Magical No-Bake Peanut Butter Cups

In case you didn’t know this about me (and I can’t imagine anyone not knowing this about me, really), I am an avid baker. Muffins are my favorite thing to bake, followed closely by brownies and bars. Few things give me more joy than the feeling of accomplishment after something pretty comes out of the oven. I may have bombed chemistry growing up, but I’ve got the science of baking down. Because of this, seeing something that claims to be “no-bake” actually scares me. It can’t be THAT easy. Anything that easy must be part of the Dark Arts. Fortunately, I’m a Slytherin.

Still, everyone I know loves peanut butter cups. (It might be a good baseline for determining whether you could be friends with me, actually.) I’ve never attempted candy before, but I am always up for a new challenge. A delicious challenge.

It could have simply been a good weekend, but making peanut butter cups makes it a GREAT weekend. Erin and I had a bunch of friends over to the house, and we pool partied, ate, drank and were merry.

Drank, mostly.

Honestly, those weren’t even all the bottle caps.  Apricot beer on a hot summer day? Yes, please.

But I’m getting distracted now. Here are the peanut butter cup how-tos, adapted from this fantastic recipe from Blue-Eyed Bakers.

You will need:

1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar (optional, depending on how sweet you want them to be)
1 1/2 cup semisweet or milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk
Sea salt, if you prefer (I didn’t use any, but it would probably be fantastic.)

I led these forces to peanut butter cup victory.

First, I combined the peanut butter and butter in a large, microwave-safe mixing bowl, and melted them down  (about 45 seconds on High). The result was something that smelled so fantastic that I kind of wanted to eat it out of the bowl, but my arteries protested.

You really shouldn’t eat this out of the bowl. Seriously.

Confession time: I forgot to add the sugar in this step. In the end, I’m kind of glad I didn’t. You can if you want to, but for me, the milk chocolate made the cups sweet enough. Had I used semi-sweet chocolate, it might have needed the sugar.

Fortunately, I did not forget the graham crackers. This is what really gives the peanut butter that texture that we all know and love in our Reese’s. Frankly, I’m surprised I never realized that before. The More You Know …

After smashing the crackers Kung-Fu style in a zip-lock bag, I mixed them into the butter and peanut butter concoction.

Ohhh…we’re halfway there, ohhh! Mixin’ our layer…

Spoon the peanut butter/graham cracker/butter mixture into your already-lined muffin tins. The original recipe yielded eight candies, but I realized I could definitely make 12 if I portioned everything carefully. Place the muffin tins into your refrigerator, where they can chill for 30 minutes.

While the peanut butter layer sets, you can get to work on the chocolate.

I read that people were having issues getting the chocolate layer to set, so I used an extra half-cup of chocolate chips. Add the chocolate chips and the milk to another microwave-safe bowl.

Chocolate. Food of the gods.

Some might say that you need a double boiler to temper chocolate, but I’ve never found that to be the case. You can definitely do it in the microwave, if you’re careful and PATIENT (I learned this the hard way. Don’t EVER ask me about a chocolate fountain incident at my best friend’s wedding shower).  I simply heat the chocolate 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between. Add more milk if you see fit, but we don’t want this to be watery. It should be somewhat thick.

After the peanut butter layer has set, you can start to spoon the chocolate mixture over the peanut butter layer.

Almost done!

Once you’ve used all the chocolate mixture, it’s time to let the peanut butter cups sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. I found that after an hour or so, they were completely set.

And now, the finished product:

Voila! Confection success!

Tiffany’s Thoughts:

-Next time, I’ll make the layers more equal.

-Om nom nom, these were delicious. Why are they all gone now?

-What wine pairs with peanut butter cups?

Actually, I think that last question begs for some hands-on research to be done. Adios, readers.