My dad recently discovered that he is allergic to peanuts, which posed a huge problem. Most nights, he sits in his chair next to the fireplace, munching on a small bowl of nuts while reading the paper. Although he trades off between almonds, pistachios, and peanuts, the peanuts were his favorite. And he had stocked up on peanuts, buying about a pound or two before the holidays, so when I came home for Christmas, I inherited all of them.
So what’s a girl to do when she has peanuts literally spilling out of her pantry?
Part I: Peanut Butter
Because it isn’t baseball season and I can’t take my peanuts to a game, I needed some way to consume all of these other than snacking on them morning, noon, and night. Homemade peanut butter seemed like the perfect option. With so much less sugar than the typical Skippy or Jif, it tasted even better and healthier than those processed varieties!
Homemade Peanut Butter
based on this peanut butter recipe
yields about ⅓ c. Peanut Butter
I made a small amount to keep it as fresh as possible, but the recipe scales up quite nicely. Add both the oil and honey in small portions to fit your tastes. Some people prefer thicker PB and use less oil, but use more to make it more spreadable.
½ c. salted & shelled peanuts
2-3 tsp vegetable or peanut oil
3-4 drops of honey (or more, to taste)
- Add peanuts to a food processor and turn it on until the peanuts are a fine powder and begin to clump together.
- Add the oil ½ tsp at a time until PB reaches desired consistency.
- Taste the PB, and if you want a slightly sweeter taste, add the honey a drop at a time. Store PB in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
*Note: Over time, the peanut butter will thicken in the fridge, but just add a little more oil and swirl it around with a knife to make it more spreadable.
Part II: Peanut Butter Cups
Yet I’ll admit it, I’m not the world’s biggest peanut butter fan. Maybe it’s because I had too much of it when I was a little girl (there were times where I ate it straight from the jar), but I rarely eat any these days. Because I didn’t want a huge batch sitting in my fridge, and because the guys at work don’t seem to be making their organic PB sandwiches anymore, I needed a recipe that used up all the peanut butter I just made.
One slight problem… That recipe also had to be something I had never attempted before. Rules are rules, and I’m not breaking my Alphabet Adventure ones just yet! That threw out peanut butter cookies, peanut butter brownies, and pasta with a Thai peanut sauce. And peanut butter pie just wasn’t calling my name.
So I turned to one of my favorite childhood candies—Reese’s.
Two weeks ago, I bought an adorable set of heart-shaped silicon ice cube molds for Valentine’s Day, and they seemed like the perfect size for my peanut butter cups—slightly larger than a mini-Reese’s cup, which meant more deliciousness in every treat without feeling completely guilty from eating the whole thing. After spraying the molds with nonstick spray, it was really easy to pop out the peanut butter cups since the silicon deforms so easily.
The only problem I encountered with the whole experience was restraining myself from devouring half the batch as soon as they were done. (They’re that irresistible, I promise!) To prevent my hips from yelling at me later, I gave the rest to the little kids next door, and if they weren’t in love with me from all the cookies I’d taken over in the previous weeks, they definitely were now!
Peanut Butter Cups
inspired by Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
yields 12 (according to their recipe)
I adjusted my recipe since my molds were oddly shaped, but I wrote the original measurements here. Try using a mini-muffin tin or mini-muffin cups if you want smaller PB cups, or use regular-sized muffin tins for an extra big treat.
1 (11.5 oz) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips, divided
1 tbsp butter, divided
1 c. peanut butter
¼ – ½ c. powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
- Spray muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt half of the chocolate chips and ½ tbsp butter. Microwave for 30 sec at a time, stirring after each time, until the chocolate is smooth.
- Spoon chocolate into the bottom of each muffin cup, and spread it around so it covers the bottom and sides. It may not stick to the sides, but be sure to coat the bottom really well.
- Stick the muffin tin in the freezer for 10-20 minutes while preparing the peanut butter mixture.
- In a medium bowl, mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Shape into small balls that will fit inside of the muffin cups.
- Remove the chocolate-coated muffin tin from the freezer, and place a peanut butter ball in each. Be sure that the peanut butter does not touch the sides of the muffin cup!
- Melt the remaining chocolate and butter in the microwave. Spoon over the top of each peanut butter ball, being sure to completely fill the sides around the peanut butter. (Otherwise your PB cups will have holes in the sides!) Smooth the top as best you can.
- Place muffin tin in the freezer for another 10-20 minutes or until chocolate is set. Place in the refrigerator until ready to serve.