As a child I was fairly certain I had musical talent. At least my mom said I sounded good. I thought I sounded so good, in fact, that I would volunteer for every singing moment offered in school. Solo at the Christmas concert? Me, me, me! Duet at the Spring concert? Who wants to be my partner? Group performance of a pop song at the talent show? Every. Single. Year.
I was also a burgeoning singer-songwriter of the Christian pop variety, a la Amy Grant and Steven Curtis Chapman. Oh you don't know who they are? Google them. Amy Grant did have a crossover career as a regular pop singer... "Baby, Baby," anyone? I would write a ton of songs and record them on my cassette tape player. They almost all were in the same key, had the same melody, and included the same exact lyrics, more or less. I apparently am also immune to my own tone-deafness because I would listen back on those songs and think I had nailed it. I bet I would have been rich and famous by now had I discovered auto-tune (and how to be cool).
You would think with age would come a reality check, but no. I forced my mom to sign me up for musical theater class around the age of 12 because I just would not let go of the dream of being on Broadway one day. I think that class might have been the both the best and the worst thing that ever happened to me. Being surrounded by actually talented girls shone a bright light on my lack of talent (Check it! Two left feet, y'all)... a blessing to the rest of the world who would no longer have to endure my public displays of singing, and a curse in that my childhood dream was dashed in a matter of a 4 week course.
Because I am a positive person and like to always find the silver lining in every heartbreaking story, I will say that I learned a well-intentioned passion is just as powerful as actual ability. I still sing daily. I sing when I am happy. My happy place is with my family, and together we sing. We sing our hearts out. Its terrible for the neighbors, but makes for a lot of laughs within the walls of our own home. So there! In your face Recording Academy Voting Members! I have won a Grammy in my own (terribly delusional) mind. And I'd like to thank my mother and father for always believing in me.
Today's recipe is dedicated to all those crazy people out there who have big dreams they refuse to give up on... Nut Butter Cups. Get it? Crazy? Nuts? I should also win an award for my comedy. Anywho, these are a definite rival to the real Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. The beauty of these suckers is that they are incredibly easy to make, plus, you can use any nut butter your little heart desires... almond, cashew, sun(flower seed), crunchy PB, pecan... Anything goes. Dream big, my Friends! Dream big.
The Recipe: Nut Butter Cups
yields ~ 24 mini dessert cups
The Bits and Bobs:
12 oz chocolate chips (any kind! I used milk chocolate)
1 cup nut butter (any kind again! I used crunchy natural peanut butter)
1/2 cup powder sugar
pinch sea salt (plus more for sprinkling, optional)
mini cupcake liners
Cream together the nut butter, powder sugar and salt until well combined. To make it easier to fill the chocolate shells, I scooped all of the butter mixture into a piping bag and snipped off the bottom so the opening was about dime-size (can also use a sandwich bag, snip off one corner).
Lay out 20-24 of the mini cupcake (also called candy, truffle, or petit fours) liners on a baking sheet. Pour chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Melt the chocolate, stirring frequently until completely smooth. Using a spoon, fill the bottom of each liner with about a teaspoon or so of chocolate. Allow to sit out on the counter for about 10 minutes, then pipe a small amount of the nut butter mixture into each cup. Use a wet finger to gently push down and smooth the top of the nut butter center. Do not push out to the sides. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes until slightly set.
Using the rest of the melted chocolate, fill each cup until the center is covered and the tops are flat. Tap the tray on the counter lightly to even out the chocolate if necessary. Refrigerate for another 20 minutes or until ready to serve.