OK, so my candy coating skills need serious work! I got it in my head to make pumpkin candies kinda like Resse's. I've gotten pretty good at dunking Peanut Butter Balls over the years using either toothpicks, a long needle, or an Easter Egg dipper, but pumpkins, bats, and owls are another story! I took them to work today, and they were gone in a flash! I was thinking since last night was Halloween, a bunch of people would probably bring candy in, so it wasn't the best day to make these. Then I saw that someone had also brought in a Pineapple Upside Down Cake, so I thought for sure they would be left untouched. No need to worry about that!
1 c peanut butter
1 c Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 T cinnamon
1/4 t salt
1/4 t cayenne pepper
4-5 c confectioner's sugar
Chocolate chips or candy coating
Beat the peanut butter, pumpkin, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne until well combined. Beat in the confectioner's sugar, a little at a time, until it reaches the desired consistency. I was surprised at how much it took, but I'm also assuming the amount will vary depending on what brand of peanut butter you're using. Also, I only had chunky when I did this, so that may have a slight effect on the sugar required. I was contemplating adding in some ground graham cracker crumbs or cereal or something, but resisted the urge. My regular peanut butter balls have ground pecan, coconut, graham crumbs, etc., and I was trying to do something different, but feel free...
Once you've whipped the mixture to the right texture, line a pan with waxed paper, press the mixture into the pan and chill for a few minutes. This will make it easier to release the mixture from your cookie cutters.
Here's where I had the problem. I have never used a double boiler for dunking my Peanut Butter Balls. I've always just melted the chocolate on the stove with a little paraffin and dunked them right in the pot. For dipping biscotti or melting chocolate for piping, I melt it in the microwave and maybe add a drizzle of oil to loosen it up. I hear people talk about setting candies over a rack and pouring the chocolate over them, but I don't understand that - how do you get the chocolate on the bottom, and how do you NOT end up with lines or grid marks on them??? Do you coat one side, freeze them and then flip them over while they're hard so they don't get the lines and coat them a second time??? Any tips/advice on this would be greatly appreciated!
Soooo ... my first thought was that if I poured some of the chocolate in the bottom of a pie plate, I could put the candies on top of it to coat the bottoms, then pour chocolate over the top and transfer them to waxed paper with the tip of a knife or thin spreader.
That worked for the first few, but of course, being spread so thin, the chocolate cooled too fast for me to do many this way. Then I tried swirling a few around on the chocolate to coat the bottom and then brushing chocolate over them, but that was even worse. I ended up re-heating the chocolate, pouring it into a small measuring cup, donning a non-latex (in case anyone is allergic) glove and dunking them by hand. There's gotta be a better way. Are you laughing at me yet???
Like I said, they may not be pretty, but that didn't stop anyone from enjoying them! The peanut butter, pumpkin, and cinnamon flavors go well together, and the addition of the cayenne cuts the sweet and raises an eyebrow when someone is trying to put they're finger on what that other ingredient is. ;)