Homemade And Healthy: Peanut Butter Cups

Has a more perfect duo than that of peanut butter and chocolate ever existed?  Nope. It is, simply put, perfection. I could eat Reese's peanut butter cups for every meal, if they were remotely healthy.   

Unfortunately, they're full of nasty, weird ingredients and chemicals you don't really want to ingest. And I'm pretty sure the "peanut butter" filling isn't real peanut butter at all.  Scary.  

But never fear! Because it's crazy stupid love...um, I mean, easy to make your own at home! 

While on my Food Challenge last month, I stocked up on chocolate bars on sale at Whole Foods, fully intending to devour them all in one sitting on March 1. However, now the challenge is over, my sweet tooth is in remission, and I am left with a sad collection of lonely chocolate bars in my pantry.  I couldn't just leave them there, though - that would be a waste.  Thus, this non-sweet "treat" was born to satisfy any sweet tooth.  

INGREDIENTS

-high-quality dark chocolate bars (I used Theo brand

-sugar/crap-free nut butter (peanut butter, almond butter, sunbutter, etc.) 

-OPTIONAL: coconut oil, maca powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, stevia

I am the Barefoot Contessa.

I am the Barefoot Contessa.

 

EQUIPMENT

-double boiler

-muffin pan

-donut-print apron - because obviously.

 

 

 

Theo Chocolate - I used both 70% and 85% dark.

DIRECTIONS:

Clean ingredients!

Clean ingredients!

1. Set up your double boiler. I do not have a "proper" double boiler, so I MacGyvered it and used two sauce pans, filling the larger with water.  The heat should be no higher than medium-low, and the water should never boil. Note: you can also melt the chocolate in the microwave. To do this, set the temperature at 50% and melt in 30 second intervals, stirring each time. Chocolate burns VERY easily, so be watchful. Don't say I didn't warn you.

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2. Carefully melt the chocolate. This will take a few minutes. Stir every minute or so to make sure all pieces get melted. If you are using coconut oil (optional), add a tablespoon or two here. Coconut oil will make the chocolate a bit more pliable and more "candy-like," while keeping the chocolate solid at room temp. But it's by no means necessary.

3. Once your chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Slowly pour chocolate into muffin molds, until about half of chocolate recipe is left. Note: I didn't line my muffin tins. Again, it's not really necessary.  I am also very lazy and apparently love to do dishes.  If you're concerned or are creating these as individual cups to gift (you're such a good friend), you can use silicon liners or cupcake liners. 

4. Pop your muffin pan into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes. 

5. While your chocolate is solidifying, move on to your center. Take your nut butter and melt it a bit in the microwave. Depending on how much chocolate you're using, you'll need about 1/4-1/2 cup.  Go nuts. Get it?

6. Optional step: I jazzed up my peanut butter a bit. Original ingredients were: peanuts, salt. I added a hefty pour of vanilla extract, 1 tsp. maca powder (thickened up the "batter" a touch), and a whisper of stevia. Yes, a whisper. Use your indoor voice with sweeteners. If you're anti-Stevia - it's cool, I get you - use raw honey or REAL maple syrup. Not Aunt Jemima's. Sorry, Jemima, we'll always have our memories. 

7. Remove your muffin pan from the freezer. Your chocolate should be solid now. Dollop your nut butter mixture into the center of each mold. Flatten it out a bit with your spatula or fingers, if you're not sharing.  Mmm, fingers (s/o to Kels).

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8. The other half of your chocolate should still be liquidy. If not, melt it again over the double broiler. Nbd. Pour the rest evenly over each little pillow of peanut butter. 

9. Pop your muffin pan back into the freeze for a minute or two. If you're fancy, take it back out once the chocolate is semi-frozen and hit the tops of each cup with a dash of sea salt. Major points if you use pink salt. We should be friends if you do. 

10. These only take about 10 minutes until they're rock solid. If you used liners, removal is a piece of cake. If not, slice along the edges with a thin knife. They should pop out very easily. Do not eat straight out of the freezer unless you want to break a tooth.  I'm just speaking from very-near experience.

The final product.

The final product.

These little bites are so dreamy and rich, even half of one will kill a craving, and they're totally customizable and easy! Enjoy!