The perfect combination for the perfect person in your life. Make some Fudgy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Hearts and people will be feeling the love.
Have you ever been asked, “if you were stranded on a dessert island and you could only have five foods to eat forevermore, what would they be?” I guess I hang around a lot of people who fear, or perhaps dream about being deserted on a tropical island because I’ve encountered this question many times. I immediately respond with peanut butter, chocolate, bananas, and cherries. The fifth item changes depending on my mood, which today would mean I’d say bread. Are any of these foods on your list? Peanut butter and chocolate perhaps? If so, you’re in for a special treat.
I’ve been holding onto this peanut butter fudge recipe for a while, waiting for the perfect occasion to share it with you. Well to be quite honest, I had guarded this recipe tightly for almost 20 years. When I was working on my cookbook, Hungry Halloween featuring Movie Monster Munchies, Bewitched Buffet, and Dead Man’s Diner, I wanted to make a witch hat filled with peanut butter fudge and covered in chocolate ganache, and knew this was the perfect recipe, so I had to let go of my secret. As of yet, I haven’t shared it here with you, but felt it was time to indulge all of my fabulous readers with this delectable sweet.
Many of you are familiar with a traditional Ohio candy, called a buckeye, made with peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter. I used a variation of this recipe to make my Pink Fuzzy Slipper Cookies, and really like it. Well, this is not that recipe. Years ago when I opened my candy shop in Ohio, I wanted to differentiate my buckeyes from those made by home cooks. Everyone in Ohio makes these candies, well almost everyone (am I right Ohioans?), so I wanted to sell something no one else made, and, of course, wanted it to taste even better.
After a lot of experimenting, I came up with what I consider to be the ultimate peanut butter filling; it’s so rich and creamy, full of peanut butter flavor, and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. To create such a luscious filling, you need to avoid powdered sugar and butter all together and instead use white confectionery coating (or white chips) and peanut butter chips. Melted and mixed with peanut butter and a pinch of salt, to bring out the peanutty flavor, it can be used for so many different recipes. If left to sit at room temperature overnight, it can be scooped and rolled into balls to make buckeyes. But, even better, if poured into a plastic candy mold, a silicone mold, or a cookie cutter, it can be frozen solid, then popped out of the mold. After a short time, it thaws and becomes the consistency of soft fudge. I’ve created tarts, cakes, mousse, frosting, and even pies using this basic recipe. I’m sure I’ll share some of those ideas in the future, but for now here is the recipe to make sweet hearts for Valentine’s Day.
Fudgy Peanut Butter and Chocolate Valentine’s Day Hearts
16 ounces white confectionery coating*
1 – 10 ounce bag Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
16 ounces (2 cups) creamy peanut butter (I suggest Jif Peanut Butter)
a pinch of salt
Optional Ganache Drizzle:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon corn syrup
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
microwave safe mixing bowl
Use one or more of these types of molds:
*I personally use Peter’s White Caps which you can usually find at cake/candy decorating stores, but Merken’s white coating also has a good flavor for this recipe. A grocery store option is to use Nestle Premier White Morsels (white chips,) which when melted may need a teaspoon of vegetable oil stirred in, if it’s too thick, but they have the right flavor. If you don’t have much experience working with these confectionery coatings or other types of chocolate, you might want to read my Chocolate Making Tips.
Place white confectionery coating wafers and peanut butter chips in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Heat on high power for 45 seconds. Remove and stir the chips around or they will burn. Heat for 30 more seconds, then stir. Heat for 25 seconds, then let it sit in the microwave for 2-3 minutes, then stir vigorously. If all of the chips are not melted, heat at ten second intervals, stirring in between each, until completely melted. Stir in peanut butter and salt. Make sure to mix really well, scraping the bottom of the bowl. If you don’t stir the peanut butter into the candy, you’ll end up with clumps of hardened candy coating in your fudgy hearts.
Pour into molds. I filled my Wilton Silicone Heart molds about 2/3 of the way and the same for the cookie cutters. I filled the candy molds to the top. The number of hearts you’ll be able to make will depend on the size of the molds you use. You can also make one large heart by pouring it into a heart shaped spring form pan. You could even use an aluminum heart pan.
Freeze fudgy peanut butter hearts until solid. The small molds took about 15 minutes, while the larger ones took about 45 minutes. Un-mold. If using candy molds, turn the mold upside down and tap it and they should fall out, if not, press on the heart allowing each one to fall out of the mold. The hearts should just pop right out of the cookie cutters. If you are using silicone molds, turn them upside down and peel the mold away, turning it inside out, pressing the heart out. Unlock a springform pan, and remove the heart.
You can serve these hearts as is, just be sure to allow them to come up to room temperature. They will be sturdy, yet when bitten into they will have a melt-in-your-mouth creamy texture. To dress these hearts up a bit you can opt to drizzle or cover them in chocolate ganache (recipe below) or a chocolate ice cream/dessert sauce. You can also dip them in melted and tempered pure chocolate or melted confectionery coating (make sure the hearts are at room temperature before dipping or they will crack.)
Chocolate Ganache Recipe:
Place chopped chocolate in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until chocolate is fine crumbs. Heat heavy whipping cream and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir often until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, put lid on the food processor bowl, and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Pulse for 5 seconds. Remove lid and scrape down the sides and bottom of the food processor bowl. Return lid and pulse until the mixture, which is called ganache, is smooth. Dont’ over-mix your ganache or it will turn grainy as it sets up.
Note: A food processor makes easy work of creating a chocolate ganache. If you don’t have one, finely chop your chocolate and put it in a microwave safe mixing bowl. Boil cream as above and pour over chocolate and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Use a whisk to create an emulsion. Begin by stirring just in the center of the bowl, then slowly bring the whisk out to the edge of the bowl. Stir just until combined and the ganache is smooth. If you have chunks of chocolate remaining, place entire bowl in microwave and heat on high for 10 seconds. Stir until melted.
Trouble Shooting Ganache: If your ganache gets too hot the cocoa butter from the chocolate will separate and rise to the surface. The cocoa butter will harden as the ganache cools and you will have chunks of cocoa butter throughout. This can happen if you add cream that is too hot or get the ganache too hot in the microwave. If your ganache does separate or look oily, add a little cold whipping cream (a tablespoon at a time) and mix until smooth.
Store your peanut butter hearts in an airtight container at room temperature for about a month You can also keep them frozen for up to 6 months. If you add chocolate ganache to your hearts, you need to consume them within two weeks. Serve at room temperature.
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Items used in making this recipe