These dark chocolate peanut butter cups are probably my most favorite sweet treat ever. I know that’s a bold statement, but if you’ve had one of these, you’ll likely agree. They are the perfect mix of sweet, nutty, salty, chocolatey - they’re really good. To be honest, anyone I’ve ever made them for prefers these to a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! AND, they’re very easy to make. We all know and (some of us) love traditional holiday cookies, but it’s fun to give something unique to those you’re gifting. The peanut butter cups are rich and so full of flavor that one...ok maybe two, does the trick.
We don't eat much sugar in our family. A piece or two of dark chocolate most days of the week, and we make a batch of cookies once or twice a month at most. We enjoy sweet treats here and there, but try to save them just as that, treats. That being said, we certainly eat a little more sugar around the holidays, like most. We aim for mostly unrefined sweeteners like raw local honey, grade A dark amber maple syrup, molasses and succanant...but white refined sugar certainly sneaks in. We DON'T stress over it. We've tried very hard to not place any guilt on ourselves when we eat sweets (or any food for that matter), and we try our best to savor the treat and really enjoy it. Eating, but with no guilt sauce on top - let's all try for that this holiday season!
Sea Salt Peanut Butter Cups
Yield: 28-30 mini peanut butter cups, 15-20 large peanut butter cups
Double boiler OR a small saucepan and a medium to large metal or glass bowl
10oz bag of semi sweet chocolate chips or 70%+ dark chocolate (I use these)
2 TBSP organic, unrefined coconut oil
1cup teddy organic creamy peanut butter at room temp. (no need to measure this, just make sure you have at least half a jar)
1-2 TBSP coarse grind sea salt (I use this)
*you really don’t need to measure anything for this recipe. The above is for the strict recipe followers of the world!
**you can use almond butter, sun butter, coconut butter - any of your favorite butters in place of the peanut butter.
If using a large bar of chocolate, cut it up into small pieces so it melts easily. Also, spread muffin liners out onto a cookie sheet.
Add 2-3 cups of water to the saucepan/double boiler. Turn stove to high. Once the water starts to boil, reduce to medium heat. Add chocolate and coconut oil to the bowl. Stir occasionally to get the chocolate to melt faster.
Once the chocolate is melted, remove from heat. Spoon melted chocolate into muffin liners about ¼-⅓ of the way full (or more if you’d like a thicker peanut butter cup, but not less because the peanut butter will come out the bottom of the cup)
Next, add the peanut butter - about a teaspoon for a mini cup, 2 teaspoons for a standard size.
Once the cups have the peanut butter, add another layer (about a tablespoon) of chocolate on top. The peanut butter will look lumpy, but the warm chocolate will melt it and it will smooth right out.
Lastly, add a pinch of coarse sea salt to the top. I usually break it up with my fingers a little bit so the salt pieces aren’t huge.
Place baking sheet in the fridge or freezer (or outside if it's winter) to cool for about one hour.
Taste one (or two) and package for gifts!
Sea Salt Peanut Butter cups last for 4-5 days out of the fridge,10-12 in the fridge, and a few months in the freezer.
The Teddy brand Organic Creamy Peanut Butter is the best to use in this recipe - and it must be at room temperature. It’s smooth, not too oily (some natural peanut butters have a big oil slick at the top, this one does not) and in my opinion, has the best authentic peanut butter flavor.
Adding coconut oil (you really don’t taste it) is key for getting a little bit thinner, smoother chocolate when melted. The coconut oil also helps the chocolate have that pretty shine to it and if you're using paper liners, the cups will come out easier.
Using large flaked sea salt on the top (before putting in the freezer) is best. Fine sea salt doesn’t have that same crunch, and it can make the cups taste too salty.
I often double the recipe!
Exact measurements really do not matter. You don’t measure the chocolate and the peanut butter, so don’t worry about being too precise!
I usually split the quantity I am making in half and fully complete each half before moving on to the next - it’s a bummer to get to the end and run out of chocolate for the top layer.