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Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

There are some types of candy that adults tend to outgrow (you don’t see many grown-ups clutching cones of cotton candy at the county fair, for example). Chocolate peanut butter cups, however, are an enduring institution. The blend of milk chocolate and creamy peanut butter is a classic flavor combo that appeals to palates of all ages. Although there are plenty of store-bought versions, nothing tops  homemade.

peanut butter cups
  • Yield: 24 candies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter, preferably Skippy, not all-natural
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted if lumpy
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 33 ounces milk chocolate, chopped or chips
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening

Steps:

  1. Step 1

    Line two 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners. Set aside.

  2. Step 2

    Combine the peanut butter, unsalted butter, and salt in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high power in 20 second bursts, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth. Alternatively, combine in a heat-proof bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted.

  3. Step 3

    Add the sugars and stir until melted and smooth. Using a 1½ tablespoon cookie scoop or measuring spoons, scoop the peanut butter mixture and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. The mixture will be soft, but it should hold its shape in a little blob.

  4. Step 4

    Place in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer, flip over the peanut butter blobs and flatten each one slightly into a disc, about the size of the bottom of your paper liner. Place back in the freezer.

  5. Step 5

    Melt the chocolate and shortening as you did the peanut butter mixture (either in a microwave or a makeshift double boiler) until smooth.

  6. Step 6

    Place 1½ tablespoons of melted chocolate in the bottom of each cup, banging the pan gently after every three cups to flatten the chocolate. Place a peanut butter disc on top of the chocolate, and add a rounded 1½ tablespoons of chocolate on top—again, gently banging the pan after every three cups for a smooth chocolate top. If the chocolate firms up while you are working, simply re-melt it.

  7. Step 7

    Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, if you so desire, and place back in the freezer to set up, about 30 minutes.