Classic and Classy: Peanut Butter Cups at Home

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Tara Mann


After 10:00 pm, I am driven by a sweet-tooth so fierce that I never keep actual sweets like ice cream or cookies on hand; I'm afraid of what would happen. Then I find myself foraging through the cupboard, looking for something that will satisfy my craving.

When I stumbled on the milk chocolate disks I usually use for dessert-making, I had a vision: peanut butter cups. Chunky organic peanut butter sandwiched between really good chocolate ... instant and brilliant to my mind. I tried out the idea with both Valrhona chocolate and Guittard (which has a more overtly peanut-butter-cup shape) in a side-by-side tasting to discover how much better Valrhona really is: more deeply flavored, creamier, stunningly good.

Then I swapped out the peanut butter for some Hazelnut Praline I had in the fridge and found myself savoring the taste of gianduja—chocolate with roasted hazelnut—that made me think of a wild truffle-hunting trip to Piemonte, Italy, where they love the stuff. I'd once hauled back kilos of gianduiotti, the little foil-wrapped candy shaped like an upturned boat, from Turin, and parceled them out until they were, finally, gone.

This improvised two-ingredient midnight snack will deeply feed a crazy hunger. (The picture is the recipe ... ) Valrhona milk chocolate "feves" are available at Whole Foods Markets, or by mail-order here.

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Sally Schneider writes The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog about improvising as a daily practice. Her cookbook The Improvisational Cook is now out in paperback. More

Sally Schneider is the founder of The Improvised Life, a lifestyle blog that inspires you to devise, invent, create, make it up as you go along, from design and cooking to cultivating the creative spirit. It's been called a "zeitgeist-perfect website." She is a regular contributor to public radio's The Splendid Table and the author of the best-selling cookbooks The Improvisational Cook and A New Way to Cook, which was recently named one of the best books of the decade by The Guardian. She has won numerous awards, including four James Beard awards, for her books and magazine writing.

Sally has worked as a journalist, editor, stylist, lecturer, restaurant chef, teacher, and small-space consultant, and once wrangled 600 live snails for the photographer Irving Penn. Her varied work has been the laboratory for the themes she writes and lectures about: improvising as an essential operating principle; cultivating resourcefulness and your inner artist; design, style, and food; and anything that is cost-effective, resourceful, and outside the box.

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