The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at http://www.chocoley.com/ offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!
I’m not sure how “creative” it was to make peanut butter cups, but wow, were they good!
Our task for the Daring Bakers was to make chocolate candies and to temper the chocolate. Tempering chocolate allows the chocolate to develop that shiny exterior and soft texture that chocolate candies are known for. It is important to use high quality chocolate. I’ve tempered chocolate using regular chocolate chips, and baker’s chocolate, and it didn’t quite work. The chocolate was soft at room temperature, and melted as soon as I touched them with my fingers. Those types of chocolate do not have a high enough cocoa butter content to temper properly.
Tempering the chocolate sounds tricky, but it is really easy. It’s just a matter of keeping a close eye on the temperature while you’re heating and cooling and reheating the chocolate. I have a feeling these candies will make a reappearance in my holiday goody boxes.
For part 2 of the Daring Bakers challenge, I made gummy frogs.
filling adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
- Temper the chocolate: Break the chocolate into small chunks. Melt 2/3 of the chocolate the the top of a double boiler over simmering water. Gently stirring constantly, bring the chocolate to 113º F. Remove the double boiler from the heat. Add small amounts of the reserved chocolate bits to the hot chocolate, stirring to melt. Keep adding small amounts until the chocolate reaches 80.6º F (a digital instant read thermometer is extremely helpful for this). Return the chocolate to the simmering water and heat until the chocolate reaches 86º F. It is important to keep the water simmering and not boiling, as the chocolate heats very quickly. It is also important to keep the chocolate free of water drops, or it will seize and turn dry. The chocolate is now tempered and ready to use.
- For the peanut butter filling: beat the peanut butter, butter, powdered sugar, and salt together until smooth. Place filling in a pastry bag fitted with a medium sized round tip.
- Place mini-cup liners in a mini-muffin pan (or use chocolate molds without any liners). Fill cups about 1/2 way full. Using a small popsicle stick, or a lollipop stick, or a chopstick (you get the picture) paint the sides of the cups, making sure sides and are coated with chocolate. Chill the cups for about 5 minutes. Take out of fridge, and fill cups with peanut butter filling until about 3/4 of the way full. Tap the muffin pan on the counter to remove all air pockets, and to level the filling. Pour more chocolate into the cups, filling to the top. You can let the chocolate set either at room temperature, or in the refrigerator. Once set, remove chocolates from muffin pan.