Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peanut Butter Cups

I love these peanut butter cups.  I made them last February for R for Valentine's Day.  I wrote the other day about looking for candy for Christmas at the store, but coming up empty.  Even in my compromising mindset I couldn't find anything that would work.  So I am making a few different candies and confections to help satisfy M's and E's sweet teeth on that magical morning.

But back to the peanut butter cups.  I have tweaked the recipe just a bit.  I watch Ina Garten on the Food Network quite a bit, and on her show Barefoot Contessa she occasionally shows how she tests recipes.  Ever since she explained how chocolate is enhanced by a little bit of coffee I have been paying attention to how she pairs them in different recipes.  She says that you do not end up tasting the coffee, but the chocolate tastes better.

Sometimes she uses leftover brewed coffee, sometimes it's instant coffee or espresso granules, and sometimes it's coffee liqueur.  I have Kahlua, so I have used that recently in any chocolate recipe I make.  I just eyeball between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.  I don't know enough about how they make instant coffee crystals to use them confidently, and I don't brew coffee at home.  (The caffeine affects my adrenals and such.)

Oh, and one last thing: after I use up the natural peanut butter in the jars in my fridge I want to make my own peanut butter.  It's very handy to have peanut butter around, so I think it's worth the trouble to soak peanuts in salt water, dehydrate them and then put them through the food processor.  The point of doing all of that is to avoid the enzyme inhibitors present in peanuts and nuts in general.  The soaking process neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors, helping you to not only digest them better but absorb more nutrients from the nuts.

Peanut Butter Cups
peanut butter base:
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, preferably from soaked and dehydrated peanuts
1/4 cup gently melted coconut oil*
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup chopped nuts, preferably soaked/dehydrated/roasted at a low temperature (300), optional**

chocolate topping:
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon coffee liqueur

1. Mix peanut butter and coconut oil together until smooth, using a rubber spatula.  Add honey and vanilla and stir until smooth.  Using a small ice cream scoop, divide among the 24 mini cupcake molds in a mini cupcake pan.  Put into the freezer for 20 minutes or so while you make the chocolate topping.

2. In a glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stir chocolate, honey, vanilla and coffee liqueur with a wooden spoon until almost smooth.  Remove from the pot and set onto a hot pot holder while you continue to stir until completely smooth.

3. Remove mini cupcake pan from freezer and spoon chocolate mixture onto each peanut butter cup, smoothing a little with the back of a spoon.  Place back into the freezer until solid, about 20 minutes or more.

4. Remove with a spoon or butter knife.  They should pop out with a little elbow grease, as long as they are completely solid.  If they mush together at all, put them back into the freezer for a few minutes and try again.  Store in the freezer until you want to eat them.

5. To eat, I like to take a few out and let them rest on a plate for a few minutes to soften.  And, of course, my favorite way to eat them is with a cold glass of whole, raw milk.  Enjoy.

*You can use virgin coconut oil (which will taste like coconut), or expeller-pressed coconut oil (which will have neutral taste).  I prefer the expeller-pressed, but I have tried it both ways and the coconut flavor does work in this recipe.

**(I didn't add these, E can't chew them very well; he choked on a swiped cashew yesterday when I wasn't looking, scary!)


cc said...

Those look delish, and not all that complicated. I grew up making peanut butter cups with my great grandmother, so this might be a nice tradition (albeit healthier) to reinstitute with my kids.

Jacque said...

I really wish you lived closer to me. :) I made some similar stuff last year and really enjoyed guilt-free snacking. so satisfying.