Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups. These little treats are the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth. They're lightly sweetened, rich in minerals and full of peanut butter. enough said, am I right?
I used to consider myself not a chocolate person - and while I'd still opt for a fruit sweetened dessert over a chocolate lava cake, my love for high-quality chocolate has escalated over the past couple of months. It's safe to say that quality makes all the difference. I'm talking about chocolate bars with no added filler, emulsifying agents or loads of sugar - Hu Kitchen, Eating Evolved, Honey Mamas, and Pure 7, are all doing it right. If you haven't tried any of these brands, I highly recommend them.
For these dark chocolate peanut butter cups, I opted for making my own homemade chocolate with three simple ingredients - cacao butter, cacao powder and coconut nectar - after being inspired by Jessie (Faring Well) and Sarah (My New Roots). While this process takes slightly longer than just melting a quality chocolate bar over the stove or in the microwave, it felt incredibly rewarding knowing that these little treats were made 100% from scratch.
The whole process takes about 30 minutes, including a little bit of chill time to set the chocolate base, which really isn't that time consuming. That being said, if you're pressed for time, I'd advocate you spend your 30 minutes meal prepping, batching cooking ingredients for the week, or getting a nourishing meal on the table rather then spending the 30 minutes making chocolate. BUT if you have a little free time, want to get your loved ones in the kitchen, or make a homemade gift for the holidays, definitely give these dark chocolate peanut butter cups a go!
BY NUTRITION FACTS:
Cacao powder – this ingredient really needs an entire post all to itself (!!) but in short, cacao is the brown powder that gives chocolate it's bitter taste. It gets touted as a superfood, but for good reason.
Antioxidants - most notably flavonoids and polyphenols. These compounds help fight your free radicals that contribute to inflammation, aging, and other diseases like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's.
Minerals - high in magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and copper.
When choosing cacao powder or chocolate, look for raw cacao or the darkest chocolate possible (70% cacao or higher). This ensures the cacao or chocolate has been through less processing and retains the most antioxidants, nutrients and therefore health benefits.
This recipe includes making your own chocolate, which may take a little forethought because cacao butter isn't widely accessible (except my local Whole Foods did just start carrying the Navita's brand!). Cacao butter allows the chocolate to be stable at room temperature, unlike coconut butter or coconut oil. However, you can definitely just melt down a high-quality chocolate bar. I like these brands - Hu Kitchen, Eating Evolved, Honey Mamas, and Pure 7.
You can substitute any nut butter for the peanut butter. Since some nut butters are more drippy than others, you may need to adjust the coconut flour accordingly. If you are using unsalted nut butter, I recommend adding a pinch or two of salt to the filling.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
You can keep these in the refrigerator, freezer or at room temperature. Taste and adjust sweetness as needed. I added 3 tablespoons of coconut nectar to the chocolate. I recommend starting there and adding more if you prefer.
Dark Chocolate Chocolate
1/2 cup (60g) cacao butter, finely chopped
1/2 cup (40g) cacao powder
3-4 tablespoons coconut nectar or liquid sweetener of choice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Filling
1/3 cup (80g) peanut butter
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (18g) coconut flour
1 teaspoon coconut nectar or other liquid sweetener
For the Chocolate
To create a "double boiler", add about 2 inches of water to a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Turn the heat down to a simmer and place a medium glass or ceramic mixing bowl on top.
To the mixing bowl, add the chopped cocoa butter. Stir until the butter is melted (about 2-3 minutes) then remove from the heat. Remove bowl and set on a flat surface. Add the cacao powder, vanilla and coconut nectar (or other sweetener) and whisk until smooth.
For the Peanut Butter Filling
Make while the chocolate lined cups chill. Combine the peanut butter, 2 tablespoons coconut flour and coconut nectar in a small bowl. Mix until combined. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut flour at a time until the peanut butter begins to form a "dough ball". The mixture can be somewhat soft but still hold shape when you roll it into a ball in your palms.
Assembling the Peanut Butter Cups
Arrange 12 mini candy or cupcake liner inside a mini muffin tin or side by side on a small baking pan.
Using a mini spatula or spoon, carefully place about 1-2 teaspoons of chocolate into the 12 liners. Pick up each liner and carefully tilt the liners so the chocolate coats the sides. Likewise, you can use the spatula or spoon to move some of the chocolate onto the sides of the liner. Transfer chocolate to the freezer or refrigerator to set for about 10 minutes.
Remove the chocolate cups from the freezer or fridge. Take about 1 1/2 teaspoons of the mixture and roll it between your palms to form a small ball. Place the peanut butter ball in the cup and flatten slightly with your finger. Repeat until all the liners are filled.
Using a spoon or spatula, place about 1-2 teaspoons of chocolate in the liner to cover the peanut butter filling and give you a flat top. Once all the liners are filled, gently tap the pan on the counter to even out the chocolate later. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt (optional).
Place the pan in the fridge or freezer for another 10 minutes until set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1 week, or in the freezer up to 1 month.