Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cups!

Okay, so I've kept you guys waiting long enough! It is time to share this epic dessert..
I got the idea to make these peanut butter cups when I couldn't decide on which one dessert to make from a list I made of chocolate related desserts for my family. I wanted to make them all equally, and everyone else thought that all of them sounded equally delicious!
Here was the list:
-Salted dark chocolate covered homemade caramels
-Dark chocolate "Almond Joy"s
-Peanut butter cups
-Pretzel & crunchy peanut butter balls covered in dark chocolate

All of them sound delicious, right?!
Well luckily I could narrow down my choices simply because we didn't have some ingredients necessary to make them. I didn't have enough coconut to make the almond joys and we didn't have heavy cream to make the caramel. And then I thought, why don't I just combine some of them into one?
And so the salted dark chocolate peanut butter pretzel cups with caramel was born!
But Carlyn, I thought you said you had no cream to make caramel? Ah, yes, but you see, I had caramel candies that I could melt with some milk to make a gooey caramel layer. And, this way I didn't have to mess with making my own caramel, because you know my previous successes with that..

I was getting rather giddy thinking of this marvelous concoction and set out to make them. They disappeared far too quickly, but that only gave me the excuse to make them again so I can finalize the recipe to share with you guys :D

Okay, okay, enough talking...on to the recipe!!
You will need:
For the base-
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate
12 silicone muffin cups

For the peanut butter filling:
1/4 cup natural or homemade creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup natural or homemade crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup chopped pretzel peices
1 to 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the caramel layer:
3 ounces (by weight) caramel candies
3 tablespoons milk or water

For the top:
2.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
.5 ounce unsweetened chocolate
kosher salt

It seems like a lot of ingredients but its mostly stuff you probably have lying around the house (except for maybe the caramel, which can be substituted for homemade caramel sauce).
The caramel candies I used have a pretty "good" ingredient list compared to other ones I saw in the store..
Yes, yes, there's corn syrup in there but the other brands I saw had ingredient lists 30 miles long and included random additives and hydrogenated oils...yuck!
I got to use the silicone cups my mom gave me which worked wonders in this recipe. I put them in a 9x13 pan for portability.

Okay so on to the process...
First melt 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate and 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.
Place about 2 teaspoons of chocolate into each muffin cup, pushing the chocolate up the sides. You will use all of the chocolate.
Put the pan into the fridge while you make the peanut butter filling.
Mix all the peanut butter filling ingredients together except for the powdered sugar. Start off my adding a tablespoon of powdered sugar and then add half a tablespoon at a time until the peanut butter mixture is dry but not crumbly. You want to be able to stir it but be pretty thick. This all depends on your peanut butter but I'm guessing that around 2 tablespoons will get you there.
a little drier then this and you're golden.
I needed to add a little bit more this time around (the first time I made them I added 1/4 cup powdered sugar and it was too dry). Don't worry about it too much, though, because either way they come out amazing (:

Add a little less than a tablespoon of the peanut butter filling into each cup.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the caramels with milk, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is smooth.
Cool the caramel sauce until its no longer hot (warm to the touch is fine) but not cooled completely. Add about 1/2 tablespoon of sauce to each cup.
Melt remaining chocolate (2.5 ounces bittersweet, .5 ounce unsweetened) in microwave and add a good blob to each cup. Smooth the blob out so that it touches the ridges and seals the innards.
You may not need all of the chocolate.
Sprinkle each cup with kosher salt-
and refrigerate for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened completely.
Now this is were silicone cups come in handy...all you have to do is peel the cups off! No mess,no fuss, and no waste!

The mixture of bittersweet chocolate and a little bit of unsweetened chocolate makes for super dark, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate.
I know you're just dying to see the inside....
The flavor combo reminds me of snickers, but soooo much better. Salty, sweet, smooth, gooey, crunchy, YUMMY!
What else do I have to say to convince you to make these A-S-A-P?! PLEASE do, you will not be disappointing...let me know how it goes!

PS- you may have noticed the colors of the muffin cups changed places almost every other picture...just ignore that :P

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