Healthy homemade peanut butter cups. Yum. What could be better around Valentine’s Day, or any time of year for that matter? Regardless of how you make it, peanut butter cups are definitely a treat, but making them with the right fats and sweeteners will give your body a little extra love.
Whenever it’s possible, I cook and bake with coconut oil. Coconut oil is a medium chain triglyceride (MCT). MCTs convert to energy (not fat) much faster than any other oil. That’s not to say that other fats, like olive oil, avocado, eggs or nut oils aren’t healthy! Coconut oil is just the cream of the crop as far as I’m concerned. Because they’re loaded with MCTs, they’re ideal not just for athletes or people who are trying to watch their weight.
Unsweetened cocoa powder also has its fair share of benefits. Cocoa powder is full of antioxidants, known to improve cardiovascular health and contains iron, magnesium and zinc, among others. Cocoa powder is also known to boost mood by having a positive effect on our neurotransmitters! Eating a reasonable amount of clean chocolate can actually be very good for you on many levels.
Healthy Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Yields 10 Cups
- ¾ cup coconut oil
- ¾ cup cocoa powder (unsweetened)
- ¼ cup honey (substitute agave nectar to make vegan)
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- PEANUT BUTTER: Get your peanut butter ready to go right away. I prefer to use an organic and unsweetened peanut butter. Most conventional peanut butters contain lots of unhealthy oils and added sugar. The chocolate will be sweet enough.
I opted to put my peanut butter (chunky style) in a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, you can use a sandwich bag, cutting off a small corner, or you can use a spoon.
Note: If you can’t eat peanut butter, you can substitute any other nut butter, or even sunflower seed butter if you can’t have nuts!
- COCONUT OIL: If you’re making the cups over the cooler months, your coconut oil is probably solid. Melt the oil in a medium-size bowl or 4-cup measuring cup. Personally, I’m a fan of the measuring cup because it makes pouring the chocolate into the baking cups a little easier.
I double boil the coconut oil in a streaming basket. Works just as well as a traditional double boiler.
- COCOA POWDER: While the coconut oil is melting, sift the cocoa powder. You don’t want any clumps or it will be more challenging to get a really smooth chocolate. After the chocolate is sifted, add to the melted oil. Stir in until it dissolves completely.
- VANILLA & HONEY: After the coconut oil and cocoa powder are combined, add the vanilla and honey.
- BOTTOM LAYER: Pour about ¼ of an inch into each of the baking cups. Let them cool until solid. To speed this up, place the cups in the refrigerator for five to ten minutes.
- PEANUT BUTTER: Add the peanut butter on top of the bottom layer of chocolate. I like to add about a dollop that’s no larger than a quarter, but if you want more, go ahead an add it. Some people love their peanut butter!
- TOP LAYER: Now it’s time to add the top layer of chocolate. Pour about ¼ of an inch on top of the peanut butter. Make sure the peanut butter is flat enough so the chocolate sets nice and even. Place the layered cups into the refrigerator for about an hour. Enjoy!
If your kitchen is warm, it’s best to keep the cups in the refrigerator…or you might end up with cups that are a little on the soft side. Enjoy!
Traci D Mitchell is a nationally-recognized Chicago-based nutrition coach and personal trainer featured on the TODAY Show and Dr. Oz. As the trainer for Steve Harvey’s Bridal Bootcamp, Traci keeps herself busy by challenging others to be the healthiest they can be. Traci is available for corporate speaking events and private coaching. Interested in working with Traci? Get info here. To keep up-to-date, subscribe to her newsletter.