Introduction: Vegetarian Bacon Peanut Butter Cups
It sounds amazing, right? We already love salty peanut butter with sweet chocolate, and many foodies are experimenting with salty bacon and chocolate, so the combination seemed so obvious, I had to try it!
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
There are several different ways to do this, but melting chocolate is always a bit tricky. You really need to pay attention to keep it nice and melty.
- 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
This step is also tricky, because you will have to do this while keeping an eye on your melting chocolate. So, my tip is to do the cups a few at a time. Stir, coat, stir, coat. My hands are a bit shaky, so the coating was a messy affair for me.
- 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
Remembering our time from step 2, we will be melting the chocolate again and then topping off our peanut butter cups.
- 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.