Saturday, April 29, 2017

Chocolate Frenzy

The only sure-fire way I’ve been able to drag teenagers away from computers and video games is to say, “Let’s make something chocolate!”  This time the lure was Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.

Andy, 16, had already researched the topic online.  He discovered a video about how to make a peanut butter cup that was apparently the size of a dinner plate.  Unfortunately he couldn’t find it again, so we had to fall back on adapting my Peanut Butter and Chocolate Chunks recipe.  It was a lot easier than I expected, mostly because of Andy’s enthusiasm.

I got out my 3 muffin pans, paper cupcake liners and a large economy size bag of chocolate chips.  Then I showed Andy how to melt chocolate—a useful life-long skill.  He dropped cupcake liners into the muffin cups and carefully spooned some chocolate into each liner. 

While we waited for the chocolate to harden, we made the peanut butter filling.  He shaped 1 spoonful into a disc, placed it on top of the chocolate and then spooned more chocolate on top.  The end result looked very homemade, but Andy didn’t care since he was mainly interested in how they tasted. 

We had one unexpected problem—too much peanut butter filling.  Because it had the consistency of Playdough, we decided to shape the leftovers into marble-size balls and dip them in chocolate.  We refrigerated them too for a while before we could sample them.  They were a big success!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups & Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls - makes 18 cups, 7-8 balls 
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips + more if needed
Paper cupcake liners
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/8 cup peanut butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons milk + more if needed  
Melt the chocolate in a small, heavy pot over very low heat, stirring constantly.  When the chocolate is almost melted, turn off the heat and set aside.  The heat of the pot will melt the remaining chocolate.  
Make the Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups first.  Place the cupcake liners into the muffin pan(s) and spoon enough chocolate into each liner to cover the bottom of the paper.  Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes, or until the chocolate hardens.  
While you’re waiting, make the peanut butter filling.  Put the butter, powdered sugar, peanut butter, brown sugar, salt and milk in a food processor or large bowl.  Process or beat with an electric mixer or by hand until smooth and creamy.  Taste to see if the mixture is too dry and crumbly.  If you want it smoother and creamier, add another teaspoon or more milk and mix until it reaches the consistency you prefer.  It should remain firm enough to pick up without sticking to your fingers.  
Shape 1 heaping teaspoon of the peanut butter mixture into a flat disc slightly smaller than the bottom of the cupcake liner and place on top of the chocolate. Repeat until you have filled each cupcake liner.  Then spoon a thin layer of warm chocolate onto the peanut butter filling, making sure it completely covers the filling and touches the edges of the liner.  Refrigerate until firm. 
Shape any remaining peanut butter filling into marble-sized balls and roll in melted chocolate.  Melt more chocolate chips if needed.  Place balls on a plate lined with wax paper and refrigerate until firm. 
Store in a closed container or wrapped in foil or plastic.

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