18 February 2011

The Peanut Butter Ambassador

Peanut butter. A condiment so common in the US, that no one gives a second thought about it. It is so stitched into the fibers of the American life that we just take it for granted. But here in Italy, it just doesn’t exist. In southern Europe, peanut butter (like pecans and fresh cranberries) is a rare and abstract American food that many people have never tasted and some have never even heard of. So seeing it on the shelf of a tiny international food store, located between asian fish sauce and dried shrimp was a very exciting moment. It was a discovery that reunited my husband with his beloved peanut butter. 

We have since purchased three jars, as gifts for friends that really like peanuts but have NEVER tried peanut butter and I have also introduced my sister-in-law to this new nut butter. She has officially classified it as better than Nutella! Wow. There must be something about discovering a new flavor that makes it so special. I mean, I know peanut butter is good, but you should see how Italians go crazy over it! I feel like I’m spreading peanut butter joy. 

For Valentine’s day I made my husband peanut butter cookies. But I wasn’t satisfied with just that. I have always wanted to try making peanut butter cups, so I thought this would be a great way to showcase the delicious combination of peanut butter and chocolate. So before I added the eggs to the cookie batter, I held aside a bit of the peanut butter and sugar mix and gave it a try. The result? I may have a line out the door soon! They may be more addictive than drugs and my sister in law is already hooked. 

If you like Reese’s peanut butter cups, but hate all the artificial stuff, here is a super simple way to make some fun chocolate covered peanut butter candy. The best part is that they are completely under your control—you choose how much sugar to use, whether you like milk or dark chocolate, crunchy or smooth peanut butter, etc. 

Homemade Peanut Butter Drops 
1 ½ c. natural peanut butter
3 tbsp.- ½ c. brown sugar (depending on your taste)
100g bar of chocolate (I recommend 54-65% cocoa)

Mix your peanut butter and sugar until well combined, warming it if necessary to get a soft, stirable consistency. You want to make sure the peanut oil is warm enough to dissolve the sugar so its not crunchy. When the sugar is dissolved, chill the mix in the fridge until it is firm and manageable. Then take small spoonfuls of the mix and roll it into bite-sized balls (or any size and shape you prefer). Place the balls on a greased sheet or parchment paper and chill in the freezer until hard. This can be done a day ahead.

Chop your chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over simmering water (bain Marie). 

Take your frozen peanut butter balls and toss them into the melted chocolate, one at a time, making sure to coat the entire ball. Lift it out with a fork and drip off the excess chocolate before placing it on wax or parchment paper. Repeat with all the balls and chill in the fridge until firm. 

Please try not to eat them all at once.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nicole!! I guess peanut butter balls are loved all over the world....I make them most every Christmas for my boys. They get very upset when I don't have time to make them!!
    Check out my blog post here and you can see how we make them!! http://constantchatter-jmac.blogspot.com/2010/01/life.html
    Yours looked yummy!! Ciao!


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