How do you enjoy peanut butter cups? I go through a candy bar the same way I go through life, by picking it apart & analyzing the details. When it comes to one of my favourite indulgences, peanut butter cups, I like to nibble off the fluted edges so all that's left is a soft peanut buttery circle with just a hint of chocolate. It's a messy, drawn-out, tedious process and I don't enjoy the solid chocolate part (but it leaves me feeling as though I've earned that golden circle!).
Apres all the work, I take umbrage with the fact that I'm left with such a tiny reward; hence the insatiable desire for an elaphantine version.
Unless you want a chocolate-stained chin, fingers, nose + eyelashes, you can't nibble off the edges of these peanut butter cups. Fortunately, they are savagely sensuous...it really doesn't matter. I attempted to be civil and eat mine with a knife and fork. This technique however, was just as futile as the mouse-like version. It's almost impossible to cut into neat little pieces, and I lost one somewhere behind my giant fossil of a microwave.
The best way to enjoy these darlings is to eat them backwards; at the bottom, the only thing standing between you and the peanut butter is a thin shell of chocolate. By the time you've worked your way through the good part, the solid chocolate top will have softened up enough to be enjoyed without fear of chipping a front tooth. Or, if you're impatient, you can always heat one up for a few seconds. However you decide to tackle these, you shall be left satisfied and content and purring. Who can be grumpy and existential after eating peanut butter
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
makes about 10 large deities
About 4 cups of good quality bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli's 60% cacao chips. You may also use semi-sweet.)
2 cups of peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of confectioners sugar
1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract
Have about 10 cupcake liners ready to fill. Since you're going to be filling them with melted chocolate, it may be easier to double them up for more control (in that case, use 20).
Prepare a double boiler: fill a heavy bottomed saucepan with about 1-inch of water and bring just to a simmer over low heat. In a separate heat-proof bowl, add the chocolate chips. [Note: Be sure this bowl is large enough to sit on top of the water-filled saucepan without the water reaching the bottom). Place the bowl of chocolate over the pan of simmering water and, stirring occasionally, melt the chocolate until it becomes smooth. Once melted, remove from the heat.
Using a spoon, drip some of the melted chocolate into a cupcake liner. Don't add too much chocolate, just enough to make a thin shell. I found it easier to coat the sides by pushing the chocolate into the pleats with the back of the spoon. Don't forget to coat the bottom. Repeat with the rest of the liners. The remaining chocolate will be used later.
Place the chocolate-coated liners into the refrigerator and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Prepare the filling: in a large bowl, combine the peanut butter, salt, confectioners sugar and almond extract. Starting on low speed, beat to combine. Once the sugar has been incorporated, increase the speed and beat for about 30 seconds.
Remove the now hardened shells from the refrigerator and fill each one about half-way with the peanut butter mixture. Gently press down so the peanut butter is flattened.
Cover the peanut butter with the remaining melted chocolate. [Note: If the chocolate has hardened, place it over the pan of simmering water again until it melts.]
Place the covered peanut butter cups back in the refrigerator and chill for about 40 minutes.