Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Peanut Butter Bears... er, BARS

At the risk of becoming a one-trick pony, I'm returning to the world of homemade chocolates, which I wrote about way back in October (which is to say, the post before last). As noted there, I was looking forward to experimenting with different fats and sugars to create the optimum dark chocolate experience (for the record, I've gravitated toward coconut oil and maple syrup).

My experiments, however, have moved in a different direction. A delicious, delicious direction that might help, in some small way, to bring peanut butter more firmly into the world of low-carb deliciousness.

There's a product, which is actually meant more for the low-fat crowd than the low-carbers of the world: it's called PB2, and the basic idea is that they take peanuts and squeeze out all the fat. Fat which, on a low-carb diet, isn't really a big deal (we're more concerned with added sugar). And there is some of that--the ingredient list for PB2 is roasted peanuts, sugar, and salt. The reason I went in this direction was because 1) my wife had already bought this product and 2) since it's powdered, I suspected that I could use it in a way similar to cocoa powder in my chocolate recipe.

And it turns out that, yes, I could. While it does seem counter-intuitive to take a product that had the fat removed and add fat back in, besides the convenience of using a tried and true recipe with little adjustment, there's the further advantage of getting a really healthy fat in there. The result looked something like this:

1/4 c. coconut oil (or other fat source), melted
1 T. or less raw honey or pure maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
a pinch of salt
1/2 c. PB2

Melt your fat in the microwave, mix in your sweetener, vanilla, and salt. Mix in the PB2 and pour into cute little silicone bear molds or other vessel for forming bars. A food scale can help to get bars to be a consistent size. Place in a freezer to harden them. Leave in freezer or move to fridge.

After making these bears--which tasted rather like peanut butter fudge--I took my candy-making a step further, seeking a peanut butter cup for the low-carber. My wife wasn't a big fan--too little sugar overall--but I quite liked my dark chocolate peanut butter cup bears.

My method was simply to make a batch of the dark chocolate and of the peanut butter treats above, then I put a silicone mold onto a food scale. I put around 7g of the chocolate on the bottom, then 15g of peanut butter, and then 7g more on top--that last chocolate, as it happened, didn't really form a distinct layer: it blended into a sort of swirl, but I was pretty happy with the result. 

So happy, in fact, that I probably won't make this again.

You see, treats like this are just a bit too appealing. Eating 25g--or even 50g--of dark chocolate peanut butter bears fits fine into a low-carb diet. Eating the 200g or so that the recipe makes, all in one sitting? Not so much.

It's worth noting that, unless you're deep into a low-carb diet, this probably won't taste "sweet" with the amount of maple syrup that I used--you could, of course, use more, if carbs aren't really your concern. You could also put down the first chocolate layer and the peanut butter, freeze that for a while, and then finish each with a final layer, which would make it just that much more like a peanut butter cup.

But my sense is that there ain't nobody got time for that.

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