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Thai Peanut Butter Cups

Makes 36 cups

1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 stalks lemon grass, cut into 2-inch segments and bruised with the back of a knife
4 large coins galangal, bruised with the back of a knife
3-5 Thai chilis
2 teaspoons lime zest, grated
1 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon lime juice
2 pounds bittersweet chocolate
36 small candy cups
36 small strips of candied ginger (optional)
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts (optional)

1. In a small sauce pan, bring the coconut milk to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the lemon grass, galangal, chilis and lime zest. Muddle the spices with the back of a spoon. Continue to simmer very low for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain out the solids.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine peanut butter, coconut milk and lime juice. Mix thoroughly and spoon into a piping bag. Place the bag in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until it solidifies slightly.

3. Meanwhile, chop the chocolate into chunks. You may temper the chocolate for a nice, finished look. For directions on how to do that, see David Liebowitz’s website. You may also simply melt the chocolate by placing it in a large bowl and microwaving it for 30 seconds at a time. Stir well between each round in the microwave.

4. Once the chocolate is ready, prepare your chocolate cups. Keep all the cups in a stack, but loosen the top one. With a pastry brush (silicone works great), coat the inside of the cup with melted chocolate. Set aside and continue doing the same with all of the cups. Whatever chocolate is leftover, set aside and you can retemper (or just remelt) for the topping later.

5. Once the chocolate in the cups has hardened, take your peanut butter mixture and pipe it into the cups, leaving about ¼ inch at the top. Remelt or retemper the chocolate and either put it in another piping bag or leave it in the bowl. Top the candy cups by piping the chocolate in a spiral from the outside in. Or you can simply spoon the chocolate from the bowl and gently spread it over the tops of the cups.

6. You may optionally top each cup with a roasted peanut and a sliver of candied ginger. Drop them on the top while the chocolate on top is still melted so that they’ll stick.

7. These peanut cups are considerably creamier than the store-bought kind so it’s best to eat them in a single bite. They’ll keep for a couple days in a cool, dark place (they’ll last a bit longer in the fridge).