Who doesn’t love the taste of peanut butter and chocolate? We do around here! Since I’ve made it my mission to rid the house of processed crap (sorry, Mom – I know you hated that word, but it is what it is!) it was also up to me to replace the bit of sweet (M&Ms!) the hubby liked every once in a while.
I stumbled on this recipe and tweaked it a bit and it’s the ‘go-to’ now in this humble abode. Several awesome qualities in this little bit of melt-in-your-mouth heaven:
- Super simple. I can whip up this three-layered recipe while prepping for dinner and by the time the kitchen is cleaned up after dinner we have a nice little nosh to top it off.
- Much healthier. The M&Ms with their ingredient list a mile long were not even close to real food. These peanut butter cups are made from simple real food ingredients. Yay!
- Keeps well. We pop it in the fridge for at least two weeks and it is just as good when I first made it.
- Serving control. Yes, I do like control. I confess. Making my own makes it super simple to cut the yumminess into little bites that please the palate and take care of the urge for sweets. If one doesn’t do it for you – take two – they’re small. 🙂
This recipe is no bake, vegan and did I mention tasty? Also, try to opt for organic when shopping for ingredients!
Chocolate Crust¾ cup ground organic almond flour/meal 2 T organic raw cacao powder 2 T pure maple syrup 1 T melted organic coconut oil Pinch of sea salt
Peanut Butter Filling½ cup creamy natural peanut butter 3 T pure maple syrup 1 T melted organic coconut oil Pinch of sea salt (or more to taste)
¼ cup organic raw cacao powder
¼ cup melted organic coconut oil
3 T pure maple syrup
Line a standard loaf pan (like you make banana bread in) with parchment paper and set it aside. In a medium bowl, stir together all the chocolate crust ingredients until a moist dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the bottom of the lined loaf pan, and place it in the freezer to set.
To prepare the filling, you can use the same bowl to stir together the peanut butter, maple syrup, coconut oil and salt. Depending on whether you’re using salted or unsalted peanut butter, you may want to add more salt to taste. Store-bought peanut butter cups are quite salty, so I like to add a generous pinch of salt to mimic that flavor. Remove the crust from the freezer and pour the peanut butter filling over the top, using a spatula to spread it out evenly. Return the pan to the freezer to set.
Rinse the mixing bowl, and use it again, if you like, to make the last layer. Combine the raw cacao powder, melted coconut oil, and maple syrup, whisking well to break up any clumps. Once the mixture has become a smooth chocolate sauce, pour it over the peanut butter layer, and return the pan to the freezer to set until firm, about an hour or two.
Once the bars are firm, grab the edges of parchment paper to easily lift the solid bar from the pan, and use a sharp knife to slice the bars into your desired size. Store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to a month. (The bars become very firm if frozen for too long, so I prefer serving them from the fridge after the first firming-up time.)
If you don’t like coconut oil and don’t care about the vegan label, you can use real butter since it firms up well.
Not feeling maple syrup? Try honey! I’ve made it with both ways and we like both.
If you store your maple syrup in the fridge make sure it is warmed to at least room temp before you add the coconut oil in the last layer. I’ve had that globby mess before, but a little warm water on the outside of the bowl made the chocolate sauce as smooth as silk in no time!