vegan peanut butter cups


This post should begin with a warning: I'm not kidding. For the life of you, do not continue on reading OR make these if you are at all worried about becoming addicted to peanut butter. And if you already are? Well, it may be too late for you, so you might as well go on and add this recipe to your repertoire.

These are INSANE. And I am generally picky about my peanut butter cups. Why? There's the ideal ratio at stake, that crucial chocolate-to-peanut-butter element, plus there is always the chance that the peanut butter filling can go awry. Too sugary? Too salty? Not enough peanut flavor? Too creamy? Too gritty? Trust me, it can all happen. I've been there. I've ventured into specialty chocolate shops, tried their chocolate-peanut-butter concoctions and often though, meh: Reese's does it better. Blasphemy? Maybe so, but I've had few other varieties that step up to the plate.

Which, I admit, is partly why I decided to make these. I thought, "These won't be my favorite. I'll try one or two, and then offer them to a friend." Uhhhhhhh: yeah, right. Sorry, friends, I love you, but these are totally all mine. The fact that we have any left since Friday is quite frankly a miracle. These are AMAZING. And again, insanely easy, much like the other chocolate dessert we crafted. But if you lack even a little in the willpower department, beware: these little cups are merciless.

For this recipe, you'll need:

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (You might assume that a peanut butter cup would insist upon a creamy texture, but I'd have to disagree. Chunky was an excellent choice.)
2 tablespoons vegan butter (Earth Balance makes a good organic option, which is the same price as the non-organic; in the not-sorry world, we call that a no-brainer.)
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (IF your peanut butter is already salted, skip this for sure.)
16 ounces dark chocolate (Lindt 70% is a good option for a completely dairy-free chocolate)

Break or chop your chocolate into smaller pieces. In my opinion, breaking is easier and creates fewer shards, which can be tough to scoop into the bowl. No chocolate left behind! Melt in the microwave in 20 second increments to avoid burning, stirring after each round. In a smaller separate bowl, combine your peanut butter, vegan butter and sugars (and salt, if your peanut butter is salt-free, to which I must ask: why?). Little tip, it helps if your peanut butter is just so slightly warm (think about 10-15 seconds in the microwave) in order to incorporate the sugar a little easier.

At this point, you're pretty much ready to go. Chances are the kitchen is smelling heavenly; soak it in. Arrange candy cup wrappers on a baking sheet. Transferring your melted chocolate into a pourable container, if you haven't melted it in one in the first place, carefully pour a little chocolate into the bottom of each wrapper. Once you've gotten to every wrapper, it's time to turn your attention back to the star of the show: the peanut butter filling. Using a half teaspoon measurement (ish), scoop out peanut butter filling, flattening slightly, and place one in each mold. Now it's time to go back to your chocolate, pouring just enough in each cup to cover the peanut butter. Transfer your tray to the fridge for about thirty minutes to allow the candy to set.

Though I usually don't advocate restraint when it comes to digging in, trust me on this: these ones are worth waiting for. In thirty minutes you will be the ecstatic owner of about two-ish dozen peanut butter cups with ingredients that you know and can pronounce. I don't know about you, but I think that makes eating candy just a little bit sweeter. (Come on, I had to.)

Want to make vegan dark chocolate truffles, too? Of course you do. Find the recipe here.