Sunday, 15 May 2011

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bonbons

There are many wonderful things about having a birthday in May. The weather is (occasionally) lovely, there are lots of beautiful flowers just perfectly in season to be given to the birthday girl, my birthday is named in a song in My Fair Lady as "Eliza Doolittle day", and there always seem to have lots of other birthday parties around the same time. In fact I share my birthday with not one, but two people very close to me, and while this does mean that I have always had to share the cake-blowing-out-duties and photo opportunities, it also means that birthday festivities seem to stretch out on either side of my birthday for weeks. I have no idea what is in the air in August but judging by the number of May birthdays, prospective Mummys and Daddys often seem to enjoy their summer holidays very much.

However, there is one massive downside with a May birthday, which is that it's in the danger zone. The EXAM danger zone. May is prime time for public examinations and in many years my birthday was totally overshadowed by doom and revision timetables. How much celebration do you think took place on my birthday when my Finals, on which the whole of my four-year degree rested in its entirety, started the next day? Not very much. 

Before exams became an issue, when I was little - between the ages of 5 and 9, I'd say - it was very much de rigeur for the birthday girl to bring in treats on her birthday to share with the class. I distinctly remember feeling then that this seemed to be the wrong way round, and that surely the birthday girl should be receiving treats rather than giving them. I guess this was an early lesson that generosity is a Good Thing and everyone else cares less about your birthday than you do. Anyway, some years it was home made and some years it was multi-packs of fun-sized chocolate bars and either way, it was good.

Although it's not my birthday yet, I am leaving my current job tomorrow and it seems to me that the same rule of bringing in treats applies. In previous situations and bigger offices, I've gone for a tray of Krispy Kremes but in my current environment, with fewer people and even fewer greedy men (the real KK fans), something home made seems like the better way to go.  

These bonbons, based on Nigella's peanut butter and chocolate squares, are ludicrously rich but they're also ludicrously delicious - I'm serious. Even people who don't like peanut butter would fight over the last one. Because my current office is so small, I divided all Nigella's measurements by 1/3 and made mini bonbons dunked in chocolate, all too easy to pop into your mouth again and again. For the sake of all of our waistlines and arteries, it's good that I didn't make more. 

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Bonbons
Makes 24 bonbons

As explained above, I divided Nigella's quantities by 1/3 hence the loopy amounts below. If you want to do the full amount, turn 16g into 50g and 67g to 200g.

16g dark muscovado sugar
- 67g icing sugar
- 16g butter
- 67g smooth peanut butter
- 100g plain chocolate

Stir the sugars, butter and peanut butter with a wooden spoon until they come together and make a smooth-ish paste - it might have little nuggets of muscovado sugar but that's fine. Melt the dark chocolate in the microwave. Roll the peanut paste into little balls, dunk in the chocolate, arrange on a tray covered with baking parchment and put in the fridge to solidify. 

Once hard, you can cover up any naked peanut spots (ie: from the underside of the bonbon) with more chocolate until you have something that looks like a malteser, but is even more unhealthy.

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