Thursday, May 06, 2010

Peanut Butter Rats

Hello faithful followers (if any of you exist?). I'm off on an adventure in the land of cowboys and conservatives, but for once I've planned ahead and have a few posts scheduled to publish in my absence, starting with:

Peanut Butter Rats!

My 2nd dessert for the Goth Party was a bit more time consuming, but much more creative as well. I had an idea in the back of my mind that skulls, spiders, bats, and rats were all dark and "gothy," so food in any of those shapes would work. From that came Peanut Butter Rats.

I started with my go-to peanut butter ball recipe.

When the filling had chilled, I molded it into mouse-like shapes (thinking of a computer mouse actually was pretty helpful) and laid them on a wax-paper coated tray. I added a pretzel tail - using pieces that had been broken off of large pretzels, particularly curves. I had considered using licorice, but I much prefer the taste of pretzels, especially when dipped in chocolate. For ears, I used Wilton Candy Melts - I happened to have a few peanut butter ones left over from my last project, which would keep the taste consistent. They were the perfect size.

The chocolate dipping part was fairly complicated. Curse Bakerella for making it look so easy with her cake pops :)

When the peanut butter gets warm, it droops and melts immediately, and the rats were larger than the 1" balls you usually make for this recipe. I ended up balancing them on a fork and scooping the chocolate over them (from a double boiler), trying to do as little damage as possible when removing them from the fork and placing back on the waxed paper (this was a challenge), and then once they cooled I flipped them over and added more chocolate to the "naked" parts the fork was covering during the first dip.

I was having problems keeping my chocolate consistent temperatures, so I burnt myself a few times and got a little gun shy in handling them - if you had a steadier hand you could probably get a smoother coating, but I don't think I did too bad:

I'd dip 3-4 and let them sit for a moment before adding the eyes, which were thick yellow sprinkles that came in a pirate decorating pack (I think they were supposed to be gold coins). Since the chocolate coating was still soft when I added them, I didn't need to mess around with making tiny dots to secure them, I just pressed them into the cooling chocolate. They were simple but creepy with their bright yellow color.

They ended up being a little big as far as eating - about 3" X 2", so that's a pretty big peanut butter cup, but they were still tasty! I didn't want to make them any smaller and have to spend twice as long dipping, so it was a trade off :) A few times I melted the ears off and had to repair. Several of the rats looked like they'd eaten radioactive waste or gotten smashed in a trap, but I felt that was still acceptable for a goth party :)

Clearly this would also work well for Halloween, or you could try other shapes - I'd never do these for my own Halloween party because it's too much work with everything else I try to get done, but for an event where I'm just bringing a dish, I'd be willing to try it again.

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