Mix the peanut butter, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth.
Fold a piece of parchment paper in half. Transfer the peanut butter to one half, fold the other side of the paper over so the peanut butter is in the middle of the two sheets.Smooth the peanut butter mixture to an even ½ inch thickness.
Set the parchment with the peanut butter filling in the freezer for about 20 minutes. NOTE: it is easier to work with frozen peanut butter.
Making the chocolate molds
While the peanut butter mixture is chilling start on the chocolate mold portion.
Melt the chocolate wafer to package instruction. Place the silicon heart mold on a baking sheet or plate to stabilize it before adding the chocolate.
Add some chocolate to the heart molds, carefully smooth it into each corner of the heart molds with a small rubber spatula. Reference the process photos above.NOTE: to ensure to create a solid, even coating (necessary), carefully check the coating from every direction to ensure no spot has been missed.
Leave the mold with the chocolate out at room temperature while the filling chills.NOTE: there will be chocolate leftover which is used to fill the back of the mold over the filling and drizzling for final decoration.
Making the peanut butter cup hearts
Remove the filling mixture from the freezer. Cut out hearts free hand cut or use a cookie cutter sizing them to easily fit into the center of the chocolate hearts.
The chocolate in the molds will not be set. The peanut butter filling hearts should easily push into the chocolate.Press them in so they are inside the mold fully but not so far that they will press through the chocolate on the bottom of the mold. If so they would penetrate the exterior layer of chocolate that will be the top of the peanut butter cup.
Pour the rest of the chocolate over the filling and carefully smooth out so the chocolate evenly fills all of the space around and over the peanut butter filling. Do not overfill.
Set into the refrigerator or freezer (recommended) to set. Chill for about 20 minutes.
Gently remove the completely solid hearts from the mold. TIP: to avoid fingerprints wear food safe gloves.
Set the hearts onto the same cold/frozen tray that the silicone mold was on in the freezer.
Use the remaining melted chocolate to drizzle over the top of some or all of the hearts as desired. Sprinkles or nonpareils can be sprinkled into the chocolate.
Adding gold leaf (optional decoration)
For an extra fancy touch, consider adding some gold leaf. After any chocolate drizzle is set determine the location for the gold leaf.
Using food safe tweezers pick up some of the gold leaf. Add a tiny water droplet in the location where the gold leaf will be placed. NOTE: gold leaf needs liquid to adhere but too much water will negatively affect the chocolate's appearance.
Add the gold leaf and very gently smooth with the tweezers. One it has been adhered it will be secure through any temperature changes or storage conditions.
Natural peanut butter is moister than processed peanut butter. If using natural peanut butter ensure if it had separated that it is completely stirred to combine be starting the recipe.
Processed peanut butter can also be used. The powdered sugar amount may need to be reduced.
The peanut butter type used should be smooth texture (not chunky).
It is easier to work with frozen peanut butter mixture which is our recommendation. You can make the filling without the freezer step it will just be a little bit harder to work with.
The 6 ounces of peanut butter is a weight not a volume measurement.
Substitutions/VariationsDairy free/vegan chocolates should also work well. We tested Enjoy Life chocolate that also worked well.Nut-free butter will also work in this recipe.Using different moldsThis recipe is tailored to the specific mold used however the amounts can be adjusted for different size molds.