Sure, you can buy a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups and eat them. But what’s the fun in that when you can actually make your own at home, with fresh ingredients, and make them exactly the way you want them? I’ll admit, I like to buy them at the store every now and then for a road trip, but they don’t compare to these homemade dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Not even by a long shot!
What is the Best Type of Chocolate to Use?
If you are a more advanced baker and have a couple of hours to spare, couverture chocolate is the best chocolate for these dark chocolate peanut butter cups. Couverture chocolate has to be tempered, otherwise it will not set up. Instead, it will eventually dry, have streaks, and will look very grainy and dull. And because the chocolate was not tempered properly, it will have a very weak structure. To learn how to temper, check out my French mendiants recipe.
For most bakers out there who are new to working with chocolate, compound chocolate is the best choice. Compound chocolate does not have to be tempered, and it is often preferred for chocolate candy making
Do NOT use chocolate chips! Chocolate chips are very thick when melted, and they do not work well for candy making. Save your favorite chocolate chips to make these chocolate chip cookies!
For these dark chocolate peanut butter cups, it is preferable to use semi-sweet or dark chocolate (between 55-60% cocoa). To keep things simple, we will use compound semi-sweet chocolate for this recipe. Feel free to use another kind if you like another kind better though.
How to Make Homemade Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
- Melt 1 pound of compound chocolate in microwave at 30 second intervals. Chocolate can burn and turn chunky when overheated, so do not warm chocolate for more than 30-45 seconds at a time.
- When chocolate is fully melted, portion into peanut butter cup molds.
- Once the tray is full, turn tray over into a bowl and tap to remove excess chocolate so that a thin layer of chocolate remains in each slot. Scrape the top of the tray with an offset spatula to make sure the chocolate is in the cups and not on the tray.
- Place in freezer for 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is firm and shiny.
- Mix peanut butter and powdered sugar with a spoon until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe a thin layer of peanut butter into each cup and smooth if needed.
- Make sure that the peanut butter does not come to the top of the chocolate shell. Otherwise, completely covering the peanut butter is difficult if the peanut butter rises above the shells.
- Sprinkle lightly with flaked or fine sea salt.
- Pipe a quarter size amount of chocolate on top of the peanut butter cups, and gently tap the tray to help the chocolate smooth out. If there are any blank spots, fill with a little chocolate and tap again. Work quickly so the chocolate doesn’t dry too fast. Place tray in freezer to solidify the chocolate.
Why Freeze the Chocolate Before it Dries?
Compound chocolate will not have a beautiful sheen if you leave it out to dry. Instead, the cocoa butter will eventually separate some from the chocolate, leaving white streaks as the peanut butter cups dry. The chocolate will look very dull and unappealing.
When the chocolate mold goes into the freezer, the cocoa butter does not have time to separate from the chocolate. Instead, the chocolate is still completely mixed and keeps a tight bond that allows for a good and strong structure. We don’t want weak chocolate here!
What You Will Need to Make This Recipe
- A large or small peanut butter cup mold
- An offset Spatula
- Compound dark chocolate, like this
- Small cookie scoop for portioning chocolate
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- 1 pound compound chocolate, such as Callebaut or Guittard
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 3 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- Maldon flaked Sea Salt or fine sea salt
- Melt 1 pound of compound chocolate in microwave at 30 second intervals, stirring every 30 – 60 seconds until fully melted
- When chocolate is fully melted, use a teaspoon cookie scoop to portion the chocolate into each peanut butter cup slot. Make sure the chocolate comes up to the edges of each mold, but they should not be overflowing.
- Once the tray is full, turn tray over onto a parchment lined tray and tap to remove excess chocolate so that a thin layer of chocolate remains in each slot. Scrape the top of the tray with an offset spatula to make sure the chocolate is in the cups and not running out of each slot. Otherwise, the peanut butter cups may have rough edges that can’t be fixed later.
- Place in freezer for 1-2 minutes or until chocolate is dry and shiny.
- Mix peanut butter and butter with a hand mixer until smooth. Add powdered sugar and mix until fluffy but smooth. Spoon into a piping bag, cut off about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch of the bag tip, and pipe peanut butter into each cup. Smooth out if needed.
- Make sure that the peanut butter fills the shells until there is just a little bit of chocolate border left around the edges. This gives just enough room for the top layer of chocolate that is needed to seal in the peanut butter.
- Sprinkle the tops of the peanut butter lightly with flaked or fine sea salt.
- Pipe a quarter size amount of chocolate on top of the peanut butter cups, and gently tap the mold to help the chocolate smooth out. If there are any blank spots, fill with a little chocolate and tap again. Work quickly so the chocolate doesn’t dry too fast. Place tray in freezer for 3-5 minutes to solidify the chocolate.
- Turn chocolates out of molds and enjoy! These candies can be made and stored for up to 3 weeks in a container at room temperature.
This is a Baker Street Society original recipe.
Keywords: dark chocolate peanut butter cups, homemade Reese’s peanut butter cups