So. All of the snow has amounted to plenty of time around the home. This morning I tried for almost two hours to get my car out of the driveway before giving up and retreating back inside. The Mister, who was stranded for the night at my mother's house, had not yet arrived home to help. Thankfully, the sun came out today and melted quite a bit of the ice, so perhaps better things are on the way. Okay, not really. More snow is supposed to arrive early next week.
We have this dog we call Rascal, an Australian Cattle Dog. Rascal idolizes my husband. That dog never stops looking at him, following him, and waiting for his return. We had read that this breed of dog gets very attached to their owners, but we had no idea. Whenever my husband goes outside to clear more snow, Rascal sits there and stares at the door waiting for the Mister's return. If it takes a while, the devoted dog just falls alseep on the floor, facing in the direction of the door. Anyway, here she is in action....
Do I even need to tell you how much my husband enjoys this?
While Rascal entertains us with her loyalty, I tried my hand at some candy making. For an upcoming bake sale at the library, I signed up to make homemade chocolate peanut butter cups. This was rather daring as I am not a candy maker at all. The recipe looked easy enough, but I'm glad that I did a trial run to figure out the challenges ahead of time! The recipe was from Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It and Other Cooking Projects by Karen Solomon.
1 and 1/3 cups fresh roasted and salted peanuts
2 tsp. honey
1 tsp. canola oil
2 T confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups chopped chocolate
You will also need: A cupcake or muffin pan filled with cupcake liners.
To make the peanut butter filling, puree the peanuts for 3-4 minutes in your food processor until very smooth. Add the honey, oil, sugar, vanilla, and salt and puree until completely combined, scraping down the sides as you work.
Take about 2 tsp. of the peanut butter mixture in your hand and make a tiny hamburger patty that will fit into the center of your cupcake liner without touching the sides. Shape the remaining 11 centers.
To prepare the coating, you need to melt the chopped chcolate in one of two ways. You can use the double boiler method, but in the interest of speed, I prefer the microwave. Place about half the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on high for a minute. Stir, then heat again for 30 seconds. Stir. Keep heating as needed until the chocolate is melted and satiny and drops like ribbons from the end of a fork. I will note that the recipe suggests using chocolate chips, but I really advise against that. Chocolate chips are designed not to melt and as such are difficult to melt in the microwave.
Once your chocolate is melted, working quickly, spoon about 2 tsp. of chocolate in the bottom of the cupcake liners, being careful to completely coat the bottom in a thin layer. Gently drop the peanut butter discks into the center of each cup and give it a gentle tap to secure it in the chocolate (but do not puch it all the way to the bottom). Cover each center with additional chocolate until the disk is covered and the sides are coated. Chocolate should be evenly distributed. Finally, let it sit undisturbed for four hours until the cups harden completely.
Store up to two weeks in an airtight container, but do not refrigerate.
We found these to be good, not nearly as salty as commercial pb cups, and much more generous with the chocolate.