When I was little, my dad and I had this ritual where we’d go to Haley’s Ice Cream and each get a cup of our favorite. Mine was always peanut butter cup, and his was rum raisin. We’d scurry back into his navy blue Ford Escort with no AC and manual windows, and go “bunny hunting.” In the back roads near the ice cream shop, a magical place, we would drive slowly around and count all the bunnies that roamed around that neighborhood. It was my favorite dad time.
Sometimes there’d be a congregation of bunnies in someone’s front yard, and another bunny would hop across the street to meet them. It was pretty darn cute. I don’t have many vivid food memories as a child, but this one was special. Before I left for college, we went bunny hunting for the first time in years, because how can you not love that?
Happy early birthday Dad!
Because this memory makes me so stinkin’ happy, I couldn’t help but make my own when I saw a recipe for peanut butter cups in the Mast Brothers cookbook. Naturally, when you give a mouse a peanut butter cup, he’ll want some peanut butter cup ice cream to sink it in. The candies are delicious on their own, as is the ice cream. Together, they make me a very happy girl.
I’ve also finally learned how to temper chocolate properly. I didn’t know the exact method before, even when making homemade snickers or cadbury cream eggs, so am pretty excited about that one. Stick around, this post has three recipes.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
From Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook
I’ve been making these like a fiend the last two weeks. It’s officially become a problem.
Makes 24 cups
- 1 cup smooth natural peanut butter (I use Smooth Operator by the Peanut Butter Co.)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- a pinch sea salt (I used a few pinches of smoked sea salt for a little fun)
- 1 pound dark chocolate, melted and tempered
In a saucepan over low heat, melt peanut butter and butter.
Whisk in sifted confectioners’ sugar and salt, and set aside. You want it to firm up, so if you’re in a rush, throw it in the fridge or freezer while you temper the chocolate.
Coat 24 lined mini muffin cups with tempered chocolate and refrigerate to set. (Tempering instructions in section below.)
You can tell the chocolate is set when it is matte, and no longer has a sheen to it. When set, fill the cups with peanut butter filling.
Spoon the remaining tempered chocolate over the peanut butter filling. You may need to bring the chocolate back up to 88-90 degrees to do this. Refrigerate to set.
From Mast Brothers Chocolate: A Family Cookbook
Tempered chocolate gives that nice bite that you expect from a chocolate bar, and allows you to melt and create candy with lasting storage.
Melt about half of the chocolate in a double boiler (I just use a Pyrex bowl on top of a pot of simmering water) until the entire batch is between 115-118 degrees F, using an instant-read candy thermometer. Be sure to stir constantly with a spatula (don’t use anything wire – it’ll be too hot). Once it begins approaching 115, watch even more closely and remove from heat quickly when at temperature. I’ve had the irritating experience of having the chocolate sneakily reach 120-125 degrees while standing and stirring, because I glanced away for a second or two.
Cool the chocolate off the heat and slowly add pieces of chopped chocolate into the mix, stirring thoroughly to fully incorporate. Keep adding and stirring until it reaches 83 degrees F. If not all of the chocolate totally melts, use a handheld blender to smooth it out.
Reheat the chocolate on the double boiler, still stirring, until it reaches between 88 and 90 degrees. Use immediately! It’ll only stay at temper at this range.
Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
I adapted this recipe from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. His peanut butter ice cream doesn’t use a custard base, but I was going for the creamier, richer texture that yolks provide. This is the peanut butter cup ice cream of my rabbity, childhood dreams.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups half and half
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter (I use Peanut Butter Co. Smooth Operator)
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- Pinch of sea salt (I used smoked sea salt again here, but not necessary)
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
- About 12 peanut butter cups, chopped and chilled in the freezer
Warm the milk, sugar, peanut butter, 1 cup of the half and half, and salt in a medium saucepan. Cover and remove from heat to steep for about a half hour.
Pour the remaining 1 cup of half and half and the vanilla extract into a large bowl, with a mesh strainer set on top. In another mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Slowly add the warm milk/sugar mixture into the egg yolks, constantly whisking, then scrape back into the saucepan.
Stir this mixture constantly and thoroughly over medium heat, using a heatproof spatula, until it thickens and coats the back of the spatula. Take care to not overcook it…you don’t want peanut buttery scrambled eggs. When thickened, pour the custard through the strainer and stir into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator. Chilling completely helps you get the right texture, not icy.
When ready, churn according to your ice cream machine’s instructions. Have some chopped peanut butter cups at the bottom of the container you’ll put the ice cream in- you’ll mix them in after churning. Scoop the churned ice cream into the container, adding bits of the candy throughout, until about 1 1/2 -2 cups candy is added. Oh, and taste it. It’s pretty delicious right? Pop it into the freezer to totally chill it before serving.
Live out those childhood dreams! Make ye some peanut butter cups!