Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

By • October 14, 2013 • 37 Comments


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Author Notes: 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. Make them vegan by choosing dairy free chocolate and vegan sugar, and swapping out the butter for coconut oil. There are lots of possibilities. 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 spice of the Sichuan give them a hint of sophistication, and make for an all-around delicious treat.Carey Nershi

Makes around 4 dozen

  • 1 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (or more, to taste; I used Sichuan salt)
  • 32 ounces high-quality chocolate (use milk chocolate if you'd like to truly mimic the classic flavor)
  1. Mix together peanut butter, butter, sugars, and salt in a bowl. Taste, then add more salt if needed.
  2. 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.
  3. Arrange mini cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet. Pour just enough chocolate in to fill the bottom of the wrapper about 1/8 of an inch. Gently lift and drop the tray once or twice to flatten out the chocolate, then place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  4. 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.
  5. Transfer the remaining chocolate to your heatproof measuring cup. (If it isn’t as warm/pourable as you’d like, reheat it for a moment or two on the stove top, or for 10–15 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.
  6. 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 gal/guy, like me), or let them soften up for about 5 minutes at room temperature.

Comments (37) Questions (1)

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4 months ago Awhearts

Love these. Made them for Christmas presents and they are great. A few notes from my experience: use a spoon to fill the bottom of the cups. Pouring was hard to aim and get a small amount in the bottom--but maybe that's just me. Definitely make the balls flatter or they are too tall. And wait about five minutes for sprinkling the tops. These were a hit, even the cayenne ones. So good!

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4 months ago Terri Larson

So delicious! I made these last night using coconut oil instead of the butter! The peanut butter mix was a bit runny, so i placed the tray of peanut butter "discs" in the freezer to keep them more solid until I was able to place them on top of the bottom layer of chocolate. I think the peanut butter mix is too runny in general; either we have to eat the cups right out of the fridge (and the chocolate is a bit hard) or we take them out and let them sit for a few minutes but then the peanut butter center gets messy when you bite into the cup. Did anyone else have this problem? is there a way to keep the peanut butter mixture a bit more solid with the addition of some emulsifier or by decreasing the amount of one of the ingredients?

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5 months ago CookingFiend

In general, any chocolate made in America (save perhaps Sharfen-Berger) is generally a bad choice. El Rey or Callebaut are very good general-purpose chocolates (will work with almost anything), I'd avoid Valrhona (too expensive and cloying), and Trader Joe's "Pound-Plus" packages work nicely (and well under $5 a pound and they do milk and dark blocks). Anything that comes in a "convenient" (small) size or is wrapped in foil is usually horrid (I'm looking at you, Hershey). Good chocolate for this stuff generally is sold in large 1-2 kilos bricks, chunks are broken off to be sold by (smaller) weight.

My question: WHAT SIZE mini-cupcake wrappers does your recipe require?! 1"? 1.25"? 1.5"? There's some size variations.

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5 months ago Gita

Surfas Culinary District in West L.A. (restaurant supply & gourmet food store) has Callebaut in bulk. I bought 2 chunks of the semi-sweet @ about 1 lb. each--totaled around $12 + change. Also got Wilton Baking Cups @ 1.25" in diam. which worked really well. Made 48--probably could have made 54. Used all the PB filling (put in a little more than called for, I think) & had leftover chocolate.

Stringio

5 months ago Jennifer Antonelli

Please don't laugh, but where do you get high quality chocolate?

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5 months ago ndknights

These look delicious! How long do you think they last? Refrigerate? Freeze?

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5 months ago Rockie

Anybody have a recipe for Malo cups? Remember malo cups?

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5 months ago fred

Yum, yum, yum!!! I'll be checking my cabinets for the ingredients today and adding what I don't have to this weeks grocery list. I look forward to the weekend and having fun with my grandkids as we make up a batch.

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5 months ago Theresa Barret

I can't have chocolate because of the caffeine in it but I'm going to try this recipe using carob instead. Thanks for putting it up.

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5 months ago Christina

Thank you for this yummy recipe! I can't wait to try it, chocolate is my weakness, my sweetheart husband brings home chocolate when he senses I'm having a rough day! IMO Chocolate makes everything better! :)

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5 months ago Sue

Has anyone tried using Coconut Oil in place of the butter?

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5 months ago Ro Girard

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 but

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5 months ago jrhrn1

but what?

