The fact that I’m posting a candy recipe might seem odd given that this is a real food blog…
… and typically candy isn’t considered real food.
… and that I’ve shared in the past how we limit the candy that our kids eat.
(We’ve drawn a hard line against hydrogenated oils (it’s probably in your coffee creamer!) and high fructose corn syrup (check your granola bars!) and almost all candy has one or the other. We’re also trying to eliminate white sugar from the house whenever possible.)
But before you write this candy recipe off, let me preface it with this: these healthy peanut butter cups require just 3 real food ingredients that you probably have in your pantry.
Did you catch that my fellow peanut butter and chocolate lovers? You can make PEANUT BUTTER CUPS that rival the junk-filled candy and won’t make you feel guilty for eating them.
In fact, since these peanut butter cups don’t have any added sugar, are naturally high in protein AND contain coconut oil (which is known to promote weight loss, fight viral infections and tooth decay), you could even say these peanut butter cups are healthy!
And you wouldn’t even be lying!
On the calories.
I’m sure these homemade peanut butter cups have calories in there somewhere, but I didn’t count them so I don’t know how many there are. My main concern is that the food I eat is REAL food.
These peanut butter cups absolutely are, and that’s all the permission I need to eat them.
Kidding again… who needs permission to eat chocolate and peanut butter?! Not us…
Let’s talk about these healthy peanut butter cups because after testing one (OK FINE A LOT) of batches, I have a few tricks up my sleeve to make these rock your socks off. First let’s talk about how to make them…
How to Make Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
Aside from your ingredients, you need two main tools: a muffin tin and silicone muffin liners.
- I used a super old muffin tin that I bought when I first moved out of the house, but if you’re in the market for a muffin tin, I HIGHLY recommend this one from USA pans.
- As for silicone muffin liners, I have and love these.
If you’re Type A like me when it comes to all the chocolate layers and peanut butter layers being nice and even and symmetrical, you’ll want to also use a mini spatula to help get the chocolate and peanut butter out of the measuring spoons. It’s not absolutely necessary, but it really does make the process a lot easier.
Watch for Icky Stuff in Your Ingredients
These peanut butter cups ARE healthy as-is, but you’ll ruin that if you use peanut butter that contains hydrogenated oils (here’s why we don’t eat it). Be sure your peanut butter contains only these ingredients:
- palm oil (optional)
- salt (optional)
- sugar (optional, but try to stay away from these varieties)
You’ll notice that the recipe calls for coconut oil, but I assure you, the peanut butter cups DO NOT taste like coconut.
I used virgin coconut oil to make these. This kind of coconut oil is solid a room temperature, which helps keep these delicious cups from melting in your hands. Literally.
The best pricing on coconut oil is to buy it in bulk, and I do that through Tropical Traditions. Whenever their gallons are buy one get one free, I take advantage!
If there’s not enough money in the grocery budget this month for a bulk purchase, I HIGHLY recommend checking out Thrive Market. They have a special deal just for Crumbs readers where you can get a 15 oz jar of virgin organic coconut oil for FREE. Get the free coconut oil AND a 30-day free trial to Thrive Market when you spend $29 or more (free shipping on orders $49+). Click here to check out this amazing deal!
Quality chocolate is usually expensive chocolate and there’s no good way around that. So, my advice is to look for chocolate chips that don’t have soy lecithin in them. In short, soy lecithin is a waste product in the creation of soybean oil. You can read more about it on this post, but we avoid it whenever possible.
Since chocolate can be pricey and it can be tricky finding a good brand, I usually stock up when it’s on sale or at it’s lowest price. Stockpiling certain items is one of the methods I use to keep my budget down and my pantry full of real food.
How to Get the Chocolate on the Sides of the Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
My first batch consisted of a layer of chocolate, and then a layer of peanut butter. This is fine and dandy for the taste buds, but if we’re trying to mimic the candy, it should at least look like the candy, right? Here’s how you do that:
- Measure the chocolate into the silicone cups
- Using the back of the measuring spoon, smear the chocolate just up along the sides of the silicone cup
Voila! You just gave your peanut butter cups sides and made your peanut butter completely disappear inside the chocolate.
Best Method for Storing Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
These homemade peanut butter cups don’t have icky preservatives and other junk making them shelf-stable for eternity, so you’ll need to store them in the freezer or fridge.
The instructions for these peanut butter cups recipe says to freeze, which you should when you’re in the process of making them. However, you don’t HAVE to store them there.
I personally store mine in the freezer just because it’s WAY TO TEMPTING to open the fridge and see a healthy copycat version of Reese’s peanut butter cups staring back at me, but if you can resist the temptation, you’ve got superpowers. Go for it.
For the same reason we store these in the fridge or freezer, you’ll want to eat them fairly quickly. This isn’t a problem though, because a) peanut butter, and b) chocolate – right?
Extra Healthy Peanut Butter Cups
Now if you’re on a super health kick, or feel like you need justification for eating peanut butter and chocolate, you can boost the protein content by 10 grams by adding a scoop of hydrolyzed collagen.
(You know how healthy bone broth is, right? It’s because gelatin is produced when you cook the bones, and as it turns out, gelatin is just cooked collagen! Adding collagen to these homemade peanut butter cups is like getting a boost of grass-fed protein in your homemade candy! I only buy my collagen from here.)
My favorite way to eat these peanut butter cups is just how they are, BUT my husband likes to add them to homemade vanilla bean ice cream for a “Reese’s” ice cream sundae. YUM!
- ½ cup chocolate chips (I tested with milk chocolate and semi-sweet; use whatever kind you’d like)
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- ½ cup peanut butter
- Line a 12-cup muffin tin with 12 silicone liners. Set aside.
- Combine chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl and cook on high in 15 second intervals, stirring well in between each session. Stop cooking when the mixture is very smooth. Be careful not to overcook, as the chocolate will become thick and goopy.
- Measure 1 tsp of the melted chocolate into each silicone cup. Using the back of the measuring spoon, gently push the chocolate up the sides of the silicone cup about ¼ inch.
- Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. If you are using an all natural peanut butter and at one time the oil had separated from the nut butter (or still is!), stir very well so the oil is incorporated and place this in the freezer too.
- Remove the muffin tin and peanut butter from the freezer. If you want a thin peanut butter layer (seen in the pictures), scoop 2 tsp of peanut butter into each muffin cup. If you want a thick peanut butter layer (YUM!), scoop 3 tsp of peanut butter into each muffin cup.
- As best as you can, spread the peanut butter to the edge of the muffin cup and level the top. Place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the muffin tin from the freezer. Working fast and on just one muffin cup at a time, measure 1 tsp of chocolate into each muffin tin. Use the measuring spoon to get the chocolate all the way to the edge and level the top. The chocolate will harden fast, since the peanut butter is frozen, so work fast to ensure a completely smooth top (or just eat the ones that aren’t quite as pretty).
- Store in the freezer.
- Store any leftover chocolate sauce in the fridge. Re-warm in the microwave and top ice cream for homemade magic shell!