Sunday, October 25, 2009

Birthday Presents

Today was my dad's birthday (Happy Birthday Dad!).  To fuly understand why I gave him the present I did, you first need to know the back-story.  When he was growing up (with 5 siblings!) the kids, on their birthday, could choose ANYTHING they wanted for dinner.  Every year, my dad picked ravioli.  He loved ravioli on his birthday.  My whole life, at least as much as I remember, he continued to have ravioli on his birthday (do I get my insistence on tradition from him?  Hmmmmmm...).  This year, we were going out the night before his birthday because my mom and I had to go to a bridal shower on his actual day.  So we would not be around for any kind of OFFICIAL birthday cooking.

Last week when I made the home made macaroni this delicious idea hatched in my crazy head.  I knew my dad
1) loved ravioli on his birthday
2) hated to cook on his birthday, although he loves to cook any other time

HOME MADE RAVIOLI birthday present!  I borrowed some cookie cutters and made them in different shapes.  John even helped!  I didn't take any pictures because they would have looked pretty much the same as the ones on the home made macaroni post.  My photography skills have not yet improved.

Now I was very content with what I did, but it seemed incomplete.  I vegged out on the couch catching up on some blog reading and brainstormed (I multitask).  Anne over at Fab Frugal Food had recently posted about Home Made Peanut Butter Cups. My dad loves both chocolate and peanut butter.  I was sold.

Unfortunately, it wasn't that easy.  Apparently I am chocolate-melting impaired. 

I lined the muffin pans with cupcake thingies and I was so excited.  I don't have a double boiler and I don't have any bowls I can put in a pot to make one, so I opted to microwave melt.

I put about 1 1/2 cups of semi sweet chocolate chips in a bowl and microwaved in 30 second increments, stirring in between each set.  It wouldn't get smooth, but I didn't bother about it.  I should have, because it was scorched.  I filled the cups with it and then tasted it.  Eww!  I scooped it all out and rinsed the cupcake liners.  John searched for other melting methods and came up with putting it in a baggie and then in boiling water.  That time the chocolate seized and wouldn't melt.  Chocolate-2, Us-0

Just as I was about to give up and cry, John said he would try and microwave melt it.  So... 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips go into the bowl, and he microwaves it at 30-second increments, stirring in between each set. SAME THING I DID!  And it was perfect.  Towards the end we did add a little vegetable oil to make it smoother.  He is awesome, although he wouldn't let me take a clear, non-stirring picture.  Consider this an action shot.

After the chocolate stress, the rest was easy.  I spooned the chocolate into the cupcake liners and then smooshed it halfway up the sides. Stick it in the fridge for about 15 minutes to harden. 

Next step?  Mix together about a cup of creamy peanut butter and 1/4 cup powdered sugar.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup sugar, but my dad isn't a fan of super sweet things.  Heat up that a little so it is pourable, and then put it on top of the chocolate.  Make sure not to fill it up past where the chocolate was smooshed up the sides because that's how the peanut butter leaks out the sides in the finished cup.  Then stick it in the fridge again to harden.

When the peanut butter layer is done, add another chocolate layer and harden again.  John had to do our chocolate again.  We used about 1/2 a cup of chocolate for this layer. 

This recipe made a dozen for us.  My dad loved them.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!


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