Updated: Dec 8, 2018
This time of year is filled with traditions, many of which, as I'm sure you've already noticed, revolve around food. Family dinners, decorating cookies, endless batches of treats to gift and be given...the list goes on. And when you're being health conscious or following certain diet or lifestyle decisions, it can feel like this time of year is filled with nothing but restrictions.
I don't think it should be that way. I think that we (the ones with a million allergies and food issues) can uphold our choices and nutrition needs in a way that doesn't make us feel like we're missing out on anything. Not only can we, but I think it's crucial for our sanity.
Now, I may be slightly biased, but as someone who would pick through the stocking stuffers to go straight for the Reese's, I'd easily choose these! Gooey peanut butter coated in a rich, dark chocolate that melts in your mouth - yes, please!
Prior to ever making chocolate before, I figured this process would be relatively complex or at least need exact measurements and temperatures to work out. Nope! After seeing how easy this batch was, I'm pretty sure chocolate-making is going to become a regular pass-time in the Hadorn house.
The chocolate itself only takes about 5 minutes to concoct and could be used for endless recipes from there! Fair warning though, cocoa butter isn't the most appealing once heated - trust me though, it'll be worth it.
Be sure to take the extra time to let the chocolate mixture sit and thicken a bit. If you don't, the coating will be pretty thin and result in peanut butter cups that fall apart pretty easily. Not that that's the worst thing that could happen. I mean, I'd still eat 'em!
When coating the liners, you'll want to scoop and press chocolate onto all of the edges, leaving just a small amount of liner showing at the top. This way, the peanut butter filling will be surrounded by chocolate so it doesn't come out looking like a peanut butter sandwich instead of a peanut butter cup.
This part is my favorite! I know it sounds like a hodge-podge of nonsense ingredients, but it makes the consistency and flavor of the peanut butter filling absolutely perfect. You're just going to have to trust me on this one!
If you've never tried nutritional yeast before, do yourself a favor. It has a nutty, almost cheese-like flavor and is a rich source of vitamin B, which is so important for those of us sticking to a plant-based diet. Besides for peanut butter filling, it makes a great seasoning for popcorn and can be used to make some pretty yummy non-dairy cheeses.
Enough chit chat, here's the recipe!
*always use organic when available
For the chocolate -
1 Cup cocoa butter
1 Cup cocoa powder
1/2 Cup maple syrup
1 Pinch of sea salt
For the filling -
4 Tbsp fresh ground peanut butter
1 Tsp nutritional yeast
1 Tsp coconut flakes
1 Tsp maple syrup
*optional additional coconut flakes and sea salt for sprinkle on top
1. Melt cocoa butter in a double boiler or in the microwave until completely melted
2. Once cocoa butter is fully melted, slowly whisk or stir in cocoa powder, maple syrup, and sea salt until completely combined
3. To make it easier to coat the liners, allow mixture to set for a minute or two until it begins to thicken
4. While waiting for chocolate to thicken, line a mini muffin tin with liners or parchment paper
5. Use a spoon to scoop out enough chocolate to fill 1/4 of each liner. When filling the liners, be sure to coat the edges as well as the bottom
6. Once each liner is filled and coated, place pan in freezer to allow chocolate to harden
7. While chocolate is hardening, begin making peanut butter filling by combining all filling ingredients and mixing. You may need to soften the peanut butter prior to adding other ingredients if it seems to be pretty stiff. To do this, take a spoon and press and fold the peanut butter into itself until it begins to soften. If necessary, heat spoon under hot water to make this step easier.
8. When finished with the peanut butter filling, remove pan from freezer and press about 1/3 tsp into the center of each chocolate coated liner.
9. Then, coat the tops of the liners with remaining chocolate.
*Optional step: Top chocolates with a sprinkle of sea salt and/or coconut flakes
10. Let cool and harden at room temperature or refrigerate