Have you ever heard of recipes that recreate famous food items? I’m talking about food usually found in fast food chains or candy bars that have become a part of our modern food culture? Copycat recipes that claim that you can replicate famous foods like a McDonald’s Bic Mac right in your own kitchen?
These recipes exist, and thanks to the internet, they are readily available.
I have never followed one of these recipes before, but thanks to a friend and a dare, I decided to see if I could truly recreate a top secret recipe.
The dare: Can I really recreate Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?
Most of us love a good Resee’s product. Their mini cups are great. Their peanut butter and chocolate is like no other peanut butter out there.
I knew that when my friend challenged me to recreate them, the secret would be in the peanut butter.
I found this recipe online that claimed to be the guiding star towards Resee’s glory.
As always, I learned a few things from this adventure:
1) Copycat recipe books have existed for a while, and it seems like Todd Wilbur is our man. He has his own TV show now and over a dozen books. He seems to be the guru of recipe recreation. He has the recipes from Oreos to Bloomin Onions. I have a feeling that I will be using Todd as a resource in future experiments.
This post is not supposed to challenge Todd’s recipes or hard work. I DID tweak his recipe a bit (see below). I just wanted to see how close I could come to recreating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, using Todd’s recipe as a guide.
Also, because of Todd’s blog, I have a new hero:
2) The second thing I learned is that when you are melting chocolate, STAY AWAY FROM WATER AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE! More on that below.
The Secret Recipe
If I didn’t make this clear before, all credit for this recipe goes to Todd Wilbur.
He says the trick to recreating Reese’s peanut butter is low-fat or fat-free. This creates a rougher texture, which is key.
As I usually do, I scan the comments sections of online recipes (and this is a great tip if you are relying on these internet cooking guides. I have learned a lot, especially when a commentor says that this recipe is not good).
I found one comment by a person named Rico Cup, who claims that this recipe is an improvement over Todd’s older version (he apparently updated this Reese’s recipe, which is great). More importantly, he confirms to use peanut butter with no fat. None. Also no salt, no sugar.
Here is the peanut butter I used:
Like other super healthy/natural peanut butter, a great deal of oil rises to the top if left alone; this is a pain when you want a creamier peanut butter (one would simply mix it in) but perfect for this recipe. What I did was this: I slowly and carefully tilted the jar as soon as I opened it, without shaking it too much, and let as much oil drip out. Then I was left with drier peanut butter, which is an important factor when aiming for the correct texture.
Enough talk, here is the recipe:
one 12-ounce package of milk chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli. Always use great ingredients).
1 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon of sat
12 paper muffin cups
1. Melt the chocolate. Once melted, pour in the paper cups while “drawing the chocolate up the edges of the cup with the back of the spoon.” Put in fridge to harden.
2. Combine peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt in a bowl.
3. Once the chocolate in the paper cups hardened, microwave the peanut butter for a bit to soften, place in the chocolate, and put back in the fridge to harden.
4. Once the peanut butter is hard, re-melt chocolate and cover the cool and hardened peanut butter/chocolate cup. Cool in the fridge again, and once everything is hardened, pull out and take paper muffin cup off.
What actually happened:
So not everything went to plan.
First, I didn’t sift the powdered sugar. Everyone who tries this recipe, please sift the powdered sugar (sifting means putting a fine, loose or powdery substance through a sieve to remove lumps or large particles). There were boulders of powdered sugar that required more stirring once I combined it with the peanut butter. As you read above, I needed non-oily peanut butter for the better texture, so mixing was a lot tougher then I imagined.
Second…well, let me tell you how the recipe said to melt the chocolate: put chips in bowl, microwave for 2 minutes with the power at 50%. Stir, let rest, and if it needs to melt more, put it in for 30 more seconds with the power still at 50%.
Here is how I melted the chocolate.
I chose the double boiler method. Why…because I thought it made me look cool, that’s why.
I put a glass bowl inside a large pot that had just enough water in it so it didn’t spill into the bowl (foreshadowing!). I turned the heat up to medium-low, then I carefully poured the chocolate in the bowl and stirred it while it melted.
But guess what’s not supposed to happen: NO WATER CAN TOUCH THE CHOCOLATE. If even a DROP touches the chocolate, it will completely seize up. Harden up. The opposite of melted chocolate.
Drops of water splashed into the chocolate when I moved the bowl too much in the pot. I literally mean drops, no more than a teaspoon.
I quickly looked up ways to remedy this situation. The stiff chocolate now needed butter or vegetable oil. I poured in a bit of veggie oil, mixed it up, and it eventually softened.
But not enough to carefully “draw it up” the edge of the paper cups, to create a wall. Essentially, by this point, the recipe was ruined. I have failed (kind of).
I ditched the plan to recreate the peanut butter cups we are all used to, and set my sights on just creating my very own delicious abomination:
Obedient Ingredient’s Rich Gooey Mess of Peanut Butter and Chocolate Goodness (copyrighted)
…now in a cup!
Honestly, what mattered was the taste, and the peanut butter tasted great. I added another 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and it tasted just like Reese’s!
I served these at a dinner party. I asked “do these taste like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups?”
All 5 of my guests said yes, absolutely. But it tasted better. More rich. But the peanut butter was spot on, they all said.
Good enough for me.
Halloween Bonus: Do you not want to suck this year at giving away candy? Look at what is the #1 popular candy. Now make it homemade, like I did.
I had so much peanut butter left over that I melted some dark chocolate (in the microwave this time, dummy!) and poured it on the peanut butter, put all of that in the fridge, and yeah, it was amazing.