Easy to make using simple ingredients, these dark chocolate peanut butter cups are the perfect dessert for Valentine’s Day. Made with whole foods, they are ‘Reese’s’ cups, done the right way. Vegan, gluten-free.
I literally cannot think of a better choice for my very first recipe to post. Dark chocolate and peanut butter are two of my favorite foods, and when combined I Can. Not. Get. Enough. I typically make a large batch of these bad boys and freeze them to eat as a treat when the craving strikes. These also taste wonderful added to banana nice-cream or on top of oatmeal (if you have not tried peanut butter cup oatmeal yet, go do this now!)
I love foods like these that make my heart so, so happy, but also have amazing health benefits. Made with 4 simple ingredients- dark chocolate, coconut oil, dates and peanut butter. I love each of these ingredients, but let’s focus on dark chocolate for a moment…
Dark chocolate that contains 70% or more cocoa is a great source of antioxidants. Chocolate is also a natural source of caffeine. This is one of the reasons I like to eat it is as a natural pick me up in the early afternoon (with some green tea, yum).
Studies show that dark chocolate can help reduce stress. My belief is dark chocolate’s ability to do so is related to both the chemical properties of chocolate itself, and also the emotional response we have when eating it. Dark chocolate’s ability to lower stress may be why it is also linked to lowering blood pressure.
Best choices of dark chocolate are organic and fair trade, which you can find at most grocery stores and health food stores. But, in all honestly, I typically buy mine from Aldi because it’s only $1.99 for a huge bar. In this recipe I used 85%, because I prefer the intense, rich flavor. If you are new to dark chocolate I would recommend starting with 70%.
Other ingredients in this recipe include dates (purchased by from Trader Joes), coconut oil (organic, extra virgin, cold-pressed- you can find at multiple stores for a great price, including Aldi and Trader Joe’s) and natural peanut butter (organic, purchased from Costco).
For this recipe, you will have extra date/peanut butter filling left over. Freeze it for your next batch of peanut butter cups, top it on oatmeal or yogurt. You can even make energy bites out of the leftovers (like I did this week!)
- ½ cup pitted dates (approximately 10 dates)
- ¼ cup natural peanut butter
- 1 cup chopped dark chocolate (I used 85%, dairy free if needed)
- 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
- Miniature muffin liners
- Optional: sea salt for topping
- First, make the date/peanut butter filling. In a food processor (or blender), add the pitted dates and peanut butter. Blend until mixture becomes thoroughly combined. Place into a bowl and set aside.
- Line your miniature muffin liners out on a plate or serving dish.
- Place a small to medium pot over medium-high heat and add water. Place a heat-safe bowl on top (you do not want the bowl immersed in the water, just sitting on top on the pot). This is creating your own double boiler, if you have one, use this instead! Once the water is almost to a boil, add the chocolate and coconut oil. Stir until chocolate has melted.
- Using a teaspoon measuring utensil (or a small spoon), place a teaspoon of the melted chocolate into each miniature muffin liner. Once you have a bottom layer, place a teaspoon of the date/peanut butter filling on top. Then add one more teaspoon of the melted chocolate to each muffin liner, creating a top layer.
- If desired, sprinkle sea salt on top each peanut butter cup.
- Place in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Store in the refrigerator or freezer. They will begin to melt at room temperature.
To make paleo: use almond butter instead of peanut butter