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Guest Blogger: Acute Designs

Hello everyone!  My name is Gina and I blog over at {Acute Designs}.  I am so happy that Julie Ann asked me to guest blog while she was busy focusing on the Valentine’s Day rush in her shop….

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, how about a super simple, no-cooking-skills-required chocolate treat?  Yeah, I thought so….. =).
As cheesy as it may be, I love a heart shaped box of chocolates.  There is something so fun about all the different flavors inside that red foil package.   The one problem?  I am super picky and pretty much only eat the caramel and fudge filled chocolates.  The rest get thrown away.  I know, I know I could just buy a pack of Rolos…..but it’s not the same thing.

My solution to this little problem was to make my own chocolates and fill them with all my favorite flavors.   So, I created little chocolate cups, filled them with a few of the best things one can pair with chocolate and voila – a box of chocolates customized for my very favorite Valentine – me!
You can choose any fillings you love.  I like to mix it up and experiment, but my tried and true favorites are:
  • Caramel – of course
  • Peanut butter – peanut butter + chocolate = a match made in heaven
  • Banana – delicious and, umm, healthy….
  • Pretzels – I love the sweet + salty combo
  • Strawberry jam – nothing better than strawberries + chocolate
Supplies Needed:
  • dark or milk chocolate {2 standard sized bars will make about 24 cups}
  • mini muffin paper cups {you can find these at the craft store or at some grocery stores}
  • filling ingredients {unsweetened peanut butter, graham crackers, powdered sugar, caramel sauce, strawberry jam, a banana, and pretzels}
Step One – Melt the chocolate
Break up one bar of chocolate into small-ish pieces and microwave.  I set my microwave on 40 seconds, give the chocolate a stir, and then let it go for another 30 seconds.  Stir again, and let it go for another 15 seconds…or until melted.  

Chocolate has a tendency to burn, so make sure you are checking it and stirring frequently.  I melt one bar at a time so that the chocolate doesn’t harden while I am working.
Step Two – Make the chocolate cups
Set your mini muffin cups out on your work surface.  Working with one paper cup at a time, spoon a little chocolate in the bottom of the cup.  Take a little more chocolate and “paint” it around the sides of the cup so that the entire thing is covered.  Be generous here since this will be the base of your chocolates and will need to hold all the fillings.
Once you have all the paper cups filled with chocolate, you will have to put them in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to set.   I like to put my filled cups into a mini muffin pan and then slide the entire thing into the fridge.  If you don’t have a mini muffin pan, you can just use any tray that will fit into your fridge.
Step Three – Make the fillings
There is very little “making” happening here; it is more like stirring and opening jars.  Feel free to fill your chocolate cups with anything you love.  Below are my personal favorites!
  • Peanut butter – mix 1/2 cup creamy unsweetened peanut butter with two crushed graham crackers and two tablespoons of powdered sugar.
  • Caramel – I use a jar of caramel sauce {this one is my favorite}
  • Banana – Just mash up a banana.  Add a little honey if you want it extra sweet.
  • Pretzels – Simply crush up about a half cup of pretzels.
  • Strawberry Jam – I use store bought jam…any brand will do!

Step Four – Fill the chocolate cups
Remove the tray of set chocolate cups from the refrigerator and fill with your choice of fillings.  Leave a little room at the top and spoon melted chocolate over the top to “close” the cup.  Pop each finished one back onto your tray.  When all the cups are filled – put the tray back in the fridge and allow them to set for another 30 minutes before eating.
**These chocolates are best stored in the refrigerator and will last about 4-7 days {depending on the filling}.   If you want a frozen treat – the bananas ones freeze beautifully and will last a couple extra weeks if frozen.  

Enjoy and Happy Valentine’s Day ♥

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