Friday, February 7, 2014
DIY Peanut Butter and Pretzel Cups
Around this time last year the family picked up and made a 17-hour road trip to Detroit, more or less on a whim. The Professor had already planned on going and faced with the choice of being alone in the dead of winter with my two small children or driving a ridiculous number of miles with my two small children and my husband, I chose the later.....at least we could suffer together.
Detroit was fun, our dear friend Chris lives there and The Professor needed to pick up some art work so.... we did that....then we left....the next day. Let's recap; we drove 17 hours with a 1-year-old and a 4-year-old, spent 1 day and 1 night in Detroit, then we left. You still with me?
On the way back we decided (wisely, I might add) to not check the weather before leaving. We drove for about an hour or two before we ran into a snow storm that had crippled the interstate to a standstill, until it eventually was shut down due to a semi truck laying horizontally across the lanes. We then made another stellar decision which was to drive around the snow storm. Thinking back on this now makes me wonder..... what kind of idiots are we? Who drives around a snow storm? With that in mind, should we really be raising children?
Long story short, we drove aimlessly around Michigan for a good 10 hours, not getting anywhere, until finally it is snowing so hard that the snow was at least 6-inches deep on the interstate and we could barely see our own headlights let alone the taillights of the car in front of us. I think they call this a lake effect. Whatever it's called, it sucked....big time. We finally threw in the towel and found a hotel in Paw Paw, Michigan a town that would be, on a good day, about 2 hours from Detroit.
The only good thing that came from that trip was that a) we didn't die and b) a small bag of incredible, dairy-free chocolate peanut butter cups we found in Detroit, which we hid from the children and stress-ate as we made our way through the lake effect. I've been meaning to recreate them for my darling husband ever since we came back but, oh look, it's been a year and I'm finally getting around to doing it.
I was inspired when I spotted this recipe in the amazing Sarah Copeland's new cookbook Feast and knew I would have to make them for my sweethearts for Valentine's Day. Besides luxurious peanut butter cups this cookbook is loaded with enough deliriously good recipes to last a lifetime. So far I've made the Genmaicha Granola Bars, Spanish Sugar Pies, and Apple-Rye Pancakes. I realize this makes it look like all I eat is dessert and dessert-like breakfast food, but I have other things flagged like the Bottomless Pot of Bibimbap, and the Sweet Potato and Kale Tortilla Soup. So, so, so many good recipes. I cannot recommend this book enough, even if you don't cook but enjoy reading about food, Sarah is such a captivating writer this book is worth it just to read her stories.
DIY Peanut Butter and Pretzel Cups
Sarah says: If you are making ahead, skip the freezer and let the chocolate cups stand in a cool room to set overnight. Don't store in the fridge or freezer, which can cause the chocolate to bloom, or discolor. Store in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 2 days.
I say: I wanted to make smaller cups than the recipe called for so I they would be a good size for the kiddos. The mini cup measurements are my addition, the rest is all Sarah.
Makes 6 large cups or 12 mini cups
Recipe taken with permission from Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland
6 ounces/170 grams bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
9 or so thick sourdough pretzel sticks, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons raspberry or strawberry jelly
1/4 cup/ 60 grams chunky peanut butter
Flaked sea salt such as Maldon
1. Line a 6-cup muffin tin (or 12-cup mini muffin tin) with paper liners, and clear a space just big enough in the freezer for the tin to fit flat.
2. Place the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and set the bowl over a pot of simmering water (be sure the bowl doesn't touch the water).
3. With the heat on low, stir once or twice until melted, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside. Be sure not to let any water droplets get inside the bowl with the chocolate.
4. Spoon 1 tablespoon for big cups or 2 teaspoons for mini cups of melted chocolate into the bottom of each of the cups. Press about 3-5 pieces (depending on size) of the pretzel sticks about halfway into the chocolate and freeze for 5 minutes.
5. Divide the jelly between the centers of each chocolate base, using the gaps between the pretzels to allow the jelly to pool. (Skip this step if you are making them in advance—the jelly will make the pretzels soggy if they sit overnight.)
6. Divide the peanut butter between the cups (about 2 teaspoons each for big cups and 1 teaspoon each for mini cups), scooping and dolloping onto the jelly in a slightly rounded heap. Lightly press down on the mound to flatten slightly.
7. Spoon a scant 1 tablespoon for big or 1 teaspoon for mini of chocolate over the top of each cup, covering the top and most of the peanut butter so that it meets the chocolate base, but leaving just a few gaps for the peanut butter and jelly to peek through.
8. Sprinkle the top with salt before the chocolate sets. Return the chocolate cups to the freezer to set, about 3 minutes. Remove and serve.