Vacation plans got all sorts of wonky this summer for different reasons, and when I found I had some time, but only 2 days to plan, I ended up in chocolate town…literally: Hershey, PA.
Me: “Wait, the town’s actually called Hershey? Because of the chocolate?”
The BF: “Yeah.”
Me: “What do they have there?”
The BF: “A theme park. With rides. A hotel. Chocolate things. You know, stuff.”
The town had me at roller coasters and “chocolate things,” and after a short drive through Deliverance country [which is uncannily similar to my OH hometown] I found myself in one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever seen, even though its name is The Hotel Hershey.
In back of the hotel is the Harvest restaurant
The hotel also boasts 3 restaurants, shopping, a sports center [where I won twice at HORSE, once at tennis and once at bocce, thank you], a massive pool…the list continues. But what was truly unique was The Chocolate Spa.
Year-round skating rink
Now, I’m not the kind of girl who gets kicks from naked massages, just never been my thing, even with the vaguely Native American flutes wafting in the background. But milk chocolate bath, you say? How could I not? And from the bits of shaved chocolate soap to the chocolate shoulder waterfalls, it was well-worth being nude in semi-public and figuring out how the lockers worked
So in homage to my mini-vacay there in chocolate land, where the candy is bottomless, the rides curse-word worthy, and the local population toothless, I thought I’d whip out my mom’s old Hershey cookbook and make these homemade chocolate peanut butter cups.
What makes these little guys worth the from-scratch effort is the genuine taste of peanut butter and the double dose of milk chocolate. Did I mention I’ve had 5 hot cocoas, 2 brownies, 2 chocolate croissants, 1 chocolate tart, 1 slice of chocolate coconut pie, and a pack of chocolate Twizzlers this week as well? I think my blood is now semi-sweet
[Makes roughly 14 cups] *Note: You will need to start these the night before serving.
- Mini muffin cups
- Mini muffin liners
- Electric mixer
- Small brush
- Piping bag [optional]
- 1 bag milk chocolate chips
- 1 cup of creamy peanut butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 1 Tbl. unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 12-14 Hershey’s milk chocolate kisses
Line small muffin cups with small paper bake cups. In a microwave-safe bowl, heat the bag of milk chocolate chips on medium power for 1 min. Stir. Heat for another min. on medium. Stir. If the chocolate still isn’t melted and smooth after stirring, continue heating on medium power at 20 second intervals, stirring after each.
With a small brush, coat the inside of the muffin bake cups with the melted chocolate. Refrigerate 20 min. Re-heat the bowl of chocolate if necessary [medium power 20 sec], and re-coat the cups, making sure there are no thin spots anywhere.
Take out the muffin cups and GENTLY remove the paper liners. *Note: This is tricky. Try not to put too much pressure on the sides of the cups when trying to remove the paper. I had about 4 failures out of my 14, so if you need to make an exact amount, make sure you make a little more to compensate. Place the chocolate cups back in the fridge on a plate or in a container.
In a medium bowl, beat the sifted powdered sugar, peanut butter, butter, and vanilla extract until very smooth. Spoon the filling into a piping bag or plastic bag, cutting off the tip or the corner. Pipe the filling into the chocolate cups [If you don't have any bags, just use a spoon to plop in the filling].
Top each cup with a Hershey’s kiss and place back in the fridge until near serving time. Take out about 5-10 min. before serving.