I love chocolate, especially dark chocolate. I don’t buy it too often because of the price, but my absolute favorite is Ghirardelli’s Twilight Delight 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate. Another favorite candy of mine are Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. So I decided to combine the two and make my own Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
Opened in 1852, Ghirardelli is the second oldest chocolate company in America. It actually started as an independent chocolatier by Dominco Ghirardelli first in Peru and later in San Francisco. It was eventually sold to Rice-a-Roni, who was later bought by Quaker Oats. In 1998 it changed hands again to become a subsidiary of Swiss Lindt. It’s kind of funny. I’m not a big fan of Lindt chocolates, but Ghirardelli is a subsidiary of them.
I absolutely love their flavor mixes. Sea Salt Escape is simply incredible. But I always find my self drawn back to the rich, bittersweet flavor of Twilight Delight. The flavor reminds me a bit of coffee. They go even darker than 72% with Midnight Reverie at 80% Cacao, but that one to me is just a little too bitter.
And Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are simply an institution. They are my mother’s favorite candy of all and they were always around the house. She’s actually very peculiar and only eats the cups from the regular two pack. Mini’s, Big Cups, and even king size have different ratios of chocolate to peanut butter. Me, I’m not so picky. I love them all. I’m just not a fan of the Russel Stover‘s version. The peanut butter just doesn’t taste right to me. It’s not as sweet as Reese’s peanut butter or even the peanut butter I buy in the store.
To be honest, I’ve wanted to make my own peanut butter cups for a long time. The two things that held me back were not really having a clue how to make the cup by hand and being a little intimidated by the idea of melting chocolate.
For the first issue, I tried a bit of a cheat of making a relatively flat peanut butter cup. Basically, this is more of a peanut butter sandwich with dark chocolate as the “bread.” This definitely counts as a king size chocolate, with 2 servings of dark chocolate per “cup.” As for melting chocolate, read more below.
Melting Chocolate for peanut butter cups or other uses
I’d always heard about how you should never melt chocolate over direct heat. Instead, you should use indirect heat from a double boiler. What is a double boiler? I have enough gadgets already; how much is this one going to cost me?
Actually a double boiler is very simple to construct. I already had everything I needed. A double boiler consists of:
- a small pot
- a bowl with a lip
- Simply fill the pot half way with water, or enough water that the bowl will be sitting in it. The lip is in case the water level gets too low and to prevent splashing. But the pot on the stove and put over low heat. You want hot water but not boiling, despite the name. But the bowl in the pot.
- Break the chocolate into small pieces. The smaller the better. I broke my bar of chocolate into 1″ squares. If I had gone smaller, it would have melted even faster. Try to make the pieces as uniform as possible to they all melt at roughly the same rate. If the pieces are different sizes, smaller pieces could be completely melted and scorched before the larges pieces are completely melted.
- Using a rubber spatula, keep stirring the chocolate until completely melted. It will take about 5 minutes. Once completely melted remove from heat.
For a video, the good folks at Ghirardelli have you covered:
- 1 bar Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate
- ¼ c. peanut butter
- 2 sheets wax paper
- 2 small plates, For best results, use a plate with sloped edges.
- Place a sheet of wax paper over each plate.
- Chop the chocolate into small, uniform pieces and melt using the method explained above.
- Pour ¼ of the melted chocolate onto each piece of wax paper conforming roughly to the outline of the plate beneath.
- Spoon half of the peanut butter into an even layer over the chocolate on each plate.
- Poor remaining chocolate over peanut butter. Again half on each plate.
- Place in freezer for 30 minutes to set.
It doesn’t look the most professional, but it does get the job done. As an alternative, you could try pouring small amounts of chocolate into cupcake wrappers in a muffin tin and using a brush to baste the chocolate up the sides. I’ll have to try that next time.