Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays of the entire year… Peanut Butter Lovers Day! I had to celebrate in style.
When the amazing people at Hershey’s sent me some Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups for Valentine’s Day, I knew I’d celebrate in style!
Growing up, my favorite part of the Peanut Butter Cup was the middle. I’d painstakingly eat all of the chocolate off of the edges, then gently peel off the top and bottom chocolate, saving the peanut butter filling for last. When I started doing my own grocery shopping and found out they make Reese’s Peanut Butter, it totally blew my peanut butter loving mind.
Peanut Butter Fudge is actually surprisingly easy to make, and it’s SO rich and delicious. The best part of it, though, is that it tastes just like the middle of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.
Start by unwrapping a cup or two of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups Minis. Try not to eat at least a million while you do so (I failed at my attempt not to eat them).
According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts actually originated in Peru or Brazil. Even though they don’t have any fossils to prove this, it’s been the oldest known location of pottery and decor made to look like peanuts and actually decorated with peanuts. However, peanuts were considered food for animals and poor people in the early 1800’s when they got their start in the United States.
Next, you’ll want to sift 4 1/2 cups of powdered sugar. By going ahead and doing this step in advance, the fudge will go more quickly later.
It wasn’t until Barnum’s Circus, yes THAT Barnum, that peanuts were sold to the masses at circus events, saying “Hot Roasted Peanuts!” They became insanely popular after that. While Peanut Butter itself was likely invented close to when peanuts where first cultivated, it also had a delayed popularity in the United States. Kellogg, from the cereal company, was considered the first here to create peanut butter.
Now, take some time to line your pan with Saran Wrap or parchment. This will make it much easier to lift out of the pan and cut into squares!
After Kellogg came up with peanut butter, a doctor in St. Louis started using it for patients that couldn’t chew meat, since it was a great source of protein and could be eaten easily with no teeth. It wasn’t made for the masses until the World’s Fair in 1904. It became a huge lifesaver in the World Wars, as it packed a major protein punch! It’s during World War II that the peanut butter and jelly sandwich got it’s start, and it hasn’t fallen out of style since.
In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 sticks of butter and a 16 ounce container of Reese’s Creamy Peanut Butter. Creamy is important– in a crunchy peanut butter, the nuts will sink to the bottom when melted and leave an uneven, broken texture in your fudge. Creamy Peanut Butter will keep the fudge extra creamy, which is perfect for a great taste.
So what about Peanut Butter Cups, then, in terms of history? Invented by a Dairy Farmer named H.B. Reese who formerly shipped chocolate for the Hershey Company, they were popularized quickly. From day one, they were made using Hershey’s Chocolate. It wasn’t the only candy that Reese made, but it was the only one that really experienced popularity, so the others were scrapped to keep the Cups.
Stir occasionally, letting it melt, then slowly bring it to a boil. Stir in a teaspoon of vanilla.
There are now tons of varieties of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, including limited edition kinds and the oh-so-fun seasonal varieties like Reese’s eggs!
When it boils, remove it from the heat and stir the powdered sugar into it. Also stir in about half of your Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis, which will melt instantly, adding a hint of chocolate flavor to your Peanut Butter Fudge. Set this aside, then take some of your remaining Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis and line the pan with rows of them.
Carefully spread your fudge mixture into the pan, then press in some more minis, which will also melt a bit on contact. Then, resist eating it and slide it into the fridge for a minimum of 1 hour while you lick the bowl.
Then, slice and serve! As always, sharing is optional.
Are you celebrating Peanut Butter Lover’s Day tomorrow? Let me know what you’re munching on in the comments below!
Disclosure: I received Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Minis from the Hershey Company as part of the Be Mine, Hershey’s Promotion. However, any opinions stated above are my own.