Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Update on me (blah blah) & awesome nut butter cups

Again, apologies, as I've been terrible at keeping up the blog these days.

I've been stuck in a rut the last few months. The other day, I asked my husband if 2011 was almost over? I know...we've just barely entered the fifth month, but my attitude lately has been to put my head down, and hopefully just get through another day. It's been a dramatic year thus far, with crazy stuff happening at work, with pain that won't go away, with awkward social obligations (ie, why is everyone freaking getting married right now? Don't they know how much I detest weddings?!?! All the awful reminders of how even the best marriages can start with one of the worst days of your life...). Ahem, enough ranting ;)

I'm a habitual person. I have routines, and I like them. Get dressed, take pills, make breakfast, make lunch, go to work, be productive and happy, come home, make dinner, unwind, sleep. This whole chronic pain and physical therapy thing has thrown a seriously annoying wrench in my routine. I'm getting up earlier, getting to work later, therefore having to stay later, which then means later dinners, and less veg time. Not to mention my usual spring routine of procrastinating...ahem, I mean...getting back into shape for hiking season. Um, yeah, haven't set foot in the gym since January.

I'm also a person who enjoys her creature comforts. My comforts lately have been reading (so many great books, so little time!) and sweets. I don't normally eat a lot of sugar, as it bothers me in more ways than one. Plus my husband has insisted on removing as much sugar from our diets as possible after reading this article (skittles and voltage being the two exceptions). Anyway, so I've been feeling sorry for myself more than usual lately, and have indulged in numerous attempts to drown my sorrows in something rich and chocolaty. Which is especially not smart for someone who has stopped working out over the last 6 months.

This treat, however indulgent it might be, didn't make me feel as bad as a bowl of ice cream or a snickers bar...I was able to justify enjoying it, thanks to the use of dark chocolate and super 'licious almond butter. Plus, my tummy is happier with this than the cheap milk-chocolate store bought variety.

It really isn't as much work as it may seem. Mostly you just have to find something to do until it's ready to eat, otherwise you'll eat half melted candy, which will still be amazing, but I think this treat is best served straight from the freezer!

The original recipe comes from Kelly over at @ The Spunky Coconut. I wanted to post this in time for those of you looking for Easter candy options, but that didn't exactly pan out. Hey, maybe you can make Mom a treat this weekend. Or, just forget the margaritas tomorrow, and celebrate with chocolate instead! Better yet, have margaritas AND chocolate! Ole!

So, to make this divine dessert, you start with the fudge recipe here, and once that's made, you simply fill a dozen cups that have been lined with melted-then-slightly-frozen chocolate. Kelly got all fancy and made frosting for the top, but I just drizzled some additional melted chocolate on mine. The taste testers (the hubs, and the crew at work) loved them! My husband claimed they tasted just as good as "the real ones," which he insisted was an incredible compliment. I personally thought they were even better!

I'm not posting the recipes, since I am feeling rather lazy this evening. Plus, Kelly does a better job explaining the process of creating these masterpieces. I did, however, make a couple of changes to the fudge, which I will mention:

Her recipe calls for coconut oil. Since that stuff kills my stomach, I subbed it out. Instead I used about 50% Spectrum palm shortening and 50% canola oil. Actually, I made two batches, and this was the variation I liked best. I tried using all canola oil, which one of Kelly's readers suggested, and the fudge was just too melty. It may not have mattered in the chocolate cups, but for just plain eating out of the freezer, it was too messy.

I also used what nut butters I had on hand. Once I made the fudge with 1/2 c each creamy peanut butter and almond butter, and the second time, I used 1 full cup almond butter and 1/2 c peanut. This was to make up for the consistency issue I knew the canola oil would present. I couldn't tell a difference as far as flavor, but I really liked the mix of the two butters. You can probably use whatever you have/like/can tolerate. No doubt it will be scrumptious!

One last change. I used less agave than her recipe called for. Just over 1/3 c. It was still super sugary and delicious.

These really are amazing! So hard to just eat one. Seriously! I ate three within the first hour of making them. The rest barely survived overnight until I was able to share them with my coworkers. Even then, it was a near thing (thought about just eating them all at my desk...but I'd promised an amazing Easter treat for the office party).

So make them. You won't be sorry!

P.S. Want to see the most gorgeous sister-in-law ever? I thought so! Head over here to check out shots of my cute little sissy's senior photo shoot.

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