Small Batch

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

By • October 18, 2013 • 36 Comments

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It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: Carey Nershi from Reclaiming Provincial shows us how to make peanut butter cups that are reminiscent of childhood, with a grown-up edge.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups on Food52

I am what you might call a recovering junk food addict. One that had an especially strong penchant for candy. And while I’ve managed to get my sweet tooth under control in recent years, I still have quite a weakness for homemade versions of classic treats. Being able to create them without preservatives or strange ingredients makes this a justifiable weakness, I’d dare say.

Peanut Butter Cups on Food52

Peanut butter cups are one of the simplest sweets to make. There’s no need to fuss with tempering chocolate or tentatively hovering over a pan of scary-hot sugar. All you need is a handful of ingredients (most of which you probably already have in your pantry), some mini cupcake wrappers, a stove (or microwave), and a fridge. Dangerously easy, folks.

You can customize your peanut butter cups in a number of ways: use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate; sprinkle the tops with a little sea salt or cayenne; or make them vegan by using dairy-free chocolate, vegan sugar, and coconut oil instead of butter. 

Peanut Butter Cups on Food52

I opted for a combination of dark and milk chocolate here, and chose an unsalted peanut butter so I could flavor them with Sichuan sea salt. The result: one heck of a peanut butter cup. The dark chocolate and the floral Sichuan spice give them a hint of sophistication, and make for an all-around delicious treat.

More: Pick up some sichuan peppercorns in Provisions and you, too, will feel sophisticated.

Peanut Butter Cups on Food52

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Makes around 4 dozen

1 cup of creamy unsalted peanut butter
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt (or more, to taste; I used Sichuan salt)
32 ounces of high-quality chocolate (use milk chocolate if you really want to mimic the classic flavor)

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups on Food52

Mix together peanut butter, butter, sugars, and salt in a bowl. Taste, then add more salt if needed.

Roughly chop chocolate, then melt it in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat on the stove top (or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring in between) until smooth. Transfer half to a heatproof measuring cup. 

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups on Food52

Arrange mini cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet. Pour just enough chocolate in to fill the bottom of the wrapper about 1/8 inch. Gently lift and drop the tray once or twice to flatten out the chocolate, then place in the fridge for 10 minutes.

While the chocolate is chilling, begin shaping heaping teaspoons of peanut butter filling into discs about the diameter of a quarter, and setting them aside on parchment paper. Remove the chilled chocolate from the fridge, then place each peanut butter disc into a cupcake wrapper.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups on Food52

Transfer the remaining chocolate to your heatproof measuring cup. (If it isn’t as warm or pourable as you’d like, reheat it for a moment or two on the stove top, or for 10 to 15 seconds in the microwave.) Pour into cupcake wrappers until peanut butter discs are just covered. Once you’ve covered all of them, gently lift and drop the tray again to even out the chocolate, then add more to the wrappers as needed. 

Sprinkle the tops with a little extra coarse sea salt if you like, then place the tray in the fridge for 30 minutes. Eat them straight from the fridge (if you’re a chilled chocolate guy or gal, like me), or let them soften for about 5 minutes at room temperature.

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Carey Nershi

Tags: small batch, homemade, diy, peanut butter cups, candy, halloween

Comments (36)

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4 months ago Cristina

I get so confused about the tempering chocolate issue. Do you store them in the fridge b/c of not tempering? Or just a preference? How do these fare if stored at room temp?

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6 months ago Gita

I love eating "deconstructed" peanut butter cups: Just take a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter, drop a few semi-sweet chips into it, & voilà! But I'd love to make these. Already bought the chocolate (Callebaut) & am wondering which type of peanut butter works best--I always buy the "natural" type which has to be stirred first, but would this work better w/ one that has a stabilizer? ~thanks!~

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6 months ago Willena Potts

Why use unsalted butter when the recipe includes salt?

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5 months ago Stephie Gylfie

because then it would be far to salty...

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5 months ago Willena Potts

It would not be too salty if you used salted butter, then added less salt- or no salt.
Wonder whether unsalted butter has other properties.

Stringio

4 months ago Bryant Turnage

I think most recipes I've seen use unsalted butter so that you more directly control the amount of salt used. That's especially important in baking.

