Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups (refined sugar free & vegan)
This actually wasn’t on my schedule for my 12 days of Christmas posts, but I recently posted a photo of them on instagram and got such a great response, I decided to alter my schedule a little bit. And hey, it’s not too late to make some more Christmas treats.
These little homemade chocolate peanut butter cups have no refined sugar and are vegan-friendly. You could absolutely sub the peanut butter out for almond butter or any other nut or seed butter that you prefer. Sunflower seed butter would be a fantastic alternative for people with nut or peanut allergies. Just make sure and use a “natural” nut/seed butter. And by that I mean one with one or two ingredients on the ingredient list. See, a lot of the added fillers prevent the peanut butter from properly hardening in the freezer, which will make it really hard to shape it for the center without adding more cornstarch. My recipe calls for 1/2 teaspoon of cornstarch, which will help bind it, but as always with corn products, I recommend using non-GMO certified and/or USDA certified organic.
The secret ingredient to the chocolate part is coconut oil. This stuff is amazing. Not only does it give a faint coconutty sweetness to the chocolate, it is the base for the perfectly silky texture and firms up like a champ. The key is to stir it often because the sweetener is maple syrup, which doesn’t want to harden in the freezer. If they separate, you’ll have drippy syrup (not necessarily a bad thing except in this case) and firm cocoa-coconut oil. So keep stirring, folks!
But seriously, yum, right? And these are riiiiiiiiiiiich, so not only will you not feel so guilty eating them, you’ll be happy with just one. And if you’re in the Midwest enjoying this super gloomy, rainy weather like I am, it’s the perfect day for staying inside and making treats, so go ahead and try them out!
- 3/4 cup natural peanut butter*
- 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, preferably non-GMO and/or organic
- 1 cup unrefined coconut oil, preferably cold-pressed & extra virgin
- 2/3 cup pure maple syrup
- 4~8 drop pure stevia extract, optional
- 2/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
- Line a 12-cup muffing pan with parchment liners and set aside.
- Prepare a large plate with a piece of parchment paper. In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, coconut palm sugar, and cornstarch. Scoop the peanut butter mixture in 1-tablespoon portions** and place 1/2 inch apart on the prepared parchment-lined plate. Place the plate in the freezer until firm, about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make the chocolate mixture. Put the coconut oil in a large glass liquid measuring cup, and heat in the microwave until just melted. Stir in the maple syrup, stevia (if using), and cocoa powder. Pour 1 tablespoon of the cocoa mixture into each muffin liner. Place in the freezer until firm, about 10-15 minutes.
- Bring both the peanut butter and cocoa out of the freezer. Place the peanut butter discs into each cavity of the muffin pan. You may need to gently shape some to fit so that there's a slight border of space around them.
- Give the cocoa mixture a little stir, and pour into each cup, filling enough to cover the peanut butter. Make sure to stir the cocoa mixture before filling each cup. Place back in the freezer the cups are completely set. Serve immediately or transfer to an airtight container and store for a few weeks. (if they make it that long;))
- *look at the ingredient label. Make sure to use peanut butter with only two ingredients: peanuts and salt. And you can also substitute with other nut/seed butters.
- **I like to use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop