Thursday, October 30, 2014

Trick or Treat? Well, peanut butter chocolates, to be specific


It's the day before Halloween, and I am preparing accordingly.

Usually, holidays mean dessert. Halloween is a slight exception; Halloween means candy. Which means, I'm off the hook!

I have never seen a more excited jack-o'-lantern in my life!
picture courtesy of
I confess: I am a sucker for Reese's peanut butter cups.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia
But around Halloween, you start seeing a deviation from your traditional round, notched peanut-filled candies. The Reese's marketing team starts doing backflips trying to give you even more reasons to buy candy on Halloween. They start producing things like 

This pumpkin-shaped Reese's! --Or: 

picture courtesy of
A Reese's with a pumpkin on it! 

My response? 


Peanut Butter Bites (which currently happen to be shaped like ghosts and pumpkins)
These chocolate-coated, peanut-butter filled candies are like bigger, tastier, less artificial versions of traditional Reese's peanut butter cups. I chose to decorate mine in the spirit of Halloween--but you can decorate them however you want to honor the occasion, or leave them plain to savor the irresistible taste. Here's the recipe, as well as pics of how I decorated them!
Side note: this is actually my grandmother's recipe. I actually called her the other day for this recipe. Now you know it's good. 
Makes about a dozen candies!

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
10-12 oz chocolate chips. Whatever kind you like!
2 tbsp shortening (optional: it supposedly makes the outer chocolate coating shinier and stiffer, but I hate shortening so I abstained)
Sprinkles, colored buttercream, or other decorating materials! 

  1. Melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan on the stove. Take it off the heat. Stir in the powdered sugar, peanut butter, and vanilla. 
  2. Prepare a cookie sheet with foil on it. Form the peanut butter mixture into your desired shape, using about 1 tablespoon per candy. Put the balls on a cookie sheet and put the tray in the freezer for about an hour to let the balls harden up. 
  3. Prepare another cookie sheet with foil on it. Melt your chocolate (and the shortening) in a double-boiler. Using a fork, drop the balls of dough into the melted chocolate and move around until they are evenly coated, then deposit on the cookie sheet. 
  4. If you intend to decorate your candies with buttercream, put them back in the freezer; otherwise, put them in the fridge to harden up and they are ready to eat! I recommend storing them in the refrigerator so they don't melt.
  5. For pumpkins: Form your peanut butter filling into short, squat disk-like shapes. Immediately after covering them with chocolate, cover with orange sprinkles. After freezing, use green buttercream to pipe a stem and leaf onto the top of the pumpkin and yellow buttercream to draw the features.
  6. For ghosts: Form your peanut butter filling into taller, cylindrical shapes with a round top. Cover with white chocolate. After freezing, draw on features with purple buttercream. 
The filling. It should be pretty thick and malleable, even while warm. 
 Left: pumpkin fillings. Right: ghost fillings. 

My pumpkins after being covered and sprinkled
My buttercream! I made way too much; I ended up using less than half this amount. Your frosting should be pretty thick to make sure your designs will stay.
I used the large tip on the left to pipe the stems for the pumpkins, and the small one on the right to form the features. 
 I didn't use a tip for the pumpkin leaves; I used this technique that simply involves snipping the pastry bag. Pretty neat! 

Here's for those of you who prefer slightly demonic-looking ghosts...

The only problem am I going to bring myself to eat these guys? 

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