Friday, May 15, 2015

Cooking Together: Quelcy Kogel and 3 Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups.

Quelcy Kogel came to visit ALEC, Allentown Learning and Engagement Center, in April to share a homemade sweet treat with our students.  They were over the moon excited to make homemade peanut butter cups since Reeses cups are a common favorite among the students we work with in Allentown.

Quelcy is another amazing and talented local Pittsburgh chef to partake in our Cooking Together series. Quelcy blogs over at With the Grains and is also a local food stylist and photographer.
Along with Quelcy came Kyle, her boyfriend, who is a local urban farmer and bee keeper.

Quelcy understands we all want a sweet treat now and then and kids are no exception.  When we told the students that they were making homemade Peanut butter cups that day at Cooking Together they perked right up and immediately started asking lots of questions to make sure we weren't "tricking" them.  

Quelcy also brought a few Food magazines to show the students what a food stylist and photographer does as well as how she blogs and why she shares her creations with the world.The way she explained it to the students was that she makes food that people see in pictures and advertisements look pretty and styles it in a way that you would want to eat it. 

She started out by asking the students what they thought was in a Reese's cup. They responded with Peanut butter and chocolate. Then she asked a student to read off the ingredients of a Reese's Cup and asked the students if they had heard of those other ingredients before and if they knew what they were. They did not know what those other ingredients were, we then further discussed if we need them in our body.  We decided that minimal ingredients and less foreign things in our body is the best for us.

She began by preparing her paper baking cups in muffin tins and then melting organic dark chocolate baking chips in a double boiler. While continually stirring, she discussed the differences between milk chocolate and dark chocolate with the kids. They liked watching her stir and melt the chocolate. Once the chocolate was melted she poured a thin layer of chocolate into each paper cup and placed in the freezer to harden a bit. 

Next was the peanut butter! Quelcy and the students discussed what peanut butter is made of and whether or not it should have other ingredients besides nuts and salt.
Once the first layer of chocolate had hardened in the freezer she pulled it out and place peanut butter in each cup and drizzled a little honey. She stirred the peanut butter and honey together and placed in the freezer.

During our freezer-wait time, Kyle shared about bees and bee keeping since we had honey in our recipe.  He shared how he got started keeping bees and why bees are important to us. He also explained how to get the honey from the hive. For every new tid bit he shared our students, and teachers, had a question for him. 

Photo courtesy of Quelcy Kogel.
Photo courtesy of Quelcy Kogel.
Photo courtesy of Quelcy Kogel
Kyle also shared a little about his urban farm in Hazelwood and the importance of fresh, local produce to our communities.  You can read more about the Hazelwood Urban Farm on their facebook page and here. The kids were very excited about the dried out comb he brought to show them and his bee gear and learning all the tips and tricks of how to handle bees. 

The time came for the last layer of chocolate to harden and set, then it was snack time!
Everyone was extremely excited and eager to try the peanut butter cups. They were a hit among the students and adults alike. One student had to answer some extra bee trivia before he could take a leftover cup home with him. They were amazing!
In my personal opinion these were far superior to the store bought Reese's cups. Far Superior!

Here's how you make amazing Peanut butter cups at your out of school time program or at home!

3 Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

  • Dark chocolate baking chips
  • Creamy natural peanut butter
  • Honey
  • Optional: sea salt to sprinkle on top

  • Line a standard muffin tin(s) with paper cupcake liners.
  • Melt half the chocolate using a double boiler 
  • Distribute enough melted chocolate into each muffin cup to form a thin layer. If the chocolate is not level, drop the pan repeatedly on the counter, and it will flatten. Place the pan in the freezer for 15 minutes to harden the chocolate.
  • In the meantime, stir the peanut butter and honey together with a spoon or in a food processor (or blender) until mixed. Adjust the honey quantity to your liking.
  • Place a spoonful of the peanut butter mixture into each cup. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  • Melt the remaining chocolate, and portion small spoonfuls of chocolate into the cups, one cup at a time, immediately dropping the pan repeatedly on the counter to flatten each cup. 
  • Allow the chocolate to cool slightly and then sprinkle with sea salt if you choose. 
  • Chill the peanut butter cups for more bite, or leave them at room temperature for a softer, creamier texture.

Thank you Quelcy and Kyle, it was a wonderful Cooking Together day, the students and adults enjoyed it immensely! 

Check out Quelcy's blog, With the Grains and Kyle's Hazelwood Urban Farm adventures to learn more about our special guests.


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