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Peanut Caramel Chocolate Cups

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Peanut Caramel Chocolate Cups
(c) 2009 Elizabeth LaBau, licensed to About.com, Inc.
Peanut Caramel Chocolate Cups are chocolate candy cups with a delicious salted peanut caramel inside. The combination of bittersweet chocolate, sweet creamy caramel, crunchy nuts, and flaky sea salt is unbeatable.

You could make your own caramel to use in this recipe, but for the sake of convenience I usually use purchased soft caramels. If you would like to make your own, I recommend this recipe for soft caramels to get you started. Don't miss the photo tutorial showing how to make chocolate cups to help with that tricky step.

Yield: 25 Peanut Caramel Chocolate Cups

Ingredients:

  • 4.5 oz soft caramels (about 20 caramels, or ½ cup melted homemade caramel candy)
  • 1.5 tbsp heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp salted peanuts, chopped, plus more for decorating
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 12 ounces (about 2 cups, chopped) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Preparation:

1. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heatproof bowl. Microwave until melted, stirring after every 40 seconds to prevent overheating. Stir until smooth.

2. Using a small pastry brush (or clean paint brush), brush the chocolate up the sides of your miniature candy cups. Try to make your coating as even as possible, and swirl the cups upside down to help distribute the chocolate. Hold the cups up to the light to determine whether there are any translucent spots that did not get covered adequately. Set the remaining melted chocolate aside to use later. Here is a photo tutorial showing how to make chocolate cups.

3. Place the chocolate cups face down on a baking sheet covered with waxed paper or aluminum foil and let harden completely. Refrigerate for 15 minutes to set the chocolate.

4. While the candy cups are setting, prepare the caramel filling. Unwrap the soft caramels and place them in a microwave-safe bowl with the heavy cream. Microwave until melted and smooth, stirring after every 30 seconds. Once melted, add the 3 tbsp of chopped peanuts and the salt, and stir to combine. Taste the caramel, and add more salt or peanuts to suit your taste.

5. Allow the caramel to cool to room temperature before spooning it into the cups--you don’t want it to melt the chocolate cups.

6. Once the caramel is cool but still loose enough to easily spoon, drop it by small spoonfuls into the hardened chocolate cups. Try to fill the cups about 2/3 to ¾ full--if they are overfilled, it’s difficult to get a nice chocolate layer on top. Gently tap the baking sheet on the counter to even out the caramel.

7. If necessary, re-warm the rest of the chocolate, then spoon a bit on top of each cup, smoothing it to the edges to create a chocolate “seal” over the caramel. If desired, sprinkle the tops of the cups with chopped peanuts (or a sprinkling of sea salt) while the chocolate is still wet.

8. Refrigerate the cups to set the chocolate, about 20 minutes. Store Peanut Caramel Chocolate Cups in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Allow them to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.

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