Has it really been four months since I last posted here? Wow, time sure does fly, and an insanely busy work schedule certainly helps the weeks and months wiz by. Even though I haven’t been posting here (due to the aforementioned insane work schedule), I’ve been very busy in the kitchen and have been experimenting up a storm over the past several months.
During the first two months of the year I went dairy free and, as a result, finally became acquainted with palm shortening (that’ll happen when you can’t use butter in recipes). I worked dairy back into my diet in March , and since then I’ve been tweaking recipes for a number of gluten-free “big ones”, including white cake, yeast rolls, tortillas, cinnamon rolls, pancakes, and chewy cookies (that’s more of a sugar free challenge than a gluten free thing), and I’ve also made enchilada sauce from scratch (whirring chiles up in a blender is fun!). On the not so tasty side, things went a bit awry recently when I tried making blood orange cupcakes, which came out of the oven a very unappetizing shade of gray. They still tasted okay, though!
Today it’s all about one of my childhood favorites, Reese’s peanut butter eggs. Every Easter, I would look forward to receiving an entire package (an entire package!) of these wonderful peanut butter and chocolate treats from my grandparents, and every year I would promise myself that I was going to make them last for an entire week. I even tried putting the package in the freezer to deter myself from eating them too quickly, but it turns out that they tasted pretty awesome frozen, too. So, I was lucky if I still had any left two days later.
These days, I have to stay away from the Reese’s peanut butter eggs because all of that sugar makes me pretty miserable for a couple of days, but this year, thanks to a suggestion from my friend, Mary, I decided to make my own sugar free version. I had a happy accident on my first try, and I hope to share that with you soon, but by the third try I not only had a tummy full of peanut butter and chocolate, I also had a pretty darn good peanut butter egg.
recipe yields 10 to 12 eggs
Notes: Depending on how thick your peanut butter is at room temperature, you may have to adjust the number of crackers in the recipe. Use 2 to 4 more crackers if your peanut butter is kind of runny, and use 2 to 4 less if your peanut butter is really thick. If you’re not on a sugar free diet, you can replace the stevia and xylitol with 1/2 cup of sugar.
3.5 ounces sugar-free milk or dark chocolate
3/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/4 tsp. liquid stevia
1/4 cup xylitol
1 Tbsp. water
10 gluten-free crackers (I use Glutino brand original crackers)
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1. In a small saucepan, add the stevia, xylitol, and water. Allow to sit for a few minutes so the xylitol crystals start to dissolve. Meanwhile, add the crackers to a food processor and process until they are broken down into very fine pieces (as close to powdered as you can get).
2. Add the peanut butter and the butter to the saucepan and cook over low heat until the butter is completely melted. You’ll notice that the mixture will get thicker and will become more difficult to stir as it heats up. Remove the saucepan from heat, add the powdered crackers, and stir the mixture until the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Set aside until it’s cool enough to touch, about 10 minutes.
3. Line a small cookie sheet with the oven parchment or waxed paper. Take enough of the peanut butter and cracker mixture to make a ball about one and a quarter inches in diameter. Press the ball between your two hands until it’s about 3/8 inch thick, and mold it into an egg shaped using your fingers. Repeat this process for the remainder of the peanut butter and cracker mixture. Chill the eggs in the refrigerator for about one hour.
4. In a small, heat safe bowl, add the chocolate and cook on high in the microwave, 15 seconds at a time, until the chocolate is completely melted (about 30 – 45 seconds total), stirring after each 15 second interval. Remove the chilled peanut butter eggs from the refrigerator and, one by one, add them to the bowl of melted chocolate. Use two spoons to coat the egg in chocolate and to maneuver it around in the bowl. When the egg is completely coated, tap off any excess chocolate, and use the spoons to place the coated egg back on the lined cookie sheet. Repeat this process for the remainder of the eggs. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour before eating, or eat right away if you don’t mind getting a little messy.