Cue some dramatic music…maybe the Star Wars theme music.
Duuh Duuh da da da Duuh Duuh
That is how epic this recipe is. If you like chocolate (the dark, sultry, velvety type), if you like peanut butter, and delicious salty-ness, get ready for a divine taste-bud jubilee. Be prepared to be happy. Oh so very happy. I say, “if you like” as if there is a possibility that someone could not like these three things. Is that possible? If it is, I prefer to remain ignorant.
Growing up, I was a major Reese’s fan. Every trip to the movie theatre featured me eagerly pointing through the smudgy glass display case at the Reese’s section. The regular cups were my favorite, but I was pretty well enamored by Reese’s Pieces and the Reese’s Minis. Fast forward 15 years and Reese’s got thrown into the category of foods to avoid. All of that chocolatey, peanut-buttery goodness out the window. Fast forward another 10 years and all of that chocolatey, peanut-buttery goodness returns minus the sugar, preservatives, and mysterious add-ins. How do you say Hallelujah!
My endeavors to make my food from scratch have created in me an ability and creativity to make all the foods I love with the ingredients I think are right for me to be eating, and that I want to be eating. Years ago, when I ate the Reese’s cups, I wanted the delicious taste, but I didn’t like how highly processed they were and I didn’t think they were good for me. So I settled. Either I didn’t eat the Reese’s and missed out on that experience, OR I ate the Reese’s and thought I was eating something that wasn’t good for me. Both scenarios had me losing out on something. Back then, I didn’t think that I could have exactly what I wanted. Now I know better, and I am surprised by, and exhilarated by, my drive to share what I have learned with others. In addition to sharing recipes that I love, the intention of this blog is to share a way of approaching eating and cooking that has transformed my life and perhaps can contribute to you yours.
And just so that we don’t stray too far from the point, these are better than Reese’s cups. So not only are they good for you, but they taste better. As my Outward Bound leader used to say, “ching-chowie” (pronounced chinnning choowwwie). What that means? I have no idea. But it always seems to perfectly connote a certain kind of success and it has never left my lexicon.
I have made these countless times and each time I make them I say to myself, “I’ve gotta measure out quantities so that I can make this into a recipe for the blog.” Then it occurred to me, if I don’t need a recipe, you don’t either. These are customizable and super easy to modify to exactly how you like them. You need four simple ingredients: peanuts, deglet dates, salt, and chocolate. I gave some basic measurements so you know where to start, but change it up to your preferences.
- ¾ Cup semi-ground peanuts (see photo)
- Tablespoon or so fresh peanut butter
- 5-7 Deglet Dates
- 1 Bar 86% cocoa chocolate (I use Ghirardelli)
- Handful 69% dairy free chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy Life brand)
- Sea salt to taste
- Mini muffin liners (or regular muffin liners if you want to make the classic size)
- Flat tray that will fit in your freezer
- Double boiler (or two pots that will work as a double boiler)
- Measure your partially ground peanuts (they should have a paste like consistency) into a mid-size bowl and add in your fresh peanut butter.
- Using a mini food processor chop your dates until you have a smooth paste.
- Gradually add the date paste and sea salt into your peanut mixture. Mix very well to fully incorporate the sea salt and dates into the peanut butter. As you add the dates/salt, taste test frequently until the peanut butter reaches your desired salty/sweet balance.
- Once your peanut butter filling is complete, set aside and set up a double boiler (I use two slightly different sized pots that nest into each other; there's no need to invest in expensive equipment. It is easier if one of the pots has a spout to assist in pouring out the chocolate).
- Once the water in the double boiler is simmering, break apart your chocolate bar and place in the boiler. Toss in a handful of chocolate chips, roughly ¼ the amount of the chocolate bar. Stir occasionally until all of the chocolate has melted and it is a velvety texture. Be very careful not to get ANY water in the chocolate or you will have a chocolate disaster.
- While the chocolate is melting, roll your peanut butter mixture into ~1" round balls and set aside.
- Line your cookie tray with the mini muffin liners.
- Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from the double-boiler and thoroughly dry the bottom of the pot holding the chocolate.
- Pour about a ½ - ¾ teaspoon worth of the melted chocolate into each of the muffin liners. You want enough chocolate in each muffin liner to paint up the sides of the liner and make a thin layer of chocolate at the base of the liner.
- Use a very narrow rubber spatula or similar tool to paint the chocolate onto the walls of the muffin liner. Leave ⅛ - 1/16" of muffin liner free of chocolate around the top so that you can easily peel the wrapper off your chocolate.
- Once all the wrappers are coated in chocolate, place your tray in the freezer for five minutes. Keep your melted chocolate warm and melt-y by setting up the double boiler again.
- Remove the tray and place your prepared peanut butter balls into the muffin liners. Gently press down on the peanut butter balls to slightly flatten them and fill the liner.
- Again thoroughly dry the base of your chocolate pot before proceeding to the next step.
- Pour the remaining chocolate over each of your cups leaving about ⅛ - 1/16" of your liner exposed.
- Holding your tray steady, gently place the filled cups into the freezer and let set for an hour.
- Once they have set you will be able to leave them in the refrigerator, but they will melt at room temperature. They will also melt in your hand if you hold on to them for too long, but there is no reason they should be in your hand for longer than a second or two...they should be in your mouth!