A chewy and nutty raw brownie base. Oozy, smooth (or crunchy if you prefer!) peanut butter. A delicate, deep dark chocolate coating with coconut undertones with a satisfying crack when you bite into it.
With just 6 ingredients and 30 minutes to prep, you could have a whole tray of deliciously chocolatey cups with a melty peanut butter filling…
This is not a replica of a Reese’s peanut butter cups by any means! There are enough of those recipes floating around the Internet, so I wanted to shake things up a little.
What is a raw brownie base?
A raw brownie is essentially blitzed up nuts, dates, and cocoa powder. When blended it becomes a soft dough which you mould into a baking tray, set in the fridge or freezer, and cut into brownie slices!
When my husand and I first started dating, I wanted to make him a dessert-type thing. He has coeliac disease so I was eagerly surfing the web for something easy to make, to transport, and that would keep for a good few days.
I made Minimalist Baker’s raw brownies with chocolate ganache and he loved them. I loved them. I still make them all the time, minus the ganache unless I am feeling fancy. They taste just like RX Bars and are perfect for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack when I want something chocolatey to perk me up!
I adjusted the raw brownie recipe and used it as a base in these peanut butter cups and it was such a good move, if I say so myself. I always keep a few of these beauties on hand in the freezer. Any time I have a craving, I can sit in out on the counter and wait (impatiently) for 10ish minutes for it to defrost.
As well as being completely gluten-free, they’re vegan too!
Are these healthier than normal peanut butter cups?
I like by the mantra that everything is healthy in moderation and eat intuitively. These peanut butter cups with raw brownie base are healthy in moderation, just like a shop-bought Reese’s peanut butter cup would be.
Sometimes, you might be craving something a little sweet but you just don’t feel like something as sweet as a pre-packaged peanut butter cup. You might be looking for something that will keep you a fuller for longer. If that’s the case, these peanut butter cups with raw brownie base are the “healthier” option for you, because it’s what you really fancy eating!
One of these peanut butter cups packs approximately 6g of protein and 2g of fibre. A standard Reese’s peanut butter cup (17g weight) has 1.7g protein and 0.6g of fibre.
In terms of sugar, one of these cups has 14.5g of sugar, none of which is refined as it primarily comes from the dates. The sugar is also digested more slowly because of the fibre, protein, and fat. Interestingly, a Reese’s PB cup has 8g of sugar, but this is all refined and the low fibre and protein content means it is absorbed a lot more quickly, giving you that instant sugar rush you may be after!
A Reese’s PB cup is definitely a nice option if you want a sugar hit to round off a meal, but one my PB cups personally keeps me satisified for longer if I’m looking for a snack between meals.
If you do just want a standard, sweeter Reese’s peanut butter cup and you’re not fussed for something fibre-filled and protein-packed, then by all means go ahead – these are just a nice alternative that are a little more nutrient dense!
How do you make these peanut butter cups?
You can whip these peanut butter cups up fairly easily and most of the time is spent waiting for things to set.
First off, blend the nuts in a food processor until they are a fine powdery crumb. Be careful not to blend too much or they’ll become nut butter. If you blend too little, it won’t form a mouldable dough when you mix with the dates. Pour it into a bowl so you can blend the dates separately. By blending them separately, you’ll get a more even ratio of dates:nuts in the dough.
Blend your dates. Keep processing them until it becomes a paste. Add your nuts back in alongside the cocoa powder and a pinch of salt.
Take a spoonful of the mixture and press it into your tray or cupcake moulds. Cover the whole base of the mould evenly.
Then get your peanut butter. Smooth works best here, especially brands like Pip and Nut which are already super runny. If yours is a little more solid and hard to work with, try microwaving it in a microwave safe bowl or container in 10-15 second bursts. Dollop a bit of peanut butter on to each base – add as much or as little as you like, as long as you’ll be able to cover it with chocolate!
Pop in the freezer for 30 minutes until it has set. When it has set, get to work melting your chocolate! You can do this either in the microwave or over a double boiler.
If you choose microwave, go slow and steady otherwise you’ll burn your chocolate. Break up your chocolate into small even pieces and coconut oil, and heat in a microwave save bowl or container in 10-15 second increments and stir thoroughly each time for even melting.
If you choose the double boiler, fill a pan with a couple of inches worth of water and bring it to the boil. Pop a heat-proof glass bowl on top and add broken up, even pieces of chocolate and coconut oil to the bowl. Stir every so often until fully melted.
Take your tray/moulds out of the freezer and evenly divide the melted chocolate amongst all the peanut butter cups. Sprinkle with sea salt if you like before it sets and pop it back in the freezer for another half an hour.
After that, you can grab one whenever you fancy! Leave for 10 minutes to defrost so you can really taste and enjoy the texture.
How long does these keep?
These keep for a good while in the freezer. I would recommend storing for no longer than a month tops. In the fridge, I would keep them for no longer than a week.
Interested in some other sweet treats?
If, like me, you’ve always got a hankering for something chocolatey, these chocolate energy balls with popped amaranth and almonds might be up your street!
The recipe follows a similar method to making the raw brownie base, so you could even make the two at the same time.
Peanut Butter Cups with Raw Brownie Base
- 1 cup / 125g nuts (e.g. cashews, almonds, walnuts)
- 1 cup / 175g soft dates (soak in hot water if too dry)
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup / 190g smooth peanut butter (I love Pip and Nut or Meridian)
- 100 g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- In a food processor, blitz up the nuts until finely ground and pour into a separate bowl.
- Pulse the soft dates in the food processor until they form a paste. Add the ground nuts back in alongside the cocoa powder and a pinch of salt.
- Divide the mixture equally among the slots of a 12-hole muffin tin. Pat down until it forms a case-like shape.
- Dollop a bit of peanut butter on each case. If your peanut butter is quite solid, try microwaving it for a short time, 10-15 seconds max at a time.
- Place the muffin tray in the freezer for 30 minutes until the mixture has set.
- After it has set, remove the tray from the freezer. Either over a double boiler or in the microwave, melt the dark chocolate with the coconut oil until it is a glossy, runny mixture.
- Spoon the dark chocolate mixture equally between the 12 slot, covering the top of the peanut butter completely.
- Place in the freezer for a further 30 minutes.
- When you fancy a little snack, remove the tray for the freezer and pop out one of the peanut butter cup with a fork or knife. Let it thaw for a few minutes and enjoy!