[vegan, grain-free, gluten-free, palm oil-free, refined sugar-free]
Peanut butter cups are a true American classic. It’s impossible to visit a convenience store over there without seeing orange packages of peanut butter cups located somewhere close to the cash register. They’re everywhere. Vegan and gluten-free peanut butter cups are a healthier homemade version, prepared from dark chocolate and all-natural peanut butter. The flavor is super rich and tempting, just with less sugar and additives.
Peanut Butter Cup Therapy
Picture a long, gray weekday: work is anything but fun and games, and at home, the kids want something different for dinner than what you had planned and the hubby’s backache seem to give him the right to act up. You put the kids to bed and the husband on the couch to watch reruns of Friends.
In the fridge, hiding behind a couple of tall glass jars, there’s a small container with two neat piles of homemade chocolate cups in it. They’re vegan and gluten-free peanut butter cups! You munch on two, or three or four, of them to witness the stressful day melt away like the delicious dark chocolate in your mouth. So good!
Why Buy at the Store, When You’ll Love the Homemade Ones Even More?
In the States, peanut butter cups date as far back as 1928. They were originally manufactured by H.B. Reese Candy Company. Today, they’re a part of the chocolate giant The Hershey Company. The highly recognizable orange packaging contains two milk chocolate cups with a really creamy and sweet peanut butter filling. Eating eight or ten peanut butter cups in one seating seems like no big deal, making the packs of two seem like a waste of packaging materials.
The vegan and gluten-free peanut butter cups cause similar behavior. One cup equals one mouthful. The flavor is intense, titillating, heavenly, and gooey. They’re definitely way up there, when it comes to goodies made from peanut butter! And they definitely provide an escape from everyday life. They’ve saved many a mundane day in our household.
So, why bother buying any – vegan or otherwise – at the store, when you can make even yummier ones at home? As a matter of fact, there should always be a big enough reserve of homemade peanut butter cups in the fridge. It’s kind of hard, though, when they’re so irresistible. I’m not the only one wanting them.
The Chocolatey Deliciousness of Vegan and Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cups
Peanut butter cups are so, so easy to make! Failure is not an option. Of course, every time you need to melt chocolate, you tend to gets those smears and smudges on everything (especially your favorite shirts!), but that’s nothing compared to collapsed cakes or burned brownies. I’ve made peanut butter cups from both dark chocolate chunks and chips without any noticeable difference. When it comes to the flavor, at least. To the price-concerned consumer, I’d say go with the chunks.
You can also make the chocolate sauce from scratch (and with even less additives and preservatives!). You’ll need 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 4 tbsp coconut oil, and 1/2 cup maple or agave syrup. Simply add the ingredients in a small saucepan and melt them over low heat into a thin, smooth sauce. Just remember that whatever chocolate you choose, keep the melting temperature moderate. As chocolate scorches more than easily, keep a close eye on the saucepan.
Nut Butter Lovers’ Vegan and Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cups
When it comes to the peanut butter filling, I prepare it with homemade or all-natural store-bought peanut butter. The biggest pro with homemade peanut butter is that you are free to use sweeten and spice it freely according to your taste.
If you go with store-bought peanut butter, be sure that it’s palm oil-free. I recently discovered Pip & Nut’s nut butters that are completely nonsense-free. I especially love their super-roasted peanut butter, which you can order at the Ketofi online store. Both smooth and crunchy peanut butter work in the vegan and gluten-free peanut butter cups, but loyal to the original cups, I’m partial to the former.
I try to steer clear from refined sugar, so I tend to choose something else to sweeten the filling with. Last time I stirred natural raw cane sugar in the filling. Coconut sugar, coconut nectar, maple syrup, agave syrup, or even date sugar are great alternatives. Just pick your favorite. And in case you’re using salted peanut butter, you won’t need to add extra salt.
So, what are you waiting for? If you’re the kind of chocolate and peanut butter lover like me, this is for you. Make a batch and see for yourself how easy it’s to get hooked on the super scrumptious vegan and gluten-free peanut butter cups!
Peanut Butter Cups
- 200 g dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 dl thick peanut butter smooth or crunchy
- 1 ½ tbsp favorite sweetener e.g. coconut sugar, raw cane sugar, maple syrup, agave syrup
- ⅛ tsp salt
- Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners.
- Add the dark chocolate or chocolate chips and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Melt carefully over low heat until smooth. Coconut oil makes the sauce smoother, a bit thinner, and easier to handle.
- Add about 1 ½ tsp chocolate sauce in each liner. Use half of the sauce. Tilt the liners to spread the sauce about ⅓ inch up the sides. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, stir peanut butter together with the sweetener and salt. I recommend using a thick peanut butter to make the cups less messy to eat. As far as flavor goes, any kind of peanut butter will do.
- Remove the cups from the freezer. Add a heaped tbsp of the peanut butter filling on top of the chocolate and spread it out evenly. Cover with the rest of the chocolate sauce. Reheat it a bit if necessary. Tilt the cups in order for the chocolate to spread and cover the peanut butter filling completely.
- Freeze for 15 more minutes to set. Because of the coconut oil, keep the cups in the freezer and let them thaw a couple of minutes before eating. Alternatively, transfer them to the fridge. Bite in and enjoy!