Born of the Midwest, I have a penchant for kitschy recipes. Give me a casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and topped with potato chips, and I could pass out from the hilarious joy of it all. There's just something so great about recipes that are simple and sinfully delicious and contain ingredients that can never be found in nature. Take Haystacks, for example. Melted butterscotch chips, peanut butter and chow mein noodles, for Pete's sake. Wad the mixture up in little mounds, put it in your face, AMAZING.
Now say you take something already perfect like Haystacks, up the fabulous by adding butter and a nice hit of salt, and then dip it in bittersweet chocolate. Hubba, hubba. Not that you need any help (did I tell you that you look terrific today?), but I'd say we're gonna get you a whole bunch of pining Valentines with this one.
When it comes to the ultimate in flavor and textural dreams, these little babies will just about blow your mind. I mean, you've got a chocolate shell, so, awesome already, obviously. But inside that chocolate casing, you've got a creamy, buttery, peanutty filling, studded with two kinds of crunch--a sturdy one from peanuts, and a more delicate, crispy crunch from those crazy chow mein noodles. I-yi-yi.
And the best part? These are so insanely easy, guys. You'll have instant Valentine's Day gifts that will make you an absolute hero. And plenty of leftovers so you can be your own Valentine and savor them slowly while watching trashy reality programming. Perfection!
Peanut Butter Crunch Truffles
Normally, you want commercial peanut butters for baking, but here, the texture and huge peanutty flavor of unsweetened natural peanut butter is the best choice.
Melt the butterscotch chips slowly and gently--they can have a tendency to burn and seize up. 50% power for 30 second increments, stirring well after each interval works well. You can also use a double boiler.
Chow mein noodles can be found in cans or cellophane bags in the Asian foods aisle of your supermarket.
Makes about 30
1 cup well-stirred crunchy natural peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 ounces butterscotch chips, melted
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (or about 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
1 1/2 cups chow mein noodles (see note)
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the peanut butter and butter. Beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the melted butterscotch chips, sugar and salt. Reduce the speed to low and stir in the chow mein noodles, until the mixture is well-blended and the noodles have broken up a bit, about 30 seconds or so.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper, waxed paper or a silicone baking mat. Using a small ice cream scoop or two spoons, scoop out portions of the mixture, about 2 teaspoonsful for each truffle. Roll each portion into a rough ball using your hands. Work quickly when you roll the balls--the mixture will melt a bit with the warmth of your hands and get a bit messy, but no worries, perfection isn't the goal here. Place the truffle centers back on the baking sheet and freeze until very firm--at least 30 minutes.
When you're ready to dip the truffles, place half the chopped chocolate in a double boiler (a glass or heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water). Melt the chocolate until it is smooth and fluid. Remove the bowl from the pan and add the second half of the chocolate, stirring again until smooth (this is a quick tempering method that helps to ensure you'll get a nice, shiny chocolate coating). Place the bowl back on the pot of hot water to help keep it warm while you coat the truffles.
Dip each truffle quickly in the chocolate using a fork or a candy dipping tool. Place the dipped truffles back on the lined baking sheet. When all the truffles are dipped, chill in the refrigerator to set the chocolate. Finished truffles can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to a week.