I have a long history of dabbling in “healthy” diets. Vegan, vegetarian, macrobiotic, grain-free, raw — I’ve done them all for varying lengths of time. When I discovered I was pregnant last year (auspiciously, my little man emerged from “the great beyond” on Valentine’s Day!), I just knew I was going to be the healthiest eating mama on the block (well, I live down a dirt road in a forest, so the healthiest mama in my forest!). I planned on gobbling up dark, leafy greens, consuming lots of walnuts and salmon (for neurological development in the wee one), and shunning alcohol and caffeine. For the most part, that all happened, although my midwife told me that the occasional cappuccino would be just fine. Along the way, though, some cravings popped up that surprised me. For starters, I resumed eating poultry after a 14-year hiatus. Second, I craved Coca-Colas like no one’s business, allowing myself the occasional bottle (besides, it was the hottest summer in 50 years). Last, I wanted peanut-butter cups.
That final craving actually occurred after Huxley was born. As this past Halloween crept closer, the drumbeat or siren song or whatever you want to call it for chocolate-covered peanut-butter cups started coming on something fierce. I’ve long learned that, as far as my food cravings go, the best thing to do is just answer them and honor them, and then allow them to move on (or stay, as has been the case with poultry and now, pastured beef). And so, on Halloween, my loving spouse festooned me with several varieties of peanut-butter cups. They were delicious. They were satisfying. They were polished off in no time. And sometimes, just sometimes, I miss them. Like for Valentine’s Day.
In the spirit of honoring that craving and honoring ourselves by listening to our cravings, today’s Small Measures offers up a recipe for making your own chocolate-covered peanut-butter cups (and avoiding the preservatives and additives used in commercially prepared offerings in the process). Had I known when the craving first struck just how easy it is to make these scrumptious morsels, I’d have whipped up a batch then and there (well, maybe not — the baby was only 10 days old then . . . I digress). Using a mere four ingredients, these treats would make an inexpensive yet decadent gift for your loved ones, fellow cubicle-mates or simply yourself. — Ashley
CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!
Chocolate-Covered Peanut-Butter Cups
Yields 12 cups
- 3 cups chocolate*
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1/4 cup graham crackers, crushed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
*I used bittersweet chocolate chips; feel free to use whatever type of chocolate you like — semi-sweet, milk chocolate or bittersweet. Bars and chips work equally well here, too.
1. Line a muffin pan with 12 paper liners. Set aside.
2. Melt 1 1/2 cups of the chocolate in a double boiler. Alternately, you could do this using a microwave, melting the chocolate in short bursts. Remove the bowl of melted chocolate from the stove and turn off the heat.
3. Using the back of a spoon or a pastry brush, paint a layer of melted chocolate onto the bottoms and sides of the paper liners. Don’t skimp on chocolate here; coat the liners generously. Set the bowl aside with any remaining melted chocolate left in it.
4. Put the muffin pan in the refrigerator for 20 minutes while you make the peanut-butter filling.
5. In a mixing bowl, combine the peanut butter, crushed graham crackers, powdered sugar and salt. Stir with a spoon until well combined.
6. Return the bowl used to melt the chocolate to the top of the double boiler. Turn the heat to medium-high. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups of chocolate and melt.
7. Meanwhile, divide peanut-butter mixture into 12 even amounts. (I used a cutting board while doing this to have a surface to rest the mounds on.)
8. Remove the muffin pan from the refrigerator. Put one mound into each paper liner. Tap down each mound with your fingertips to “nest” it into the chocolate bottom.
9. By now, the chocolate added to the double boiler should all be melted. Using a spoon, dollop the top of each peanut butter mixture mound with a generous portion of chocolate.
10. Use the back of a teaspoon to smooth out the tops (alternately, use the spoon to make a swirl atop each cup).
11. Place the muffin pan in the refrigerator. Within one hour, your cups should be set, depending how cold your fridge runs.
12. Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Consume with gusto, or exercise extreme restraint and gift to others!
When making these or any chocolate desserts, I like to use fair-trade labeled chocolate. Fair-trade is a social movement and system of exchange that considers all aspects of a commodity’s production, including its producers, consumers, communities and environment. Fair-trade organizations and businesses promote practices such as a living wage for employees, safe working conditions, a fair exchange rate for the goods produced and consideration of local communities and environments. In particular, fair-trade focuses on exports from so-called “developing nations” to those in “developed” countries and involves commodities such as handicrafts, coffee, chocolate, bananas, sugar, tea and wine. To learn more about fair-trade practices, check out Green America. Some of my favorite fair-trade chocolate companies include
What about you? Got any chocolate cravings you plan to indulge this holiday weekend? Beloved chocolate brands? DIY delicacies? I’d love to hear about them. Otherwise, I’ve got a craving to acknowledge . . .