Chocolate making is a tedious form of art…
I say tedious because there are a lot of little details that need to be considered through the process, and I say work of art because… well… just look at them! Peanut butter + chocolate has always been the most perfect pairing… and Reese’s are delicious… but what if you could make them better at home?! I say yes!!!!
I’ve conducted a few rules in chocolate making to help you out while making these Peanut Butter Cups and to make this process that much more enjoyable!
Rule number 1:
You’re only as good as your ingredients.
It’s the same as the saying, “You’re only as good as the worst player on your team.” This is basically pointing out that teamwork is the key here and if one player stinks, then the whole team stinks. Also that it’s the players responsibility as a unit instead of each person playing for themselves. The same applies here! If you’re using crappy chocolate… nothing else is going to matter, ie. the delicious filling, the expensive vanilla bean you bought, the sea salt from Austria… Use good quality ingredients and you can expect a delicious outcome!
Rule number 2:
Temper your chocolate… please.
If the bag says, for whatever reason, that tempering is not needed, buy different chocolate because that’s not the real deal. Whatever the manufacturer has added to the chocolate so that you don’t have to temper it, only diminishes the quality of the final product.
Rule number 3:
Watch out for water.
Do not let any water get into your chocolate. Not even one drop! It will ruin this whole process and make everything that much more difficult. I know we will be melting the chocolate over a water bath, and then tempering it yet in another ice bath and keeping the water separated from the chocolate may be a difficult challenge, but just be careful… extra careful.
Rule number 4:
Set up your station!
Prepare beforehand because once the chocolate is tempered, you need to work fast. Instead of running around your kitchen trying to find the spatula, baking paper, pallet, or anything else your might need, think of what you could possibly need through the whole process and set it aside beforehand. It helps… a lot!
Rule number 5:
Yes, tempering can be stressful… but it’s all worth it in the end when you can indulge in the final product! The more you do it, the better you get and the more you can find your own tips and tricks. Learning by doing! Plus, if you mess up… the best part about chocolate is that it can always be placed back over the water bath to melt again. The only thing that will totally ruin chocolate is burning it, so if it doesn’t work out the first time, throw it back in the bowl and start over!
- 200 g dark chocolate (real chocolate, not chips)
- 115 g peanut butter
- 15 g butter, softened
- pinch of salt
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
- 40 g powdered sugar, sifted
- TO TEMPER THE CHOCOLATE: Start by melting the chocolate over a water bath on the stove in a metal or glass bowl.
- Once melted, remove from heat and place in an ice bath. Remove from the ice bath after a few minutes and begin stirring the chocolate to mix in the chocolate that has begun to harden on the sides of the bowl.
- Continue this process until you have reached the desired temperature.
- The optimal temperature is 31 Celsius or 88-89 Fahrenheit.
- Once reached, place back over the hot water bath for about 15 seconds.
- Continue to stir the chocolate and make a test by sticking the point of a spoon into the tempered chocolate. Wait a few minutes to see if it begins to harden. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Please test your chocolate before hand to make sure it is tempered correctly. If you begin to fill your cups and find out later that something wasn't done correctly (because of the spots on the chocolate) then you will have to start the whole process over. This way, you know for certain your chocolate has been tempered correctly.
- Once your test checks out, pour the chocolate into the cups, filling each one to the top. Tap the form on the table vigorously to remove any and all air bubbles.
- Turn the form upside down over the chocolate bowl and let the excess chocolate run out.
- Once the chocolate has slowly started to harden, flip the form back over and with a pallet, scrape the top of the form to remove the excess chocolate.
- Place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to let the chocolate harden completely to be removed from the form.
- When the chocolate is set, tap the form on the table with one good hard bang. Flip the form upside down and tap the form again, once, on the table and let the cups fall from their form.
- If everything was done correctly, they should all release from their form with maybe a few stragglers.
- FOR THE FILLING: To make the filling, stir the peanut butter, butter, salt, vanilla and powdered sugar together in a bowl until well combined.
- Transfer to a piping bag with a star tip and pipe the filling into the chocolate cups.
- Finished! And now, ENJOY!