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6 months ago ks

i feel really silly for asking, but what exactly is sichuan sea salt? i'm trying to find places in toronto, canada that sell it but having no luck! is there a substitute you can recommend in order to get the same kind of flavour? thanks!

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

I get mine from the Season With Spice company: http://www.seasonwithspice.... They do ship to Canada, but the rates might be a bit pricey. Alternatively, you can purchase just the sichuan peppercorns (those would probably be easier to find nearby), grind them with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder, and then mix it with sea salt.

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6 months ago Catherine Williams

What is the brand of dark and milk chocolate I should be using?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

You can use whatever you like, really. (I've seen a number of recipes where people use standard bags of chocolate chips for their peanut butter cups.) Of course the higher the quality of the chocolate the better, but it really all depends on how much you want to spend. I believe you can get bars of Ghirardelli or Lindt chocolate in most grocery stores, and either would work fine. If there happens to be a candy/chocolate shop nearby where you can buy large blocks, then that's even better (and more economical). (I'm lucky enough to live up the road from Lake Champlain Chocolates here in Burlington, which is what I used in this recipe.)

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6 months ago loubaby

These are very similar to those I have made from the blogger browneyedbaker.com....her recipe is excellent and have been making it for years...I will have to try yours and see which one I like better.

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6 months ago beth young

Never thought to make my own peanut butter cups! You can't find them in Italy and I miss them so much! Thanks!

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6 months ago RavensFeast

When the chocolate sets, does it bloom?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

I haven't had an issue with chocolate bloom as long as they're stored in the fridge.

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6 months ago Leilad

I would make it without the sugar, use dates, put the peanut butter and dates thru the processor, no need to use butter. Yum, I like it my way.

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Dates as a natural sweetener is a great idea — thanks, Leilad!

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6 months ago Leilad

I would also use the high percentage organic chocolate. So, no butter, sugar, use dates and it is really a healthy treat (:- ) gotta make them.

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6 months ago Leilad

might need to melt a little butter with the chocolate, we'll see.

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6 months ago Erinshep

How long will these last frozen/refrigerated in order to give as gifts?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

I would store them for up to 2 weeks in the fridge, or up to a month in the freezer.

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6 months ago emcsull

this takes self-sufficiency to great new heights. Thank you so much, I live in Germany and Reese's are very hard to come by and expensive, and peanut butter cups are one of my favorite things.

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

I would regularly send care packages to friends in Germany many many years ago, and the most-requested items were American candies (Reese's and Twizzlers, especially). :)

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6 months ago Bec

I always thought you Americans were crazy with the peanut butter-chocolate thing. But on a recent trip I scoffed a couple of organic PBC cups while in a hotel room in Portland and I was instantly sold. Will be trying these out to convert my mates here in Oz :)

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Yes! So glad we were able to convert you. :)

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6 months ago tonya

Love this! Would love to play around with other nut butters.

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6 months ago Peggy Bonelli

Is there a healthy substitute for the powdered sugar?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

You could probably sub in agave (1/2 cup) or honey (3/4 cup), but this will change the consistency of the filling entirely, since you're swapping in a liquid sweetener for a dry one. To offset this, you could add dry milk to make it a bit more manageable. Chilling it in the fridge before working with it would probably help as well.

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6 months ago Trena

Thank you Carey! Peanut butter cups are my favorite candy. I can't wait to make these as a Halloween gift for myself.

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Woo! A delicious treat-yo-self gift, for sure. :)

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6 months ago Kenzi Wilbur

Kenzi is the Associate Editor of Food52.

Can we all agree that peanut butter cups are the king of candy?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

No arguments here!

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6 months ago Connie

Yes. Yes, we can.

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6 months ago witloof

I just had a VERY naughty thought. Instead of peanut butter, what about homemade Nutella for the filling? With maybe some chopped toasted hazelnuts sprinkled on top before the chocolate sets? Or some candied pecans?

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6 months ago AnnaBell

Oh lawd, you read my mind with the nutella. I'm thinking a thin layer of nutella and a thin layer of marshmallow fluff.

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

I like the way you both think! Yet another perk of homemade candy: making crazy delicious ideas come true. :)

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6 months ago ctgal

be still my heart!! And I thought that nothing could improve peanut butter cups!