Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Peanut Butter Mousse Cups

    Ever wonder what to do with all of that left over holiday chocolate (other than eat it and tell the kids that they should have lifted their bags because 'the dog ate all their candy')?  I have created the most amazingly frugal, crowd pleasing treat.  For the record, this is Easter chocolate, not Christmas chocolate.  I think this will go down as my most requested treat of all time.  It is so good that I sometimes debate giving out the recipe.  Why do I debate?  Mainly because I am not as nice as I pretend to be!  

    I begin by melting down a chocolate bunny, I suppose that chocolate wafers would do, but it just wouldn't have that same Fatal Attraction feel to it.  I use the double boiler effect.  I say double boiler effect, because I use my dutch oven filled half way with water, and a sauce pan on the top.  I like to bring the water to a boil before I put the chocolate pot on the top.  I then turn it to low heat.  The micro wave is technically faster, but the double boiler effect is really the way to go.  By going old school, it allows the chocolate to remain soft and melted, without needing to constantly reheat it and then usually burn/ harden it.  

    A while back I bought these adorable silicone muffin liners for the kids lunches.  I have to admit that putting silicone in the oven makes me nervous, so I have never tried that.  I bought these to put into the kids lunch containers and brighten their lunches up.  What I didn't know when I bought them, was that they make awesome chocolate molds.  I put about a large tablespoon of chocolate in the bottom of each mold.  I then placed a second empty silicone liner on top of the wet chocolate and gently pushed down. The last thing that I did was put them in the fridge.  It took about 10 minutes for them to harden up.

    I made a peanut butter mousse to fill the chocolate molds next.  I used...

1  8 oz pkg. of cream cheese                                     1 cup of icing sugar
3/4 cup of smooth peanut butter                                1/2 cup of cream (or milk would do)
1 tsp of vanilla                                                           1 pkg. of dessert topping (dream whip)

This is a recipe where I really love my Kitchen Aid stand mixer, but a hand mixer would do just as good of a job.  The first thing that I did was to make my dessert topping mix.  I like the no-name brand because it costs $3.50 for four envelopes of mix.  I made it according to the instructions on the back of the box.  When it was finished I scraped it out of the bowl and put it to the side for later.

Next I put in a room temperature brick of cream cheese.  I have discovered the hard way that if you don't let it sit out on the counter before using it, the cream cheese does not properly incorporate into the mixture.  It leaves tiny little unmixed balls of cream cheese throughout the mixture.  Next I very carefully poured in the icing sugar.  Once again I learned a lesson about why you should either shut down the stand mixer or put it on low when adding any dry ingredients.  I looked like a ghost (as did my kitchen) with that thin layer of powder everywhere the time I was too impatient to get my job done. The icing sugar flew everywhere!  The peanut butter is the next thing to add.  I use smooth peanut butter, but really you can use any.  Chunky peanut butter would give it a really nice texture.   Mix it all into together.  Add the milk and vanilla next.  I took the bowl off of the mixer and then gently folded in the dessert topping (who am I kidding, I just poured that bad boy in, even though I was supposed to 'fold it in gently'.  I used my stand mixer and just went to town).  

I spooned my peanut butter mouse into a pastry bag, and piped it into my chocolate molds.  If I was just making these for my own family, I would just spoon the mix in.  I made these for an occasion, so I wanted them to look pretty (and for people to be impressed by my mad skills, if truth be told).

The last thing to do is to grate some chocolate onto the top of them to make them look extra pretty.

    So there you have it, a way to use up extra children's holiday chocolate, and impress your friends with your amazing culinary skills.

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