Sometimes you don't need to break open a beer when you start baking because sometimes you are already a bit tipsy when you come home, you know? You walk through the door after a work happy hour and you say to your wife, "I think we need some coconut peanut butter cups right now, don't you?" And then your cat is like, "I'm helping." You can't say no to Riley, so she is co-blogger of this week's Baking & Beer: Coconut Peanut Butter Cup Edition.
Ok, seriously, the greatest thing about coconut peanut butter cups (and peanut butter cups in general) is that they take a total of 30 minutes to make a big batch of fresh, homemade coconut-chocolate-peanut butter magic. Nothing could be easier. You can even make them when you are drunk.
Here is what you need:
About a half cup of coconut peanut butter
About a cup of powdered sugar
About a cup of chocolate to melt
I found coconut peanut butter at the grocery store near my house, but I live in a weird hippie neighborhood, so you might have to venture to a health/organic food store to find some of this. Alternatively, you can probably mix some coconut oil in your plain peanut butter for the same effect, but I have not tried this. You can also use any other crazy kind of peanut butter you find. I encourage you embrace your wild, drunken side and experiment with weird, exciting peaunut butter.
1.) Mix the powdered sugar with the peanut butter. Go ahead and use your hands.
I completely eye-balled the sugar-peanut butter ratio, and I trust that you can, too. Make sure there is about twice as much sugar than peanut butter.
Mix mix mix.
When you are done mixing, your peanut butter mixture should feel moist and moldable like clay and look like this:
Good job! Set your peanut butter aside and turn your focus to the chocolate.
2.) This is where we get to play with science. To make our coconut peanut butter cups shiny and beautiful, we need to temper the chocolate.
Tempering chocolate is not hard and it seems tedious and unnecessary, but it is INDISPENSABLE! Don't skip it. I'm just going to cut and paste from Epicurious here because they explain so well why it is important:
"Tempered chocolate has a shiny, flawless appearance. It feels firm and breaks off with a snap when you bite into it and it melts smoothly in your mouth, allowing you to fully enjoy the flavor. Slowly heating and cooling melted chocolate while stirring puts it into temper. If chocolate is not tempered properly, the cocoa butter crystallization is uncontrolled and uneven, which results in an unattractive chocolate that is dull or has white streaks running through it. Untempered chocolate may feel rough or tacky and have a cakey, almost chewy texture. And it is more susceptible to heat and humidity, melting more easily and spoiling more quickly."
Don't mess around. Temper your chocolate.
If you follow the Epicurious link, you will see that you need a double boiler/bain marie to temper chocolate. I say, "meh," to that. If you melt your chocolate over low heat and stir continuously, you can do it right over the flame.
a.) Melt chocolate until it reaches 120 degrees for dark chocolate (105 for milk chocolate). Stir continuously as it melts.
I did not use my thermometer to check the chocolate's temperature, I just eyeballed it because I am a maniac. Maybe you are, too.
b.) After the chocolate reaches the desired temperature, take it off the heat and continue to stir until it cools to 82 degrees. Here again... I just eyeballed it.
c.) Once the chocolate cools to 82 degrees, put it back on the burner (or back on the double boiler if you are fancy.). Reheat the chocolate to 90 degrees for dark chocolate (or 85 for milk chocolate).
BAM! Tempered! You did it!
Once the chocolate is tempered, it must be used before it cools and sets. If it only cools to about 84°F and is still fairly liquid, you can just reheat it so that it is completely liquid again. If it has completely cooled and solidified, it should be re-tempered. Sorry.
3.) Get your mold!
I used this silicon demi-sphere mold, but you can use actual candy molds, cupcake tins, ice cube tray, or whatever! I am actually pretty excited about how cupcake tin coconut peanut butter cups would turn out, so let me know if you try that.
4.) Plop a little chocolate turd into each mold. It is better to plop in less than you think you need. It is always easier to add more than to take exess out. That's a life lesson, y'all.
5.) Using your finger or a clean paint brush, cover the mold with the melted chocolate. Be careful - the chocolate is still hot and can burn your finger. This is the magic part - the chocolate doesn't fall down from the side of the mold! It just sticks there.
6.) After your molds are completely covered with chocolate, stick them in the fridge for about a minute or two. It really doesn't take long for the chocolate to set.
7.) Take a look at your work so far and feel good about yourself. You just made chocolate cups! So shiny!
8.) Fill your perfect little chocolate cups with your coconut peanut butter mixture. To do this, take a pinch of peanut butter mixture and pat it down in the cup with your finger. Make sure that a small border of chocolate is still visible around the peanut butter.
9.) Using the remaining melted chocolate (remember, if it has cooled, reheat it so it is completely liquid), cover the tops of the cups and put the mold back in the freezer for a minutes. Try not to make them as messy as these. Maybe also try not to be drunk when you do this.
10.) Free your coconut peanut butter cups from their molds! YOU DID IT!
Now feed them to your wife!
Peanut butter cups are so completely easy that even a drunk guy can whip them up on a Friday night and make their wife happy. I can't recommend them enough. Next up in the peanut butter cup adventure at Queer Martha Headquarters: Nutella Cups!