I, like many people out there, eat a vegetarian diet, so my instructions use a veggie-friendly bacon stand-in. Of course, if you're of the vegan persuasion, the recipe can be easily adapted with milk-free chocolate and vegan bacon crumbles. Surely, anyone can get behind something so awesome!
You will need:
- Vegetarian imitation bacon bits (I found them near the salad dressings in my local grocer)
- 2 12-oz bags of meltable chocolate chips (I used milk chocolate because I love it, but you can use any kind of chocolate you like)
- 2 cups peanut butter (I highly suggest salty, chunky PB)
- 1 table spoon of butter or substitute
- 24 or so mini baking cups (I used earth-friendly cups that I stumbled on called "If you care"
- A sauce pot, a flat surface, a table spoon, a wooden spoon and/or spatula
*This process is pretty messy, so be prepared!
Step 1: Mise En Place
Spread out your baking cups on a flat surface near to where you will be melting your chocolate.
Step 2: Melting the Chocolate
- In your sauce pot, turn the heat up to medium/high to melt a tablespoon of butter. Tilt the pot, sliding the melting butter along all surfaces in the pot. This makes it a bit less sticky in there.
- Pour your chocolate chips into the sauce pot and turn the heat down to medium/low heat.
- Remember to stir constantly with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scraping the sides of the pot all the while. You want to keep the chocolate from burning.
- If the chocolate starts to stiffen, raise the heat a little bit while stirring and watch to make sure it does not burn.
Step 3: Coating the Cups
- Dip the back of a table spoon into your melted chocolate.
- With your other hand, grab one of your mini baking cups and run the back of the spoon up against the inside.
- This thin coating of melted chocolate will be the outer shell of your candy, so make sure to cover the entire inside of the baking cup as evenly as possible.
- Once this step is done, remove the chocolate-filled sauce pan from heat and turn it off for now.
-* At this point, you can wait a bit to let the coating harden (which takes about 15 minutes) or pop it in the freezer for a few minutes.
Step 4: Peanut Butter Bacon Time
Now we add gobs of delicious, salty peanut butter and vegetarian (or not) bacon to our cups. This step is pretty stress-free!
- Once shells have hardened, spoon table-spoon-sized balls of peanut butter into the centers of the cups.
-* If your peanut butter is a bit runny, cooling it in the freezer is a handy way to stiffen it up a bit.
- On top of the peanut butter, drop a pinch or three (or more, if you like) of our imitation bacon crumbles. The amount of bacon you wish to add depends on your own tastes.
- Make sure to save some bacon crumbles to top off your cups when you're done.
Step 5: Topping It All Off
- Place the sauce pot with our chocolate on the stove again and very slowly, while stirring, raise the heat to melt the chocolate.
- Using your spoon, drop a layer of chocolate covering each peanut butter cup, making sure to cover all of the fillings inside.
- Using the back of your spoon, feel free to make a little swirl on the top for aesthetics (my hands are shaky, so my swirls aren't winning any beauty contests, but it is really easy to do).
- Finally, place a few of your remaining bacon crumbles on top.
- Allow the chocolate to again harden (either wait 30 minutes or so, or pop in the freezer).
- Enjoy and share your amazing, unique, home-made candies.