Crave chocolate and peanut butter? These dark chocolate peanut butter cups put a healthier spin on this favorite treat! Prepared with just a few ingredients such as good quality dark chocolate, natural peanut butter, plus a sprinkle of chopped peanuts and flaky salt on top, this dark chocolate peanut butter cup recipe is a fun classic made at home!
Healthier Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, Made From Scratch
Even though I'm a grown woman, I still love a chocolate peanut butter cup as much as I did when I was a kid.
I used to love opening up one of those bright orange packets containing two peanut butter cups (you know the one), and nibble around the edges of those sweet, irresistible cups until I made it to the center.
Then, I'd let that final bite of peanut buttery goodness just slowly melt in my mouth, savoring the sweet, creamy flavor.
Ah, the good ol' care-free days of childhood... when we ate whatever we wanted!
These days when I look at the back of that packet and actually read the list of (not-so-great) ingredients it contains, I promptly place it back on the shelf and think, “Eh, no thanks.”
Instead, I try to do a little bit better, and prepare my own chocolate peanut butter cups from scratch, with just a few simple ingredients I can actually pronounce, and that actually have some benefits!
Dark chocolate (at least 70 percent dark) is actually quite good for us, containing magnesium, iron and zinc, plus antioxidants, flavanols and anti-inflammatory properties—heck, sign me up!
And these dark chocolate peanut butter cups are made with a combination of 57 percent and 73 percent dark chocolate, a teeny touch of coconut oil, natural peanut butter, plus a small amount of powdered sugar to help with texture.
Then, they're topped with a combination of crushed peanuts and sprinkled with flaky salt for optional added flavor and a crunchy texture.
Such a perfect treat for chocolate lovers, one we can feel pretty darned good about enjoying!
My Recipe for Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
When it comes to making homemade chocolate peanut butter cups, choosing the peanut butter and chocolate is what it's all about...
For the peanut butter, it's best to go with smooth, natural peanut butter, which contains no other ingredients apart from roasted peanuts.
This is the kind of peanut butter which needs a little stirring to incorporate the oil into the peanut butter, and this is the best to use for peanut butter cups because of texture. It's also healthier, and contains none of the added hydrogenated oils or sweeteners conventional peanut butter contains.
When this smooth, natural peanut butter is mixed with a small amount of powdered sugar, it creates a similar texture to the filling in traditional peanut butter cups, kind of smooth and thick, yet slightly crunchy from the ground peanuts—it's quite delicious!
As for the chocolate, I simply buy 57 percent (for a touch of sweetness) and 73 percent plain dark chocolate bars (for that slightly more bitter, darker flavor), and chop those up to make them easy to melt.
I also use a touch of coconut oil when melting the chocolate to keep it smooth and shiny, and a tiny bit easier to bite into than it would be without it.
Mini muffin tin paper liners and a mini muffin tin are what I like to use for added structure. But if you don't have a mini muffin tin, no worries—just place the paper liners onto a tray or baking sheet, and even double up on the liners, if desired.
Here's a sneak peek at my dark chocolate peanut butter cups recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I place my mini muffin liners into my mini muffin tin.
- Next, I prepare my peanut butter filling mixture, and set that aside.
- I melt my chocolate with a touch of coconut oil, then spoon a small amount into the bottom of each mini muffin liner, using my spoon to coat the sides of the paper liner cups in chocolate as well.
- I place into the freezer for a few moments to allow the chocolate to harden, then spoon equal amounts of the peanut butter filling into the center of each.
- Then, I top with more melted chocolate, and sprinkle over a teeny bit of chopped peanuts and flaky salt.
- To finish, I place the peanut butter cups back into the freezer to allow the chocolate to just solidify before enjoying.
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
by Ingrid Beer
These scrumptious dark chocolate peanut butter cups are a healthy spin on a classic treat, topped with chopped peanuts and flaky salt!
Yield: 24 peanut butter cups
Nutrition Info: 145 calories (per peanut butter cup)
Prep Time: 25 minutes (does not include chill time)
Cook time: 0 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
- ¾ cup smooth, natural peanut butter (unsalted and unsweetened)
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar (sifted of lumps)
- 12 ounces dark chocolate bars, chopped (at least 57 percent up to 73 percent dark, or combo of both)
- 1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons cup finely crushed roasted peanuts, optional topping
- Flaky sea salt, optional topping
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- To prepare your peanut butter filling, add the peanut butter, powdered sugar and salt to a bowl, and using a rubber spatula, mix together until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- To melt your chocolate, place your chopped chocolate into a bowl along with the coconut oil, and set that bowl over a pot of water (making sure that it is not touching the water), similar to a double boiler. Bring the water to a low boil, and using rubber spatula, mix the chocolate, moving it around a bit, to allow it to melt completely.
- Remove the pot from the heat, keeping the bowl of melted chocolate over it to keep it warm and viscous/melted.
- Place your mini muffin cups into two mini muffin tins (if you have them), or onto a large tray.
- Spoon about 1 ½ teaspoons worth of the melted chocolate to the bottom of each paper cup, then use your spoon to gently drag it up the sides of the cup into the grooves a little bit. Place the cups into the freezer for 5 minutes or so to set and firm.
- Once firm, add about 1 ½ teaspoons of the peanut butter filling to the center of each chocolate cup, not going all the way to the edges, and leaving a tiny border. Very lightly moisten your finger with water (don't make it too wet), and gently press the filling to make it even and slightly flattened.
- Drizzle over top about 1 tablespoons worth of the melted chocolate, going about ¾ way up the paper cup, and place the peanut butter cups into the freezer once more for 5 minutes.
- If topping the peanut butter cups with the crushed peanuts and flaky salt, now is the time to sprinkle a small amount over each peanut butter cup, then place back into the freezer for 5 minutes more (roughly) to firm.
- Remove from freezer and place the dark chocolate peanut butter cups into a covered container or large ziplock bag, and either keep at room temp, or in the fridge or freezer as I like to do. Enjoy!
Tips & Tidbits for my Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups recipe:
- Smooth, natural peanut butter: If you can, opt for smooth, natural peanut butter here, the kind that you must give a bit of a stir to incorporate the oil into it. I use organic creamy peanut butter, because it contains no sweetener nor salt—no other ingredients—only roasted peanuts. It creates the best texture for the filling for chocolate peanut butter cups.
- At least 57 percent up to 73 percent dark chocolate, or combo of both: I like to go for the higher percentage dark chocolate for health benefits (and because I actually like that slightly more bitter, darker note), but you can use your own preferred percentage if that's too bitter for you. I often like to use a combo of 57 and 73 percent dark chocolate, so the peanut butter cups are not too sweet or bitter. You can even sub milk chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate, if desired.
- Mini muffin paper liners for candy making: Smaller dark chocolate peanut butter cups make for smaller treats, and more of them, which I like. So I like to use the dark brown colored mini muffin paper cups as they are lightly waxed or greased for easier removal of the peanut butter cup.
- How to store dark chocolate peanut butter cups: Because I like my peanut butter cups cold, I keep mine in either a covered container or in ziplock bags in the fridge. You can keep in a covered container or ziplock at room temp, if preferred.