These peanut butter cups might be my greatest recipe creation to date. They just turned out exactly like I wanted, and that is so satisfying! I used to make a version of peanut butter cups that had coconut oil in both the chocolate and peanut butter mixtures, but I would have to store them in the freezer and they really didn’t taste like what I wanted. Now I know that what I was missing was the proper fat.
Cocoa butter has a melting point around 100 degrees which, when compared to coconut oil’s 76 degrees, makes it a much better fat to use in homemade candies that you want to set up and harden at room temperature. Plus it has such a wonderful understated flavor, smooth and chocolatey. Not to mention the fact that the company on my resource page supplies a very high quality cocoa butter: food grade, organic, and raw-processed. The scent and flavor should be rich yet delicate.
I only became aware of cocoa butter for baking a few months ago. Usually you find cocoa butter for use in making lip balms and lotions. I tried this recipe for Cocoa-Butter Cupcakes, but it was very difficult to translate to American measurements. I am still working on a cupcake recipe that will work with being grain-free. I love the flavor of cocoa butter in baked goods. You can use cocoa butter as a replacement for butter in most recipes.
Ever finding out that I can digest cocoa powder* just fine, I have been on the lookout for honey-sweetened chocolate for the occasional GAPS treat. But I have been sorely disappointed. I have found honey-sweetened chocolates online, but they are a bit pricey and half the time contain soy lechithin anyways. So then I found out about cocoa butter and decided I would simply make my own!
I have always loved white chocolate over any milk or dark chocolate counterparts. Now I know that true white chocolate is made with cocoa butter only and then sweetened and scented with vanilla. No cocoa liqueur or powder is used in white chocolate, which is perfect for people on the GAPS diet. Cocoa beans, when harvested, are processed into half cocoa butter and half cocoa liqueur. The cocoa butter fat is much easier to digest than the other half of the cocoa bean after processing: the cocoa liqueur, which is usually processed to a powder for use in baking.
Some GAPS people can handle cocoa liqueur or cocoa powder without digestive upset. I am one of those lucky ones. This peanut butter cup recipe is for those who can digest both the cocoa butter and cocoa powder. If you still cannot handle the dark brown, classic part of the cocoa bean called cocoa powder, just stick to the cocoa butter alone. I will be adding more recipes using cocoa butter over the next few months. Look for a white chocolate chip recipe soon!
In the GAPS FAQ you can find this statement on reintroducing cocoa powder:
Cocoa is SCD illegal. However, I find that many people can start having it occasionally on the Full GAPS Diet, once the digestive symptoms are gone. Find pure organic cocoa powder. Mixing the powder with some honey and sour cream makes a delicious dessert, and you can add it to your homemade ice cream or cakes. After trying it for the first time, observe your patient for any reactions. Cocoa is very rich in magnesium and some essential amino acids and, unless your digestive system is not ready for it, there is no need to avoid it.
We are making these peanut butter cups as Christmas gifts for this year. I think they will be perfect wrapped up by fours in a clear bag, or perhaps a small pastry box. When made with real, clean ingedients, these peanut butter cups are rich and satisfying. You might only need to eat half of a cup at a time, savoring the flavors as they melt in your mouth.
I also use coffee in all my chocolate recipes. The combination of coffee with chocolate does not always impart a “mocha” flavor. In this case, you can’t taste the coffee, but the coffee enhances the flavor of the chocolate to where the chocolate tastes better. I even made two batches, one with the coffee and one without. You really can taste the difference that way. The one with coffee in it just tastes more rounded out. Fascinating!
- mini muffin baking pan (I know this is non-stick, but because I am using paper liners and not heating it up in the oven I feel comfortable using it.)
- mini muffin paper liners
- glass bowls for mixing
- saucepan for heating
- good quality whisk
- stainless steel ladle
- small ice cream scoop
Honey-Sweetened Peanut Butter Cups
makes 24 peanut butter cups
for the chocolate:
8 ounces cocoa butter (buy food-grade, organic cocoa butter here)
1 cup cocoa powder* (buy cocoa powder here)
1/2 cup raw set honey (buy raw honey here)
2 tablespoons brewed strong coffee (buy organic fair trade coffee here)
2 teaspoons good vanilla (buy extracts here)
for the peanut butter filling:
1/4 cup peanut butter (buy organic peanut butter here)
2 tablespoons palm shortening (buy organic palm shortening here)
2 tablespoons raw, set honey (buy raw honey here)
1 teaspoon vanilla (buy extracts here)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt (buy unrefined sea salt here)
Note: Make sure that no water or steam from the simmering water comes in contact with your chocolate mixture. This can cause your beautifully smooth creation to suddenly seize into a grainy mass. Remember that cocoa powder is like flour and if you add a little water then it will turn to a paste; also remember that even though the cocoa butter looks like a liquid it is going back to a solid state, so even a small amount of water will cause it not to set up properly.
- Line the mini muffin pan with paper liners. Set aside.
- Set a completely dry heatproof bowl over a saucepan with simmering water over medium low heat. Add cocoa butter and melt gently, stirring occasionally. When completely melted, add cocoa powder and honey, whisking to combine.
- Now add coffee and vanilla, whisking vigorously until smooth. Remove carefully from heat and set onto a towel to dry the bottom of the bowl completely. When you are sure there is absolutely no water on the bowl, set it next to your muffin pan filled with liners to cool a bit.
- Make the peanut butter filling: in a medium bowl stir together peanut butter, palm shortening, honey, vanilla, and salt until smooth. Set aside.
- Ladle slightly cooled chocolate into lined muffin cups, a little less than half full. Then, using the ice cream scoop half full, make small balls of peanut butter by rolling the scoops of dough in your hands. Then flatten them slightly into a disk. Drop each peanut butter disk into muffin cup. Ladle more chocolate over the top until the peanut butter is covered and the cups are full.
- Let sit at room temperature until solidified. Chomp!