i’m no baker. i’ve never been big on baking. there’s something about flour and rolling pins and aprons that never appealed much to me. and also the certainty that i’d always turn fudge into toffee. so i’ve generally always stuck to braai tongs and chillies and massive, manly pepper grinders. but, i DO have a weak spot for reese’s peanut butter cups (which in south africa are stupidly expensive). a big weak spot. and so when i saw a recipe for homemade peanut butter cups on brown eyed baker, well, i just about swooned. and i thought hey, avoid those importation costs, make a peanut butter cup today. and today i tried it. first, a word of encouragement: they’re really quite easy. foolproof even for a non-baker. (actually i messed up my first batch a little, but that’s because i’m more than a fool and i thought i could re-invent how to melt chocolate. i couldn’t.) second, a word of warning: these are so good, and so deceptively rich, that when you go oh i can manage one more mouthful, you soon realise you can’t and you’re suddenly not in the mood to do anything except throw up. this happened to me. and even my 5 year old who loved them so much she did her i-am-in-a-tv-ad-for-food face said dad i shouldn’t have too much of this i think cos it might make me feel sick. be warned.
this recipe is based on brown eyed baker’s recipe, with a few tweaks. i substituted butter for the vegetable shortening because i didn’t have any shortening and also i’d never heard of it. turns out it makes things a little more crumbly, which i didn’t think i’d need. also turns out you can use lard if you’re not a vegetarian, or butter if you don’t have any lard. and you’re not a vegan. then i used about a third of the castor sugar from her recipe because it seemed like there was enough sugar going on in that recipe already, and also because i didn’t have any more in my cupboard. but really, it didn’t need the extra sugar, and when i make them again, i may even cut the sugar down even more. i realised all that castor sugar also thickens the peanut butter mixture, so i added some flour, and it worked really well. then i used chocolate slabs instead of choc-chips. my favourite affordable chocolate here is beacon, and i made 3 batches – for variety (as in the centre pic above: one was pure milk choc, one was milk and white choc mixed, and one was mostly white choc). so here’s the recipe for a single batch:
time: about 1 and a half hours
need: 2 muffin or cupcake-holder baking tray thingies
paper cupcake cups
2 flat baking trays and baking paper
makes: about 2 dozen (or 3 trips to the dentist)
peanut butter – 1 cup (any kind, but preferably NOT the kind that has oil on top when it’s not stirred)
brown sugar – 1/4 cup
butter – 1/2 cup
castor sugar – 1/4 cup
flour – roughly 1/4 cup
chocolate – about 8 slabs of preferred brand (i used beacon milk and ivory cream and mixed them)
in a pan, melt 1/4 cup butter with the brown sugar and peanut butter. when it starts to bubble and the sugar dissolves, take off the heat and slowly stir in the castor sugar and then little by little add the flour and stir. allow to cool for about 10 or 15 mins til the mixture thickens enough to hold a shape. make and arrange small disk shapes with the mixture on the baking paper on the flat baking trays, like fat coins. the diameter should be a little less than the diameter of the paper cups. the thickness could vary – reese’s are pretty thin, i made mine thicker to increase the peanut butter to chocolate taste ratio. and cos it was easier. set aside.
put a paper cup into each muffin/cupcake shape in those baking trays. then melt the chocolate and 1/4 cup butter on low in the microwave, or in a pot over another pot of steaming water. when its liquid, spoon/pour just enough chocolate into the base of each paper cup to line it – between 1 and 3 millimetres maybe. reserve the remaining chocolate – which should be most of it.
put the trays of peanut butter disks, and the paper cups lined with chocolate into the fridge to cool for about 20 mins. then take them out and place a peanut butter disk into each cup on top of the chocolate. then re-melt the remaining chocolate and spoon/pour into each cup until the peanut butter disk is covered. place back in the fridge for another 20 mins.
eat, preferably with a child, and a great deal of restraint.