Christmas

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

October 14, 2013
5 Ratings
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
Ingredients
  • 1 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup 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)
In This Recipe
Directions
  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.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Terri Larson
    Terri Larson
  • Jennifer Antonelli
    Jennifer Antonelli
  • Theresa Barret
    Theresa Barret
  • Marcie Martin
    Marcie Martin
  • Fern
    Fern
Lover of simple food and cocktails served with a single giant ice cube. Raised in the NY Schoharie Valley; currently residing in Burlington, VT. Blogger at reclaimingprovincial.com.

42 Reviews

Mithu December 10, 2020
I made these last week and am planning to make more. I used this recipe as my base recipe but took suggestions from the NYT Cooking recipe for peanut butter cups as well. This was a fantastic recipe!!

My finished product turned out to be a chocolate peanut butter cup flavoured with chili powder (along with the vanilla and salt - I upped the salt a wee bit) and complemented with doctored raspberry jam at the bottom; sprinkled with fleur de sel on top.

From reading both recipes and then reading the reviews/comments, I decided to do some things that led me to complete a product that has produced firm cups that don't leak oily peanut butter and don't need to be refrigerated; just kept in a cool dry tin.

Things I did:

1) I DID NOT skimp on the quality of my chocolate. I bought a large block of bittersweet/dark (but not unsweetened) Callebaut chocolate and large blocks of deep milk chocolate by Callebaut and Valrhona. I believe Lindt couverture would be great for this as well.

2) Though I love Teddie brand natural peanut butter, it does get oily and has to be stirred constantly, which would not make for a successful homemade candy. I did use natural peanut butter, but the Whole Foods freshly ground PB that they sell in clear plastic bulk containers (they are currently NOT allowing customers to grind their own, so employees are grinding it themselves into these containers). I find this PB to be the best to work with when cooking & baking (it's delicious on a spoon too!). They sell freshly-ground natural and honey-roasted versions and also freshly-ground almond butter.

3) I did NOT melt my chocolate in the microwave. I could be wrong (most likely actually), but I think when chocolate is slowly melted in a bowl over gently simmering water, you have more control over its breakdown. The microwave seems to melt it too much very quickly. I took the bowl off the simmering water whilst it still had some lumps that had not melted completely and melted them by stirring off heat. I will might tempering my chocolate next time to see if I get more professional results; but tempering still frightens me a little.

4) I scooped out my PB mixture and rolled them into balls before flattening them and then refrigerated them whilst my chocolate bottoms were setting. I re-melted the remaining chocolate (because it was setting too much) and had it ready when I brought out my chilled PB "patties" to place on the disk in each paper cup. The re-melted chocolate was then used to cover the tops and sides of the candies and allowed to set. ALL of this was done in a dry kitchen that was not more than 19C - 20C (~66F - 68F). I did find that they remained solid also at 21.6C (71F). So, you don't have to freeze inside your own home, though I recommend MAKING them at the cooler temps I mentioned. They can be EATEN at the warmer temps (not too warm!) without becoming a chocolatey mess.

5) I have stored them in a sweets tin and also my covered 9-in square cake tin (I didn't have another sweets tin on hand).

6) I didn't mention this before, but keep tasting your PB mixture as you add flavourings to make sure things are balanced. I could have gone too far with the salt, but luckily, it turned out just right! :O :)

This was a fun but slightly time-consuming project, good to complete whilst watching The Great British Baking Show! :) :)
 
Mithu December 10, 2020
I made these last week and am planning to make more. I used this recipe as my base recipe but took suggestions from the NYT Cooking recipe for peanut butter cups as well. This was a fantastic recipe!!

My finished product turned out to be a chocolate peanut butter cup flavoured with chili powder (along with the vanilla and salt - I upped the salt a wee bit) and complemented with doctored raspberry jam at the bottom; sprinkled with fleur de sel on top.

From reading both recipes and then reading the reviews/comments, I decided to do some things that led me to complete a product that has produced firm cups that don't leak oily peanut butter and don't need to be refrigerated; just kept in a cool dry tin.

Things I did:

1) I DID NOT skimp on the quality of my chocolate. I bought a large block of bittersweet/dark (but not unsweetened) Callebaut chocolate and large blocks of deep milk chocolate by Callebaut and Valrhona. I believe Lindt couverture would be great for this as well.

