One of life’s great pleasures is the pairing of chocolate and peanut butter, as evidenced by the popularity of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
If only they were healthier than they are. But let’s not get into all of that. Suffice it to say, you’ll do yourself a big favour by making your own and as far as I’m concerned, you’ll end up with something SO much better than the bought stuff!
You can go down the easy, but less healthy, route of using ready-made commercial chocolate and peanut butter. Or, you can combine your own home-made chocolate, along with some home-made nut butter or natural peanut butter, for a more wholesome alternative. And, that’s what I’ve done here. I made my own milk chocolate using the same recipe I used for my Milk & Nut Chocolates. And I paired it with some delicious, ultra healthy Mother Earth peanut butter.
I used silicon chocolate moulds (though you can use small paper cups placed in mini muffin tins which will give you flatter chocolates resembling Reese’s peanut butter cups) and made two separate batches – one where I layered the peanut butter and chocolate (see photo above) and one where I encased the peanut butter within the chocolate (see photo below).
The layered batch, while kind of cool looking, was less successful as, once out of the freezer, the natural peanut butter (which doesn’t contain a stabilizer) softened markedly and it ended up being a bit messy to eat. The other batch worked a treat and, with the peanut butter nicely contained inside the chocolate casing, it also meant that the chocolates could be served at room temperature rather than chilled.
I was thrilled (as was my family) with the result – the silicon moulds make the chocolates shiny and professional looking, and the taste was sensational – the perfect combination of sweet and salty. And SO quick and easy to make! In fact, so quick and easy it’s going to prove difficult not to make these on a regular basis! Enjoy!
- 75g (2.6 oz) cacao butter
- 75g (2.6 oz) icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar), sifted (or you can use about 2-3 tablespoons honey)*
- 25g (0.88 oz) milk powder
- 30g (1.0 oz) raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- Optional: Half teaspoon of pure vanilla bean paste (without added alcohol)
- Pinch of salt
- Approx. 6 tablespoons smooth peanut butter**
- Place a Pyrex or metal bowl on top of a saucepan that has a small amount of water in it. Bring the water to a slow simmer over a moderate heat then turn the heat down to low.
- Grate or finely slice the cacao butter and add to the bowl. The cacao butter will start to melt straight away – use a whisk to stir it around as it melts.
- Once the cacao butter has melted, add the sifted icing sugar (or honey) a little at a time and stir well until the sugar is fully incorporated.
- Now add the milk powder and stir well. Then add the cacao powder (or cocoa) and stir well once again. Finally add the vanilla bean paste (if using) and the salt. Stir until well combined.
- Turn the heat off, but keep the chocolate over the saucepan to keep it warm while you layer the chocolate.
- Using a small teaspoon, add a small amount of chocolate mixture into chocolate moulds, tap the moulds to level out the chocolate if needed, then put into the freezer to harden (it only takes about 10-15 minutes).
- Take out the hardened chocolate and, using a small teaspoon, add small amounts of peanut butter over top, keeping it centred as much as possible. Place in the freezer to firm up for another 10-15 minutes.
- Take out of the freezer and spoon more chocolate over top of the peanut butter to fill the mould cavity, tapping lightly to level the chocolate if needed. Place in the freezer to harden.
- Take out of the freezer, allow to come to room temperature, and serve. Store extras in fridge or freezer to keep firm and shiny.
**If using commercial peanut butter, it will likely be thick, sweet and salty enough to add as is. However, if using a natural or home-made peanut butter, it may be low in salt and sugar, and a bit runny. If that's the case, you might want to add a little icing sugar to thicken and sweeten it, and/or a little extra salt if it needs it. For 6 tablespoons of peanut butter, try 1/2 tablespoon icing sugar and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Food Photography Info: Canon 550D (EOS Rebel T2i); Sigma 30mm 1.4 DC ‘Art’ lens / Natural lighting