Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Posted by Sylvia in Misc on February 17 2008 | Leave A Comment
Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

When I first left California for foreign climes, I knew I’d miss the food I’d grown up with: tortilla chips and refried beans, hamburgers with avocado and monterey jack. What I didn’t expect was the desperate desire for candy. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were not something I particularly thought of as a favorite food but I would pick them up occassionally as a quick snack when there was no time for lunch. After I’d been away from home for a year, however, the desire for them became overwhelming. Those peanut butter cups became my heart’s desire, a taste of home, representative of all the junk food I had left behind.

I tried filling the cravings in a high-class manner. I bought a pound of peanuts which I ground into a natural peanut butter and then dipped thick chunks of dark Belgian chocolate into it. Although it was quite an interesting combination, I realised that the ground peanuts were only tangentially related to the filling of the peanut butter cup. I eventually found real peanut-butter (by which I mean ground peanuts with added sugar and preservatives and god knows what else) and took the time to make my own cups in a mini-muffin pan. They were quite tasty and made for a decent after-dinner snack but I never quite achieved that Reese’s flavor. In the end, I wrote a frenzied letter to my parents, asking them to please send me a care package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. To their credit, I received a small box of the candies via air mail within the month, no questions asked.

So what is it about Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and why couldn’t I re-create the experience? A quick look at the ingredient list gave me the answer.

The bulk of the peanut butter cup is milk chocolate but their milk chocolate is sweeter than anything you could ever eat as a bar. The primary ingredient of their chocolate is sugar, nosing ahead of the cocoa butter and cocoa mass and milk. The next ingredient of the cup is peanuts but the third is, again, sugar.

This would be so sweet as to be unpalatable but the fifth ingredient in this most unhealthy snack (I used to eat this for lunch?!) is salt, adding a much needed tang against the cloying sweetness.  It’s the salt which upgrades the peanut butter center from diabetic nightmare to grainy addiction. Each peanut-sugar-and-salt bite ends with the sweetened milk-chocolate washing away the tingle of the salt and leaving you longing for a bit more to cut through the syrupy residue left in your mouth. Even if you ignore the E-numbers and seven-syllable ingredients that sound straight out of a chemistry lab, the combination is a bit scary: Sugar, chocolate, peanuts, sugar and salt.

Obviously, these simply can not be compared to the standardly reviewed items on Chocablog and I remain partial to champagne truffles. But recently I walked into a wonderful delicatessen and shop which sells all sorts of intriguing food, much of which is imported by the proprieter. Among the dried herbs and specialist rice and dried mushrooms, he has a box of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. His prices are exorbitant but they do come in packs of three cups, rather than the two I remember from my childhood. I think it’s important to stay in touch with my roots and so I bought all his remaining stock. I just want to have them on stand-by, to alleviate the rare feelings of homesickness that sometimes creep up on me.

Besides, he said he’d get a new batch in by Monday.

Information

Comments On This Post

  1. Dom (Chocablog Staff)

    Hmmm, that’s interesting.

    I hate Peanut Butter Cups. Way too sweet for me. But there are still things that bring memories of living in the US flooding back for me. Like Butterscotch Life Savers and Kool Aid.

  2. Reeses are too sweet for you but butterscotch Life Savers aren’t? You are weird!

  3. Oliver

    Try Woolworths (if you are in the UK?) – They again sell them in packs of three, but at 49p (or, just under $1) a pack.

    Also I found a wonderful recipe somewhere, I think it was one of Nigella’s, on how to make nice peanut butter cup type things. YOu add butter, brown sugar, all sorts of stuff to the PB, but it ends up with a very reese-like texture. And you dont need to get a bag of emulsifiers, since this isn’t intended to stay on the shelf for a year!

  4. Dom (Chocablog Staff)

    Sylvia.. that’s the point. At least, I think that was my point. It’s not that I actually like them, it’s just the childhood memories the conjure up. :)

  5. Shakeaway also sell Reese’s and Oreo and I think Hershey bars. To be honest, they’re (Reese’s / Oreo / Hershey) quite widespread over the UK now.

  6. mmm peanut butter cups. white peanut butter cups are good too. but whats even better is hersheys take 5 and fast break. lots of stuff in them that is supposed to be peanut butter but deep inside i know it is not, still they are so good.

  7. I live in Spain where Reese’s have yet to make an appearance. But I got done! I paid £1.50 for my pack of three – didn’t occur to me that they were more common now. Next time I’ll just go to Woolworths. Actually, I’ll try to find Oliver’s recipe first. :)

  8. river

    I tried Peanut Butter Cups once when a friend from Texas sent them to my daughter. Way too sweet chocolate and the filling was so far removed from peanut butter I couldn’t swallow the first bite.Ugh!

  9. u8mypinkcookies

    i love reese’s! i sometimes put it in the freezer before eating it. yummy!

  10. charlisa

    i love them there so deliocious and who ever dont like them thats your opinion all of u lames are weird period!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Greg Wood

    12 paper muffin cups
    One 12-ounce pkg. milk chocolate chips
    1 cup reduced-fat peanut butter (very important- Better texture)
    1/2 cup powdered sugar
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    Paper muffin cups and chocolate -

    1. Cut the top half off of the muffin cups so that they are
    shallower.
    2. Pour the chocolate chips into a glass bowl and melt them
    in the microwave: Microwave at 50% power for 2 minutes. Stir
    the chips gently, and let them sit for a minute or so. If the
    chocolate needs more melting, microwave those chippies again at
    half power for 30 seconds. Stir gently. Continue the process,
    stirring gently as you go. But be very careful not to overcook
    the chocolate or it’ll seize up on you like day old Carolina roof
    tar.
    3. Using a teaspoon, spoon a portion of the chocolate into the
    middle of a muffin cup. Draw the chocolate up the edges of the
    cup with the back of the spoon. Coat the entire inside of the
    muffin cup with chocolate and place it into a muffin tin. Repeat
    with the remaining muffin cups and then put the whole muffin tin
    in the fridge so that the chocolate hardens.
    4. Combine the reduced-fat peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt
    in a medium bowl.
    5. When the chocolate in the muffin cups has hardened, pop the
    sweetened peanut butter into the microwave oven on full power
    for 1 minute. This will soften up the peanut butter so that it
    easily flows into the cups.
    6. Spoon a small portion of peanut butter into each of the
    chocolate-coated cups. Leave room at the top for an additional
    layer of chocolate, which we’ll add later. Pop the candy back
    in the refrigerator to harden the peanut butter. This should
    take an hour or so.
    butter filling has hardened, re-melt the
    chocolate chips in the microwave on half power for 30 to 60
    seconds. Use a teaspoon to spread a layer of chocolate over
    the top of each candy. Chill the candy once again to set up
    the chocolate.
    8. Finally, remember to take the paper off the outside of the
    peanut butter cups before eating them.
    Makes 12 candies.

  12. Rita J

    Thank you for the recipe, I will try this. I love/hate Reese’s peanut butter cups too.