Our peanut butter cups are a wonderful upscale version of the American classic. They are what mass market peanut butter cups dream of being when they grow up: fine-quality milk chocolate with a creamy peanut butter filling that is rounded out with sweet dairy and vanilla.
Our recipe uses the Proofer to melt ingredients and to temper and hold chocolate at working temperature, making fine chocolate work easier and more foolproof to do at home. The recipe has two versions, classic milk chocolate peanut butter cups and a dark chocolate variation.
An American Favorite. The U.S. is a net exporter of peanuts and has the highest per capita peanut butter consumption in the world, 3.6 pounds / 1.5 kg per person annually. Peanut butter cups were first invented in 1923 by H.B. Reese, an employee of Milton S. Hershey, and are the second best selling candy in the country.
Venture Over to the Dark Side. Our dark chocolate peanut butter cup variation is perfect for the dark chocolate lover. In addition to using dark chocolate for the outer shell, we also incorporate a touch of dark chocolate in the filling, which deepens the chocolate flavor and improves texture.
The Secret Ingredient. White chocolate sweetens the peanut butter filling without making it too sweet, and also creates good texture by emulsifying and firming the peanut butter. The cocoa butter in white chocolate is a natural emulsifier that allows any peanut butter to work in this recipe, even freshly ground or homemade. If using a peanut butter with no added sugar or salt, add a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar to the filling ingredients. Choose a fine quality white chocolate bar with plenty of real cocoa butter (we favor Lindt, Green & Black’s and Valrhona). White chocolate chips are formulated not to melt and won’t work in this recipe.
Yield: Each recipe makes 12 peanut butter cups.
Timing: 2-3 hours including inactive time. Precise timing depends on the type of chocolate, amount of chocolate, and utensils used.
Milk Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
|Peanut Butter||scant ½ C
(7 Tbs + 1 tsp)
|116 g||4.1 oz|
|White Chocolate*||½ of a 4.4 oz / 125 g bar
(6½ T chopped)
|62 g||2.2 oz|
|Butter||4 T||57 g||2.0 oz|
|Milk Chocolate*||two 4.4 oz / 125 g bars
(1⅝ C chopped)
|250 g||8.8 oz|
*Lindt Milk and White chocolates are delicious, widely available, and come in convenient 4.4 oz / 125 g bars.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
|Peanut Butter||scant ½ cup
(7 T + 1 tsp)
|116 g||4.1 oz|
|White Chocolate*||⅓ of a 4.4oz / 125 g bar
(¼ cup chopped)
|40 g||1.4 oz|
|Dark Chocolate, 50-55%*||¼ of a 4.4 oz / 125 g bar ( 3 T chopped)||30 g||1.1 oz|
|Dark Chocolate, 50-55%*||two 4.4 oz / 125 g bars 1⅝ C, chopped||250 g||8.8 oz|
*Lindt white chocolate is widely available and works well. Callebaut dark chocolate – often sold with bulk foods or cheese – has a good level of sweetness for this recipe.
Equipment: Brød & Taylor Folding Proofer (without the water tray), thermometer, mini muffin pan and silicone or paper liners. Silicone chocolate molds also work well.
All surfaces in contact with the chocolate should be thoroughly clean and dry. Consider the temperature and humidity of any surfaces or tools your chocolate will come in contact with. For example, a very cold spoon could develop condensation when moved to a warm area. The resulting moisture will likely cause your chocolate to seize, becoming lumpy and unworkable.
Melt the ingredients. Set up the Proofer with the thermostat at 115 °F / 46 °C. Do not put water in the tray. Put all of the filling ingredients into a container with a spout (or a bowl) and place in the Proofer.
Divide the chocolate for the outer shell and put approximately 75% into one bowl and 25% into another. Put the larger amount of chocolate into the Proofer to melt and set the smaller amount aside at cool room temperature. The amount of time the chocolate takes to melt will depend on the size of pieces that it is broken into. Finely chopped chocolate will melt in a little over an hour, while a single block of chocolate will take nearly three times as long.
Prepare the cups. Line a mini-muffin pan with paper or silicone liners (silicone liners will produce a shinier texture on the ridged sides of the cups and are easier if the cups will be unmolded for serving).
Temper the chocolate. When the bowl of chocolate in the Proofer has melted, remove both containers (chocolate and filling) from the Proofer and lower the Proofer temperature to 87 °F / 30 °C for milk chocolate or 91 °F / 32 °C for dark chocolate. Add the reserved chocolate to the bowl of melted chocolate and stir continuously until the temperature reaches 91 °F / 32 °C for dark chocolate or 87 °F / 30 °C for milk chocolate. If any large pieces of chocolate remain unmelted, remove them.
Make the chocolate bases. Spoon the tempered chocolate into the lined mini-muffin wells, using about 2/3 of the total chocolate. Set the remaining 1/3 of the chocolate in a corner of the Proofer to hold its temperature. Using the back of a small spoon, push the chocolate in each well up the sides of the liner, forming sides that extend up to about 1/8 “ / 3 mm below the top of the pan. Put the pan in the freezer for about 5 minutes, or until the chocolate loses its shine.
Add the peanut butter filling. While the chocolate bases chill, stir the peanut butter filling ingredients until well blended and emulsified. When the bases have lost their shine, pour or spoon the filling into the cups, being careful to leave a narrow border of chocolate showing at the top edge. Return the pan to the freezer until the top of the filling loses its shine, about 10 minutes. While the filled cups are chilling, give the tempered chocolate holding in the Proofer a stir, then return it to a corner to remain warm.
Form the tops. Working one by one, place a small spoonful of chocolate into each peanut butter cup and use the back of a small spoon to spread it out to meet the exposed chocolate border at the sides. Place in a cool area to set. When the cups are fully hardened, they can be removed from the mold, if desired.