First of a pair of fingerless gloves (Dashing):
Remaining yarn (my handspun, going on ten years old if not older, spun from the wool of sheep who are most likely dead by now. left over from this project):
I WIN AT KNITTING.
Recently, I somehow found my way to this post, in which I learned that a mysterious alchemy ensues when one combines candy corn and peanut butter, yielding something similar to the crunchy peanut filling of a Butterfinger bar. I have a deep and sincere love for mysterious kitchen alchemy, especially when candy is involved. Plus, I had some peanut butter left over from making noodles over the weekend, the Rite Aid near my office has candy corn on sale for $1, and I’m midway through a very enjoyable re-listen of the audiobook of Tana French’s Faithful Place. So, last night, I took to the kitchen.
If I owned a microwave, this project would have been even more of a doddle. It was still super easy, just more time consuming than I was expecting. I don’t have a microwave, so I set a pyrex bowl over a pot of boiling water instead. I had 6.5 ounces of natural peanut butter on hand, added the same amount by weight of candy corn, and (slowly) melted them together.
Children have grown old, civilizations have risen and fallen, the candy corn have begun to melt:
When the candy was clearly all softened but hadn’t fully incorporated, I took the mixture off the heat and mashed it with a fork.
Then I dumped it on some parchment paper and spread it out until it was roughly 1/4″ thick.
I scored it and cut it into pieces while it was still warm, since I wasn’t sure how hard it was going to get when it cooled. After it came more or less to room temperature, I stuck it in the fridge.
I melted some bittersweet chocolate that I had in the fridge (maybe 2 oz.? it was a chunk roughly the size of a deck of cards.) and stirred in about a tablespoon of vegetable oil.
I dipped each piece in the chocolate, lifting them out with a fork to let as much excess run off as possible.
Early on in the dipping process, they were gorgeous!
As the chocolate level in the dipping bowl dwindled, they started looking a little … sadder.
But they ended up tasting delicious and, yes, creepily similar to your standard-issue Butterfinger, though thanks to the no-sugar peanut butter and bittersweet chocolate, definitely less sweet.
Would I make them again? For sure. It’s a super easy project and reasonably impressive, provided you don’t tell your co-workers exactly how to make them before they take their first bite. If I do holiday cookie/candy gifts this year, it would be a fun addition to the more traditional offerings. In an ideal world, I’d love to ramp up the peanut flavor some, but I think changing the proportions too much would have a negative effect on the texture. And they’re perfectly tasty as is. I probably will make the filling thicker (1/2 – 3/4″ or so) going forward and maybe use a less-dark chocolate. I love dark, dark chocolate as much as the next girl, but I don’t think it’s always the best match for peanut butter.
Within the space of a single week, my lovely, relatively-new-on-the-scene boyfriend 1. went with me to visit my terminally ill favorite cousin (and held me through the wracking sobs afterward), 2. met every member of my immediate family, driving me all over New England in the process, AND 3. helped me assemble some Ikea furniture. Such overt good guy-ness makes me want to cook something delicious and since he has an especial fondness for (currently blogless) Carolyn D’Agostino’s Spicy Peanut Noodles, that’s what he got. I’m including her instructions for assembling the salad, but I didn’t follow them. Instead, I cooked some chicken thighs separately, shredded them and tossed the meat with whole wheat udon noodles and served it alongside a raw salad of shredded carrot, cabbage and fennel with a lemony vinaigrette.
Spicy Peanut Noodles
3 cloves garlic, peeled
a 1″ piece of ginger, peeled
a handful of cilantro
1 c. natural, unprocessed peanut butter
3 T dark brown sugar
4 T balsamic vinegar
4 T soy sauce
1–3 T chili paste with garlic
2 t dark sesame oil (I keep spicy sesame oil around and used that for a little extra kick)
about 1/2 c hot water
Put garlic, ginger, and cilantro into food processor and mince finely. Add peanut butter and all remaining ingredients. Process. If too thick (it should be the consistency of thick cream), add more hot water.
To assemble salad: Cook a pound of Chinese noodles, wheat soba, or even thin spaghetti just past the point of al dente. Run under cold water to cool thoroughly. Put in a large bowl, surrounded by sliced cucumber, red onions, mesclun, if desired. Top with cubed extra firm tofu. Pour sauce over and garnish with shredded carrots, green onions, etc.