Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Over the holidays, we treated ourselves to some Ritz crackers. They’re a guilty pleasure that we indulge maybe once or twice a year. As I looked through my bookmarks, I saw that I had a recipe for Ritz-stuffed peanut butter cups from Averie Cooks. They looked delicious, and the recipe only makes 4, so it’s not like we were risking over-indulging. But it seemed like a shame to bother melting chocolate and end up with so few cups to show for it, and since I still had most of a jar of homemade almond butter on hand, I decided to try out dark chocolate almond butter cups from Sprouted Kitchen at the same time. It turned out that the Ritz peanut butter cups were just okay, but the almond butter cups were beyond fantastic! This may be due to the quality of the almond butter, but really, they were amazing. Those are the ones I’d make again! Note that for both these recipes, I used silicone muffin liners, which made it easy to pop out the cup once it was solid. In all pictures, the almond cups are on the left, and the peanut butter cups are on the right. I’ve also included a shot where you can see what happens if the filling sits too close to the edge of the cup as you’re pouring chocolate on top – you’ll get a hole on the side. Not a big deal in my book, but if this bothers you, pay close attention as you’re doing that step!

Ritz Peanut Butter Cups (makes 4)
8 ounces semisweet chocolate (you may need less)
4 Ritz crackers (or gluten-free crackers)
6 tsp. peanut butter (1 ½ tsp. per cup), approximately

Place four paper or silicone muffin liners inside a muffin tin or on a flat work surface. Melt the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl or in a double boiler (my preferred method) and spoon approximately one tablespoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of each muffin liner. Place them into the freezer for a few minutes so the chocolate sets up. While the chocolate is setting, schmear each of the four crackers with peanut butter, approximately 1 ½ teaspoons of peanut butter for each cracker, or to taste. (Take care not to make the peanut butter too dome-like; rather spread it in a manner similar to the white cream center of an Oreo cookie.) Remove the chocolate-filled muffin liners from the freezer and carefully place one peanut butter-covered cracker in each cup. Cover the top of each cup with the remaining chocolate, reheating the chocolate a bit if necessary. Freeze or refrigerate the cups until the chocolate has set up before unwrapping and eating.

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (makes about 9)
7 oz. dark chocolate (not to exceed 70%; I think I used about 8 oz.)
½ cup natural almond butter
2 Tbsp. honey (or agave nectar)
1 Tbsp. powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. fine grain salt
sea salt flakes for topping

Break up the chocolate and melt in a double boiler. Stir to make sure it is perfectly smooth.
Set out silicone or paper liners in a muffin tin (this helps them hold their shape). Spoon about a teaspoon of the chocolate into the bottom. Tilt and twist it around so the chocolate coats the side of the liner and rest it back in the tin. Repeat with remaining papers. Mix the almond butter, honey, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt together until smooth to make the filling. Scoop out a teaspoon of the almond butter filling and gently roll it into a ball between your palms. Give it a press down and center it on top of the thin chocolate puddle. Repeat. Spoon chocolate on top of each almond butter ball to cover completely. Sprinkle a teensy pinch of flaked sea salt on each one and chill in the fridge to set.

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