I was recently charged with the difficult task of coming up with a few Halloween recipes, and it drove me absolutely nuts. It might sound easy enough, but in reality it’s probably the only American holiday that isn’t firmly associated with a particular meal or recipe. That’s because Halloween is really all about the candy. My early memories of this holiday are pretty standard: dressing up in ridiculous costumes, going trick-or-treating with friends in a nearby neighborhood, then gorging ourselves on candy until we were sick. It was great.
So as I was researching traditional Halloween recipes, my mind continued to dwell upon Tootsie rolls, candy corn, miniature Snickers bars, and above all: Reece’s Pieces. I believe Reece’s are the perfect Halloween candy for several reasons: they’re impossibly indulgent, chromatically perfect the holiday’s strict color code of black and orange, and they contain the secret key to every American child’s heart – an irresistible, sweet peanut butter filling. Now, before all you anti-peanut-butter Italians start rolling your eyes and saying “che schifo!“, you must try these treats. I think they could conquer even for the staunchest peanut butter skeptic.
So, obviously, there was nothing for me to do but recreate the recipe from scratch, which (not surprisingly) turned out to be a thousand times better than the packaged version. What an absolute indulgence! They are so rich and irresistible… and I’ve been trying to talk myself out of eating them every 10 minutes for the past 2 days as they beckon from my freezer. I was hoping that gorging on candy to the point of illness would lose some of its allure as an adult, but I guess I’m not there quite yet. I find myself tiptoeing toward the kitchen, knocking on the freezer door and whispering “trick or treat?”
Peanut Butter Cups
- 1 pound (500 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
- 1 3/4 cups (220 g) sifted confectioners’ sugar
- 1 1/2 cups (350 g) smooth peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) unsalted butter, softened
- 36 1 3/8-inch paper candy cups
Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. When melted and smooth, use a small spoon or
small paintbrush to coat insides of the paper candy cups with the melted chocolate, making sure to cover the bottom and sides well. Transfer cups to a rimmed baking sheet and place in freezer for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, combine sugar, peanut butter, and butter and beat on medium-low speed until well combined. Transfer mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip, and set aside. If you don’t have a pastry bag, transfer to a normal plastic bag and cut off one corner.
Remove cold chocolate cups from the freezer. Pipe peanut-butter filling into each cup until three-quarters full. Spoon remaining melted chocolate into each cup to cover. Return to the freezer until set, 15 to 25 minutes. To serve, remove from freezer, peel off paper, and eat cold.