lunch menu? I'm ordering two salty desserts. I cannot get enough of the salty sweet combo. It's just so good. If you taste the lovely sweetness and then BAM, salt and the salt makes everything taste so sweet. It's what makes me keep eating.

The best way to combine salt and sweet? Salty crunchy peanut butter and smooth chocolate. Now, peanut butter cups are not a new thing and I'm not taking credit for them...I wish I could. Who ever invented them was a genius! A genius I tells ya'!

I will however take the credit for making my own peanut butter! I wanted to be able to control the texture, salt and sweetness of the peanut butter so making it was the best option. The texture versus the texture of a shop bought one is stellar. I wanted a slightly thicker peanut butter for these peanut butter cups...and needed something crumbly, fudgy, doughy and chalky in texture. That may sound weird, but it's the only way I can describe it!

I made 36 odd sweets and between 5 people, they were gone in two days! Well done us. Keep them in the fridge in a sealed lunch box and you will find yourself making unnecessary trips to the fridge all day long!

No one's judging, I ate 3 standing with the fridge door open 'looking' for grapes. 


Holly, x

We're making peanut butter, well sort of...a thick peanut butter! If you like, you could make cashew butter or almond butter. Replace the peanuts with cashews or almonds and hey presto! you've got Cashew Butter Cups or Almond Butter Cups. 

Spread the nuts out onto a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven at 180C for 5 minutes to toast. After 5 minutes give the sheet a shake and toast for another 2-3 minutes until lightly golden and deliciously toasted smelling.

Pour the toasted nuts into the bowl of a food processor and blitz for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and blitz the peanuts again for 2 minutes or until you have a thickish smoother paste.

Depending on the strength of your food processor, you may need to blitz the peanuts more/less to achieve the consistency in the above picture. This is peanut butter, but a really thick one. If I left my food processor to keep working for about 4 minutes, I would have a glossy, smooth peanut butter- but- I'm looking for something on the thick side.

Once it's blitzed, add in the honey, salt and vegetable oil. Give it another quick blitz and taste it...add more salt and/or honey to make your taste buds happy!

Tip the paste into a bowl and work in the icing sugar. You will end up with a peanut butter dough, if you will!

For the chocolate, melt 300g in a bain marie and finely chop the remaining 100g. Once the chocolate has melted, tip in the chopped chocolate, let it sit for 1 minutes and then stir. 

Line 2 mini muffin tins with 36 mini sweet wrapper and just cover the base of each wrapper with chocolate. 3/4-1 level teaspoon of chocolate should do. Pop them in the freezer for the chocolate to set. 

In the meantime, roll the peanut butter into 36 little balls and flatten between your hands. Place on top of the chocolate bases. These balls need to be smaller than the chocolate bases so that they can be completely coated in chocolate. Also, try and have them level or just above the line of the sweet wrapper. 

You will have some peanut butter left...you can either keep it and stir it through ice cream or blitz it again with a little extra vegetable oil until you have a looser peanut butter....I went with the first option!

Fill all the bases with a peanut butter ball and cover with 1-2 teaspoons of chocolate. Sprinkle on a little flaky sea salt, if that's your thing! 

Pop back in the freezer and allow them to set for 10-15 minutes.

Recipe, Makes roughly 30-36 sweets

400g Skinless Unsalted Peanuts, Almonds or Cashew.
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Honey
1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
50g Icing Sugar
200g Dark Chocolate
200g Milk Chocolate

For the peanut butter:
Preheat the oven to 180C and spread peanuts onto a baking sheet.
Pop into the oven and roast the peanuts for 5 minutes, shake the peanuts and roast for another 2-3 minutes.
Carefully pour the peanuts into the bowl of a food processor and blitz for 1 minute.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and blitz for 2 minutes.
I left my peanut butter a little on the thicker, chunkier side. If you keep blitzing, you will achieve a spreadable peanut butter consistency...but that's not what I was looking for here.
With the mixer on add in the salt, honey and vegetable oil. 
Taste the peanut butter for salt and honey and add more to suit your taste.
Tip the peanut butter into a bowl and work in the icing sugar until you have a crumbly dough.
Set aside until ready to use.

For the chocolate:
Line 2 mini muffin trays with 36 mini sweet wrappers. Set aside until ready to use.
Place a pot with 1 inch of water onto the heat, break 300g of chocolate into a heatproof bowl and sit on top. 
Melt the chocolate over a low heat, making sure the water never touches the bottom of the bowl.
Finely chop the remaining 100g of chocolate.
Remove the melted chocolate from the heat, add in the finely chopped chocolate, allow to sit for 1 minute and then stir. 
To keep the chocolate warm and fluid, pop the bowl back on the pot off the heat. 

Just cover the base of each sweet wrapper with melted chocolate, 3/4-1 level teaspoon of chocolate should do it- you don't want the base too thick. 
Pop into the freezer and allow to set.
Roll out 36 little peanut butter balls, about 3g each in weight.
These need to be small enough to fit on top of the chocolate base leaving a little gap all the way around it for the chocolate to surround it. Also, the peanut butter balls should be level or just below the level of the sweet wrapper. 
Pop a peanut butter ball on top of each chocolate base and cover with melted chocolate.
Sprinkle on a little flaky sea salt and pop in the freezer for 5-10 minutes until set.
Remove and they are ready to eat...just make sure to take off the sweet wrapper!
Keep 'em in a lunch box in the fridge for as long as they will last....which won't be long!

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