Valentine’s Treats: How To Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

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The combination of peanut butter and chocolate, for me, are pure joy. I can’t get enough. My blog archives will testify to that! My other half thinks it’s so common. (Wink, wink.) And then he consumes pb & choc in obscene quantities with me. We are huge fans of Homemade Peanut Butter Cups. Don’t get me wrong, I like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups along with the rest of the universe, but there has always been this part of me that wanted to make my own. I’m strange like that. I’d rather spend a whole day making my own than bundling my three kids up and heading to the supermarket for a quick fix.  And if you give this recipe a try, I think you would too!

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My peanut butter filling recipe is a little different than others you’ll find. I love the slightly crumbly, sandy texture of Reese’s. I found that by adding ground rice cereal or even graham crackers, gave me that texture I was looking for. Of course, if you would rather not, you’re welcome to skip that step. And I don’t use peanut butter – I make my own with roasted peanuts. :)

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Use good quality chocolate. I am not a fan of candy coating like almond bark. I don’t think it tastes good. The only benefit I see is that it’s easy to work with. Use the real stuff! Please! It’s so much better! (/rant)

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We like these mini versions a lot, but feel free to make bigger ones using a full-size muffin tin. You’ll need the same papers – parchment muffin liners are the best, if you can find them, because they are 100% non-stick. Also, you’ll have to alter the amount of chocolate and peanut butter placed in each well and you’ll end up with about 8-12 larger peanut butter cups depending on how thick or big you make them.

Okay, now for the recipe! (You can see how-to steps below.)

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients:

For chocolate shell:
1 lb. bittersweet or milk chocolate, roughly chopped
1 tsp. pure vegetable shortening

For filling:
1 1/2 cups dry-roasted peanuts (if you use salted, adjust the amount of salt in the recipe)
1 cup crispy rice cereal (preferably gluten-free) (graham cracker crumbs will work, too, and may even be better)
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 Tbsp. melted butter (you may need a little more if it’s too dry)
salt to taste (about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp.)

Supplies: non-stick mini muffin pan, 2 dozen mini-muffin paper liners, and a small spoon, or a small, new (or really clean) paint brush

Instructions:

For filling:
Place the rice cereal in the bowl of a food processor. Process until it forms fine crumbs. Add the peanuts and process until a paste forms. Add the brown sugar and butter. Keep processing, scraping down the bowl as needed, until a somewhat smooth paste forms. Set aside while you prepare the chocolate.

For chocolate shells:
Line a 24-cup mini muffin tin with mini-baking cup paper liners.

Place the chocolate and vegetable shortening into a microwave safe bowl. Heat on 50% power for a few minutes, stopping the microwave and stirring every 30-45 seconds, until most of the chocolate is melted. Keep stirring to melt any large chunks. Take the temperature with an instant-read thermometer. (Dark chocolate should be between 88-90°F, and milk chocolate should not exceed 88°F.)

To assemble:
Work in batches of six at a time.

Spoon a small amount of the melted chocolate into each well of the mini-muffin pan. Use the small spoon or paint brush to spread the chocolate across the bottom and up the sides of each paper. (Keep checking the temp of the chocolate to make sure it stays in the right temperature range.)

Drop a rounded teaspoonful of peanut butter filling into each painted cup.

Spoon a enough chocolate over the peanut butter filling to cover it. Rap the pan on the counter to release any air bubbles. Smooth the top of the chocolate and give it a little swirl top.

Repeat with remaining cups. (You may have a bit of filling and/or chocolate left. Chef’s snacks!)

Let the peanut butter cups sit for a few hours to set up. Store in a cool, dry place in an airtight container, lining each layer of PB cups with waxed paper.

Yield: 24 mini peanut butter cups.

Note: As I said above, you can also use large cupcake liners and make 8-12 large peanut butter cups.
Disclosure: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.


Photos + Tips: How To Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups:

1. Line the mini-muffin cups with paper liners.

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2. Melt the chocolate and shortening in the microwave on 50% power. Stir to melt any chunks. Take the temperature. It should be no more than 88-90 degrees F. for dark, and 86-88 degrees for milk. (Sources vary on the temp for milk chocolate…)

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3. Spoon a bit of the chocolate into each paper-lined well.

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4. Use a clean paint brush to cover the bottom and sides of each paper liner.

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5. Drop a ball of peanut butter filling into each well.

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6. Spoon a bit of melted chocolate on top of each peanut butter ball. Lightly spread to cover the top and sides of the ball.

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7. Rap the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.

8. Work in batches. I did six at a time. And I did have to rewarm the chocolate a few times.

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Don’t let it get too hot! Look what can happen–

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See those ugly streaks? That’s called bloom. That’s because at some point the chocolate was a little too hot and broke temper. We call those “chef’s snacks.”

9. Let the PB cups sit for a few hours to set.

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10. Enjoy.

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32 Comments

  1. Oooh- I’m going to have to run out and get the supplies to make these. I FINALLY have a Valentine’s gift for my husband the peanut butter fanatic! Thank you!

  2. I don’t like chocolate or peanut butter on it’s won but put ’em togther & something WONDERFUL, magical even happens! Thanks for the tutorial.

    Btw, I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to add you to my blogroll. THX!

    I’ve been super busy “helping” the twins with their projects but will get back to your email this weekend!
    ~ingrid

  3. This came up on StumbleUpon and I had to make them that night. I used some bittersweet chocolate and graham crackers and also added powdered sugar to the mix, to accomodate the bittersweet chocolate. Needless to say, they turned out amazingly great. Thanks for an awesome recipe!

  4. I just found this recipe–my friend’s masters thesis defense is tomorrow and PB cups are her favorite. Thanks for the easy-to-follow directions and pictures…I’m trying the rice krispie filling & a graham cracker one, with milk & dark chocolates. We’ll see which combination gets the best reviews!

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