Stringio

5 months ago Marcie Martin

Learn to read Amuhlou....."Lift and gently drop the TRAY!!" Omg!! Someone dissing someone else and they don't know how to spell!! GREAT Recipe!! Super for Thanksgiving Idea!! Thank You!! LOL!!

Stringio

5 months ago Marcie Martin

Learn to read Amuhlou....."Lift and gently drop the TRAY!!" Omg!! Someone didding someone else and they don't know how to spell!! GREAT Recipe!! Super for Thanksgiving Idea!! Thank You!!

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5 months ago Diana

I could eat some right now

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5 months ago Gita

Just made these last night & they're yummy! Used dark chocolate & natural peanut butter (a crunchy one), which was indeed too goopy--couldn't shape into discs, so made "glops" instead. Refrigerated the PB for a bit to make it easier to handle, but it was still pretty messy. Am keeping them in the fridge 'cause I prefer cold chocolate, & I don't want them to disintegrate in the heat. Wound up w/ leftover chocolate which I spooned onto wax paper & refrigerated. Am eating it now like crackers, spread w/ PB! :)

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6 months ago amuhlou

Am I correct in assuming the unsalted butter is supposed to be softened as opposed to melted?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

To be honest, I've had either work for me. Softened is ideal, but I've melted the butter instead when I've been in a bit of a time crunch, and it has worked out just fine. (If you do use melted butter and it seems a little too liquidy, just pop it in the fridge for a bit while you're filling the bottoms of the cups with chocolate.)

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6 months ago amuhlou

Good to know, thank you!

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6 months ago Fern

In #3, not sure what "lift and drop the try" means..........am I misreading?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Hehe, it's kind of a weird instruction, but it really is exactly that: Lift the whole tray up an inch or two, then drop it. This helps the chocolate settle in the cups. :)

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6 months ago Nick Cobb

Maybe fixing your typo would make it more clear. Just sayin'.

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Oh jeez, completely overlooked that missing "a" in "tray" in the question. (Sorry, Fern!) Duly noted and amended. Thanks.

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6 months ago Nick Cobb

I came her via HuffPost and you had it correct there. Can't wait to try these!

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Glad to hear it was right somewhere. :) Thanks, Nick!

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6 months ago loveandoranges

I made these and they were delicious.

Some notes: because I didn't want to hassle with tempering the chocolate and I wanted it to remain pliant a little longer, I added a tablespoon of coconut oil to the chocolate. This turned out to be too much -- the chocolate softens very quickly in the hand.

I also used a natural peanut butter, and the amount of peanut oil was too much -- my peanut butter mixture ended up quite a bit goopier than I wanted. I chilled it, which made it much easier, but it was still more fussy than I wanted.

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6 months ago loveandoranges

Updated to say: I made the mistake of leaving these out for 24 hours -- I took them to work and left them at my desk overnight. The next day, the texture had changed completely. The chocolate had lost all temper (such as there was), and had become completely grainy and fudge-like. I think what happened is that the chocolate absorbed the additional oil from the peanut butter mixture, which is what caused its consistency to change.

Given my experience, I might do two things -- 1, use a peanut butter that has already been emulsified (like Skippy), and 2, truly temper the chocolate so that you get a crisp snap to the chocolate and it creates a more impermeable barrier for the peanut butter mixture.

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Thanks for following up again. (And my apologies, I completely missed responding to your original comment!) I actually didn't temper the chocolate for these and found it worked out quite well. I kept them in the fridge for about 2 weeks and didn't experience any texture or blooming issues. I also used a natural peanut butter, but it's true — the consistency of those natural peanut butters can vary, and be tricky to work with in a recipe like this if they're on the rather oily side. If you do give them a try again, let me know how it works out!

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6 months ago JanetRoss

Do these freeze well? If so, is it better to make them with milk chocolate?

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

They freeze quite well, whether dark chocolate or milk chocolate. :)

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6 months ago txc84

This is fantastic. I made this even easier (and saved a dish) by microwaving the chocolate directly in the glass measuring cup!

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6 months ago fraichefoods

32 oz seems like a lot of chocolate! But I will have to try these!

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6 months ago Carey Nershi

Oh yes, it's an impressive amount of chocolate. :) I, admittedly, like my peanut butter cups with a higher chocolate-to-peanut butter ratio than the Reese's version, so you could probably dial it back slightly if you like.