2) Though I love Teddie brand natural peanut butter, it does get oily and has to be stirred constantly, which would not make for a successful homemade candy. I did use natural peanut butter, but the Whole Foods freshly ground PB that they sell in clear plastic bulk containers (they are currently NOT allowing customers to grind their own, so employees are grinding it themselves into these containers). I find this PB to be the best to work with when cooking & baking (it's delicious on a spoon too!). They sell freshly-ground natural and honey-roasted versions and also freshly-ground almond butter.

3) I did NOT melt my chocolate in the microwave. I could be wrong (most likely actually), but I think when chocolate is slowly melted in a bowl over gently simmering water, you have more control over its breakdown. The microwave seems to melt it too much very quickly. I took the bowl off the simmering water whilst it still had some lumps that had not melted completely and melted them by stirring off heat. I will might tempering my chocolate next time to see if I get more professional results; but tempering still frightens me a little.

4) I scooped out my PB mixture and rolled them into balls before flattening them and then refrigerated them whilst my chocolate bottoms were setting. I re-melted the remaining chocolate (because it was setting too much) and had it ready when I brought out my chilled PB "patties" to place on the disk in each paper cup. The re-melted chocolate was then used to cover the tops and sides of the candies and allowed to set. ALL of this was done in a dry kitchen that was not more than 19C - 20C (~66F - 68F). I did find that they remained solid also at 21.6C (71F). So, you don't have to freeze inside your own home, though I recommend MAKING them at the cooler temps I mentioned. They can be EATEN at the warmer temps (not too warm!) without becoming a chocolatey mess.

5) I have stored them in a sweets tin and also my covered 9-in square cake tin (I didn't have another sweets tin on hand).

6) I didn't mention this before, but keep tasting your PB mixture as you add flavourings to make sure things are balanced. I could have gone too far with the salt, but luckily, it turned out just right! :O :)

This was a fun but slightly time-consuming project, good to complete while watching The Great British Baking Show! :) :)
 
AmyLynam December 6, 2016
How long do these last? Thinking of making for a Christmas hamper... Thanks!
 
Awhearts December 23, 2013
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!
 
Terri L. December 13, 2013
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?
 
EatsMeetsWest May 11, 2014
I usually add approximately 1 cup finely pulsed graham cracker crumbs (using a blender, food-processor or the Honey Maid brand cracker crumbs) to solidify the texture. I've never done it any other way, but I find the mixture to be very easy to handle and eat even at room temperature :)
 
EatsMeetsWest May 11, 2014
*FIXED* Oops, I meant 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs. I use this recipe: http://www.peterandrewryan.com/baking/2009/02/dark-chocolate-peanut-butter-cups/
 
CookingFiend November 5, 2013
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.
 
Gita November 7, 2013
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.
 
Jennifer A. November 4, 2013
Please don't laugh, but where do you get high quality chocolate?
 
ndknights November 4, 2013
These look delicious! How long do you think they last? Refrigerate? Freeze?
 
Rockie November 4, 2013
Anybody have a recipe for Malo cups? Remember malo cups?
 
fred November 4, 2013
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.
 
Theresa B. November 4, 2013
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.
 
Christina November 4, 2013
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! :)
 
Sue November 4, 2013
Has anyone tried using Coconut Oil in place of the butter?
 
Ro G. November 4, 2013
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
 
jrhrn1 November 4, 2013
but what?
 
Marcie M. November 4, 2013
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!!

 
Marcie M. November 4, 2013
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!!
 
Diana November 4, 2013
I could eat some right now
 
Gita November 4, 2013
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! :)
 
amuhlou October 29, 2013
Am I correct in assuming the unsalted butter is supposed to be softened as opposed to melted?
 
Author Comment
Carey N. October 29, 2013
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.)
 
amuhlou October 30, 2013
Good to know, thank you!
 
Fern October 27, 2013
In #3, not sure what "lift and drop the try" means..........am I misreading?
 
Author Comment
Carey N. October 27, 2013
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. :)
 
Nick C. October 28, 2013
Maybe fixing your typo would make it more clear. Just sayin'.
 
Author Comment
Carey N. October 28, 2013
Oh jeez, completely overlooked that missing "a" in "tray" in the question. (Sorry, Fern!) Duly noted and amended. Thanks.
 
Nick C. October 28, 2013
I came her via HuffPost and you had it correct there. Can't wait to try these!
 
Author Comment
Carey N. October 28, 2013
Glad to hear it was right somewhere. :) Thanks, Nick!
 
loveandoranges October 23, 2013
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.
 
loveandoranges October 27, 2013
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.
 
Author Comment
Carey N. October 28, 2013
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!