|It's like Portlandia's put a bird on it: "Put it in a mason jar!" Honestly, even the homeliest thing--spelt, dirt, slug and snail poison--as soon as it's in a mason jar, it's just quaint as can be.|
(I am reminded of Billy Collins’s poem “The Lanyard.” This is part of it:
I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.
She gave me life and milk from her breasts,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sick room,
lifted spoons of medicine to my lips,
laid cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.)
Anyhoo, this is our lanyard for you, dear teachers, who sacrifice sleep and sanity so that our children can rise to their bright and shining potential. Our edible, holiday lanyard. Had they not turned out so ugly, though, the peanut butter cups might have verged on the magnificent, so tasty are they, so salty and true to the Reese’s genre, and yet some how more cleanly peanutty. Delicious.
However, we used the wrong size of wrapper, and so the
candies went epically wrong, in so far as something utterly meaningless and
with more or less nonexistently low stakes can go epically wrong. And I’ve said
it before, but, sheesh. That Birdy is a peach. Because I’d cut too big a whole
in the Ziploc bag, and because it had somehow failed to seal properly along the
zipper, there was chocolate everywhere, and I was in my full-on holiday binge
of cursing. (“Fuck. Don’t step there. There’s chocolate on the floor. Fucking
And Birdy just laughed and laughed, problem-solving like the engineering superstar that she is. (“I’m tearing the filling in half, and that’s making more
or less the perfect size. They’re going to taste good, we know that, and that’s really the
If we don't connect again before the holidays, I hope yours are joyful in every way.
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
|Maybe they came out nice. I really can't even tell anymore. We picked out the best ones for the teachers. If they are allergic to peanuts, I hope they will not mention that fact to me.|
|Birdy had so much chocolate on her hands that I started to suspect her of having more than the average number of fingers.|
|This picture perfectly illustrates a) how ugly these are but also, if you meet them halfway with your imagination here, b) how delicious.|
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Makes around 4 dozen (or, if you do it wrong, 6 or even 8 dozen)
This is adapted from the Homemade Peanut Butter Cups recipe on Food52. Actually, it is barely adapted, except for the adding of vanilla and the using of the wrong size of wrappers, thereby screwing up the entire recipe. Also, we only needed 2 (rather than 3) bags of chocolate, but that, also, is likely a result of our negligence re. wrapper size. I would really like to make these with a pinch of cayenne in the filling, but this is not a popular idea around here.
1 cup unsalted peanut butter (we used the kind you grind fresh out of a nozzle at Whole Foods, which was something we’d always wanted to try)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (I used salted. I know.)
1/3 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon kosher salt
24 ounces (2 bags) milk chocolate chips (use dark if you prefer)
Arrange mini cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet. Mini cupcake wrappers are not the same as foil candy wrappers, which are much smaller. You can use either, but they require different sizes of filling discs, depending. We learned this the hard way.
Mix together peanut butter, butter, sugars, vanilla and salt in a bowl. Taste, then add more salt if it needs a little punch. Make 1-teaspoon balls of the mixture, then flatten these slightly into disks. Again, if you are using candy wrappers by mistake, you will need balls that are about half this size. Sigh.
Melt the chocolate. I did this in a glass measuring cup in the microwave, but a double boiler works well too. Transfer the melted chocolate to a Ziploc freezer bag (this is a two person job), then snip a tiny corner off the bag. Tiny. Unless you want to get chocolate all the fuck over the place and then, by all means, snip off a nice big corner.
Squeeze out just enough chocolate in to fill the bottom of the wrapper (I squeezed blobs, and Birdy sort of swirled them flat with her finger). At this point, you are supposed to refrigerate until firm, but we did not.
Arrange the filling disks on top of the chocolate, then squeeze more chocolate on top to cover the peanut butter filling and to fill in the wrapper (again, we found the finger-swirling method handy here). This is not a tidy process, just FYI.
Sprinkle the tops with a little extra coarse sea salt if you like, then refrigerate the candies or, if your house is inexplicably freezing, just leave them out on the counter.