I like vending machines 'cuz snacks are better when they fall. If I buy a candy bar at a store, oftentimes, I will drop it so that it achieves it's maximum flavor potential.
— Mitch Hedberg
Halloween is a sore spot for me. Having grown up in a hilly area with relatively few houses, I would usually get enough candy to fill up my plastic jack-o-lantern halfway. And when I was really little, this seemed like a fantastic deal. Enough candy for a month in one night? How could you go wrong!
As I got a little older, however, it became evident that my classmates were acquiring enough candy to fill multiple pillowcases. In retrospect, that wasn't really so much better. We probably ate approximately the same quantity of candy, between things going stale and parental intervention. Still, it was always a little disheartening when other kids would bring in incredible quantities of sugary goodness and trade for their favorites.
The last blow came when I was told I was too old to go trick-or-treating. You're kidding, right? I'm getting the impression it's less cute once you're over twenty. Or something. Life is full of disappoints.
Apparently, I'm in a chocolate-peanut butter mood lately. So when I decided I was just going to make my own damn Halloween candy, peanut butter cups seemed like a good fit.
Peanut Butter Cups
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ cup sour cream
2 tablespoons whipping cream
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chunky peanut butter (do not use fresh ground or old-fashioned style)
1¼ pounds semisweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup roasted unsalted peanuts, separated in halves
36 foil miniature muffin cups
Mix first 4 ingredients in medium bowl. Stir in chunky peanut butter. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead.)
Place 36 foil miniature muffin cups on 2 cookie sheets, or in miniature muffin tins. (If miniature muffin cup unavailable, you may simply spread chocolate directly into tins. Once the peanut butter cups are prepared, freeze them and then knock them out onto the counter.)
Heat two-thirds of chocolate in a metal bowl above simmering water, to 105°F. Add remaining third and stir vigorously until chocolate is cooled, 95°F. If chocolate melts completely above 95°F, add more unmelted chocolate and continue stirring. If chocolate drops below 95°F without fully melting, return briefly to heat. Chocolate should achieve a nice shine if it is properly tempered.
Drop 1 teaspoon chocolate into each mini muffin cup. Rotating cup, spread chocolate ¾ inch up insides of cups with small palette knife. Allow to harden before continuing. (If chocolate does not harden, it has not been properly tempered and must be refrigerated before continuing.)
Drop 1 rounded teaspoon peanut butter mixture into each cup. Flatten slightly with back of spoon. Gently reheat remaining chocolate over simmering water. Spoon enough chocolate (about 1 teaspoon) into each cup to cover filling completely. Tap the muffin tins on the counter several times to get rid of air bubbles. Sprinkle each peanut butter cup with several peanut halves. If desired, dip fork into remaining melted chocolate and carefully wave from side to side over peanuts to create decorative pattern.
Divide peanut butter cups among airtight tins. (Can be prepared up to 4 days ahead and refrigerate.)