Tiger Mom Butter

I like tiger butter, and few confection places really do it right. Most chocolate shops don’t carry it. My favorite local tiger butter from Oh! Chocolates seemed like it was out of stock as often as not, and since they moved out of Bellevue, it’s pretty rare that I’m in the neighborhood to pick some up. Sometimes you’ll find a fudge by the same name, but it’s certainly not the same beast.

Clearly I needed to learn to make this myself. I looked around online, and found a bazillion recipes that used almond bark and chocolate baking disks. I didn’t want some home kitchen knock-off. I wanted the real, top shelf stuff. The mother of all tiger butters. We’ll call it “tiger mom butter”. Because everything else is kittens by comparison.

The recipe here is the result of many iterations, and some well-fed coworkers. The quality of ingredients makes a difference. The recipe below has the short version, but I’ll talk you through the ingredients here. I don’t normally like brands in recipes but if you want to recreate it without too much thinking, for this one it’s helpful.

First, the base is a white chocolate, not an almond bark, and not “white confection chips”, which are basically sugar and oil. Look on the package for cocoa butter high in the list of ingredients. I’ve used Lindt and Ghirardelli bars, and both work well.

Next is the peanut butter. Packaged stuff varies a lot in how much sugar, additives, etc. To control for that, I used fresh-ground butter from dry-roasted peanuts. You can usually find the grinder in the bulk foods section at a grocery store. If not, Adam’s is probably your next best bet. The goal is to avoid extra sugars, oils and additives, and control the sweetness a bit. Sometimes the grinder is loaded with honey roasted peanuts. I haven’t tried, but if you do, let me know how it works out.

Sugar is sugar. Just pay attention to the powdered part, unless you like crunchy hard bits in your chocolate. Not that I would know anything about that. Really.

Finally, there’s the chocolate. Again, we’re paying attention to sweetness, and dark chocolate is not all created equal. A 60% dark Ghirardelli squares work perfectly, 72% if you want to taste more of the bitterness. I like the 72’s for eating, but thought it was too much in this one. If you use a milk chocolate, you’re going to lose some of the flavor contrast between the peanut butter mix and the chocolate.

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In terms of hardware you’re really going to want for this is a good instant read thermometer. Temperatures are important to make this come together right. I’ve mentioned this here before… I really love my Thermopop. It’s fast and simple. And faaast. Your also going to want a silicone mat or pan. I’ve tried various other options, but the white chocolate & PB wants to stick to everything. Silicone does the trick.

The Recipe:

Hardware

  • double boiler
  • silicone mat or 9×9 silicone baking pan
  • spatula
  • butter knife
  • measuring spoons & cups

Software

  • 8 oz Ghirardelli White Chocolate (2 baking bars) broken into small chunks
  • 2/3 c. fresh-ground unsalted peanut butter (peanuts should be the only ingredient)
  • 3 T powdered sugar
  • 4 oz 60% dark Ghirardelli chocolate (~10 squares) broken into small chunks

Instructions

  1. Mix the sugar into the peanut butter in a small bowl, and warm in the microwave on low power to about 115 F. Cover and set aside. This will make sure that you don’t just set the white chocolate when you try to mix it in.
  2. Melt the white chocolate. Since you’re adding a lot of PB, you don’t need to temper it. It’s going to have a softer texture. Tempering won’t really have any effect. Still, don’t overheat it. About 100 F is a good working temperature.
  3. Stir the peanut butter and sugar mix into the white chocolate a spoonful at a time, and mix well.
  4. Pour out on silicone mat and spread to 1/2 in. thick. Make 3-4 deep parallel grooves with the flat face of a butter knife.
  5. Melt & temper the dark chocolate. I just quickly wash & reuse the bowl from the white chocolate. There’s plenty of time.
  6. Pour into grooves.
  7. Drag a butter knife perpendicular to the grooves. Go deep. Think tiger claws (but don’t cut the mat!). Rotate 90 degrees and repeat 1-2 times until you get desired appearance.
  8. Move to fridge to set. Cut into square before completely firm.

Tips:

  • If using a silicone pad, set it on a baking sheet to make it easier to move to the fridge.
  • Work the chocolate in deep. It’s stiffer than the pb mix, and will crumble off if it just sits on top.
  • Don’t temper your chocolate in the microwave. Not if you truly love it. Here’s my preferred method, and it’s really not that hard, just requires a little patience.
  • There’s no need to rush between pouring the pb white chocolate and pouring the dark over it. The peanut butter mix will take quite a while to set at room temperature.
  • If you’re using a 9×9 silicone pan, you can set it on a baking sheet or cutting board, and tap it on the table a few times to get a smoother finish.
  • Cut it before it completely sets, otherwise it’s hard not to crumble it.

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PS: One more note from the failures department. Don’t try this with a product called PB2. It lacks in flavor, and ends up just tasting like a powdery mess.

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