February is the time of year associated with the oft-dreaded Valentine's Day holiday. This year, make Valentine's Day less horrible by making home-made chocolates to give away to family and loved ones!

Peanut butter cups are really easy to make at home. Just start with the highest quality melting chocolate you can splurge on (I like to use E. Guittard whenever possible, it's one of the best):

Get some chocolate cup molds at your local craft store or save a bit of money and get some more variety on the web with Sugarcraft. I know, their site looks kind of dodgey, but I've ordered things from them before and they are trustworthy!

The molds I used for this post ("Peanut Butter cup size 4 #109" on the Sugarcraft site) look like this:

I also recently found Chocosphere, they carry a lot of high-quality chocolate for reasonable prices.  I plan on ordering some E. Guittard wafers from them some time soon, will report back about their service.  [What's up with candy-related sites looking really shady??]


Melt the chocolate in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, using 15-30 second increments (do not overheat!).  For good metling/tempering instructions, click here.

Pour each mold around 1/3 full of melted chocolate, then use a cheap plastic kid's paintbrush (a dedicated one that you've only used for food) and spread the chocolate up the sides, creating a "cup".  Let these cups harden.

I'm talking about a paintbrush like this:

Once hard, fill the cups with desired amount of peanut butter.  I use creamy salted PB, since the flavors seem to balance out really well, and is good with dark as well as milk chocolate.   Melt more chocolate and then pour over the PB to "seal" the cups.  Let this harden for 30 minutes to an hour, then pop them out of the molds!

I don't usually put the chocolates in the fridge, since that seems to promote blooming in the end product.  "Tempering" is what you do in order to avoid blooming.  I tend to make a large batch of PB cups at once and let the chocolate harden naturally as I work assembly-line style.  Just make sure your kitchen isn't too warm, or the chocolate will never set properly.

Other ideas for chocolate treats you can make at home:
  • Fruit jam cups (bonus points if you made the jam yourself!)
  • Small bits of granola mixed into melted chocolate 
  • Small amounts of sea salt chunks + dark chocolate
  • Crushed pistachios and other nuts + milk/dark chocolate (top the cups with additional chopped nuts for a "fancy" look)
  • Fresh orange peels + dark chocolate
  • Fresh lemon peels + milk chocolate (I've yet to try this, but it sounds really good)
  • Dried fruits mixed in
  • Crushed cookies mixed in

FYI, Sugarcraft also sells boxes, trays, foil sheets, etc. for a really nice presentation, in case you want to wrap up your creations as gifts.


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