Dudes and dudettes – how could I be so silly? How could I have missed this easy, downright fun, and delicious DIY? What have I been doing with my life that is not making mini peanut butter cups by the dozen?
These treats also come just in time for Halloween which seems to be hanging out right around the corner and ready to say hello (hi there, Halloween!). I have found in my official research that Halloween is one of those special holidays that people either love or loathe. Personally, I enjoy Halloween if I get to a) consume at least one or more fun-sized butterfinger candy bars and/or b) wear a costume that cost less than $8 dollars and no more than 30 minutes of my time planning.
For references sake some past costumes have included: NYC Metrocard (which was an awesome and horribly realistic Metrocard tourist t-shirt and a crown of expired Metrocards which I collected from my co-workers after a few too many and what I’m sure were annoying non-work related office emails), dry cleaning (which was a dry cleaning bag over a fancy dress; this costume doubled as a poncho which was great because that year it rained), an autumnal tree (where I safety-pinned fake orange and red leaves from a garland I bought at Rite-Aid en route to a party onto a green dress), and my personal favorite – the year I was a s’mores and fashioned a get-up out of white trash bags and cardboard and wore it like a double-sided sign.
I have no ideas yet for the celebration that is quickly approaching, but given my past way of going about things I have practically years of time to plan and decided to focus my energy on making homemade candy instead.
Well, mostly I came across a package of mini skull and crossbones cupcake liners and wanted to put them to a use other than tiny cupcakes. Nothing says I’m a bad-ass like a few skull-patterned mini paper cups.
Toasted peanuts are food-processed with honey, vegetable oil and a few other things you probably have in the pantry right now and then shaped into centers. Melt some chocolate, put a little into the bottom of each liner, add peanut center and top with chocolate.
That is it. Now you have no excuses to not try your hand at candy-making this year.
These take about an afternoon to whip up which leaves you plenty of time to brainstorm and get both your homemade costumed-self and homemade mini chocolate peanut butter cup treats to the party this Halloween.
Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Makes about 2 dozen mini cups
1 1/3 cups (155 grams) raw blanched peanuts
2 tablespoons (20 grams) powdered sugar
1 tablespoon (15 ml) maple syrup
2 teaspoons (5 ml) honey or agave nectar
1 teaspoon (2.5 ml) vegetable oil
1 teaspoon (2.5 ml) vanilla
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
1-2 teaspoons water, more as needed
2 cups (about 340 grams or 12 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
flaky salt for sprinkling, optional
Toast the peanuts in a dry skillet set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until they are lightly browned and toasty. Turn off the heat and let them cool. While you wait, line a mini cupcake tin with 24 paper liners. Set the pan aside.
Pulse together toasted peanuts, powdered sugar, maple syrup, honey (or agave), oil, vanilla and salt in the bowl of a food processor until smooth, stopping several times to scrape down the bowl as needed. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Don’t worry – it will look a little crumbly.
Slowly begin to melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water until smooth and glossy. When it has melted, remove it from the heat and set aside.
Test to see if the peanut mixture will hold together by rolling a teaspoon-sized amount into a ball. If it crumbles, stir in 1 teaspoon of water and test again. Continue adding water, a teaspoon at a time, until a ball can be easily rolled together and holds its shape. I used 2 teaspoons of water. Working with a generous teaspoon at a time, roll the filling into balls and flatten each one slightly. You want the peanut butter centers to fit into the liner without touching the sides of the cup (that extra space is going to get filled with chocolate).
Spoon about a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of each cup then use an offset spatula (or knife) to spread the chocolate about halfway up the sides of the liners. Gently press the peanut butter centers into the chocolate but be careful not to press them all the way to the bottom of the cup.
Cover each center with another teaspoon of chocolate and use the offset spatula to smooth the top. Shaking the pan with a gentle hand also works well. Sprinkle each peanut butter cup with a pinch of flaky salt if using.
Let the cups stand undisturbed for about four hours or until the chocolate has set. Store for up to two weeks at room temperature in an airtight container. Devour.