Oh, man. The Fourth of July around my house is a mad zone. I mean, insane! Here’s the thing – Andy and I live pretty much in the backyard of where fireworks go off in my town. You walk outside and BAM! You’re under the ‘works. I love the sense of community that it brings out – people everywhere… on foot, in cars, on blankets. It’s a blast – that is, when you’re already home before the ‘works go off.
You see, we spent the evening with some family a couple towns away. Upon our travels home, we realized we’d be entering our town just as the fireworks were being set off. This is not a good idea. I don’t know how we end up getting ourselves into these messes. There are about 5 different ways to get to my home (some of which are one-ways streets). Two ways were blocked off by the police. Two were crammed with people sitting on top of their cars (in the middle of the road). But there was one left. One last hope to get home before the rush of firework-happy people came flooding through our neighborhood. We came within 20 feet of our house. I could throw my chapstick out the window and hit our driveway. But, we couldn’t get through. Cars were everywhere! It was like that little board game where you have to get the red car out of the traffic jam. We were that car.
Luckily, Andy had some pretty sweet maneuvering skills and got us out of the mess. But we weren’t home. We ended up having to park a mile away and just decided to walk home. 20 feet from our house and we couldn’t get in. It was wild.
We had a great Fourth. Our niece, Ella, came for a sleep-over. We did sparklers.
We made pancakes.
And we spent the afternoon lounging like fish in the pool (big thanks to Mom, Pop, Lisa and Jen for letting us crash your pad and splash in your pool).
It was good spending time with family and seeing everyone relax. Mimi’s garden is bursting with life and she is teaching me how to help mine along. FaFa grilled up ribs. Nathan made us laugh. Ryan tried to kill us with fireworks. It was great.
Alright, alright. Now on to what you really want to see.
Chocolate. Peanut Butter. Mini Cups. Yum.
These things are originally a vegan recipe, but since I’m not a vegan and don’t mind using dairy products, I switched things out a bit. First things first, you need supplies. The victims: Peanut butter, chocolate chips, milk of some sort (I used coconut), graham crackers, sugar (I used turbinado), butter, and toppings (like peanuts and banana chips).
Before you get started, line a mini muffin tin with some liners. Use a mini muffin tin because these things are rich, baby!
Next, dump a stick of butter in a pan. Melt over medium-low heat.
While that is melting, smash the heck out of your graham crackers. Crumbs will probably fly out onto the counter. Don’t worry about it. Baking is messy. I used my meat tenderizer to whack at my crackers. A hammer will do, too. Or a food processor if you’d like to get fancy.
Once the butter is melted, toss in your sugar, graham cracker crumbs, and peanut butter. Channel Bob Marley and “stir it up.”
Now – the peanut butter mixture was a little thin. I figured it woud be hard to spoon the batter into the muffin liners, so I poured the mixture into a ziploc bag and snipped a corner off to form a pastry bag. I piped the batter into the muffin liners – this made it much easier to work with. And probably saved me from a wicked mess. However you want to do it, get those cups filled with delicious peanut butter batter.
Once you have those filled, melt your chocolate and milk in a double boiler. (*I had to double the chocolate topping, using 2 cups of chocolate and 1/2 cup of coconut milk. I like my chocolate to peanut butter ratio to be a little more aggressive.)
When the chocolate and milk are one melty cohesive substance, start spooning the chocolate topping over your peanut butter. You’ll need to use the back of the spoon to spread it out a bit.
Now comes the fun part – decorating! Grab whatever you think would be fantastic, and sprinkle it on top of your cups. I used banana chips and peanuts. I also left some plain. But even the plain ones are oh-so-not-plain. They are oh-so-scrumptious.
Pop them in the freezer (I lucked out that I had room!) for about an hour.
This is going to set the cups so they’re solid. You’ll want to keep them in the freezer (especially if you use natural peanut butter which is quite runny) and just pull them out 15 minutes before you serve. This will make them smooth enough to bite into.
These things are magical. They are very rich. And very cute. And very easy. A crowd pleaser, for sure.