I’m a mega fan of these salted chocolate peanut butter jelly cups. They’re a bit nostalgic, sitting somewhere noncommittal between a peanut butter jelly sandwich and Reeses Peanut Butter Cup. Ready within 25-minutes, they’re the perfect healthier dessert.
Buckle in for a kitchen adventure! If your holy grail lunchbox sandwich was PB jelly growing up, you’ll love this fun dessert idea made with simple ingredients – peanut butter and jelly chocolate cups.
The combination of creamy nut butter and fruity sweet jam hits in all the right ways, but with the addition of bitter dark chocolate taking things to new heights.
In my quest to find the best, I’ve tried (and eaten) many flavour variations of these vegan homemade peanut butter cups. The below is my pick – final answer, locked in, don’t need to ask the audience or phone-a-friend:
Jam – raspberry. For its vibrant colour, but also flavour. While jam is super sweet (it’s preserved with sugar afterall), raspberry offers a bit more flavour punch, maybe due to its tartness.
Chocolate – dark. I used an above 70% bar – the slight bitterness works great with the sweetness. The cocoa provides antioxidant benefits too! Dark chocolate is typically devoid of milk products, making this dessert dairy and vegan friendly (but check the ingredients to be sure).
Nut butter – peanut. Classic, trusty and noble. Look out for a peanut butter with just two ingredients; nuts and salt. It’s all that’s needed. If you’re nut free, sub in a seed butter.
Flakey salt – the hero ingredient. My favourite ingredient in the kitchen. It performs miraculous tricks and without it all dishes fall flat. Just the right amount of salt will make sweet things taste sweeter, bring out and intensify natural flavours and make food more palatable. Sprinkle flakes overtop of your cups for a bit of oomph.
As I’m not governor of your tastebuds, by all means feel free to stray from the above – you can use any jam on hand, any type of chocolate and any nut butter. Have fun and play!
Here are tips to help your kitchen flow:
Melt chocolate bain marie style aka in a heatproof bowl over a simmering pot of water. This will melt the chocolate gently, reduce the risk of burning, and keep it at the right consistency as you move through the recipe.
Opt for mini muffin cups. This recipe yield 12 servings, with each cup counting as a single serve. With PB and chocolate a decadent duo, I find a regular muffin size cup too overwhelming (and that’s as a nut butter lover!).
When making the chocolate shell, try get the drizzle up at least a quarter of the way up the muffin case. It will form the shell that holds the nut butter and jam. Without this sealed the spreads ooze out and looks more like a chocolate sandwich (not a deal breaker, just messy to eat).
Sprinkle salt overtop just as the chocolate starts to harden and set – that way they’ll be propped up looking pretty when you go to bite in!
Nutrition + Culinary Q&A
Is dark chocolate vegan? Usually yes – high quality dark chocolate typically doesn’t contain, or characteristically require, dairy or milk products (or any animal products), making it vegan friendly. But this isn’t a blanket rule – it’s important to check the labelling or ingredients to be sure.
Is peanut butter healthy? Peanut butter is a nutritious addition to a balanced diet. While a source of all three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates (including fibre!) and fat – its primary macronutrient is the latter. Half of of the fat found in pure peanut butter is oleic acid, a nutritious monounsaturated fat that’s also rich in olive oil. Around 25% of peanut butter is plant-based protein (helping to keep you satisfied when you spread it on a sandwich!), and it’s fairly rich in an array of vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, vitamin B3, magnesium and copper.
What is the best type of chocolate for peanut butter cups? To balance the flavours, I recommend a 70% dark chocolate. A higher percentage works well too, it will just be a bit more bitter (the sweetness of the jam helping balance this). Milk chocolate also works, the cups will just taste sweeter. Be extra mindful if using white chocolate – as it doesn’t contain cocoa solids it can easily scorch, or turn lumpy and grainy when melted.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy these peanut butter treats as much as I do. If you’re after more chocolate desserts, with minimal ingredients, check out these chocolate hazelnut bliss balls.
Line a mini muffin tray with 12 mini muffin cases. Make a little room in the freezer for the tray’s impending arrival.
Melt the chocolate bain marie style. Start by breaking the chocolate into small pieces and then place it into a heatproof bowl. Sit over a small stove-pot of barely simmering water (a bain marie) and allow the chocolate to melt, stirring occasionally. The bowl and water in the stovetop shouldn’t touch – but the heat that comes up will melt the chocolate! Once melted, turn off heat.
Bring muffin tray over to the melted chocolate. Drizzle 1 tsp of melted chocolate into each mini muffin case. As soon as it’s in, quickly rotate the case in your hand so the chocolate goes about ¼ of the way up the side of the case, or as high as you can get it. This will help form a shell, with is important to ensuring these turn out to be pb and jelly cups, not sandwiches!
Place the tray in the freeze – the shells will take just a few minutes to harden.
Once the shells have hardened, remove from the freezer and add ½ tsp of peanut butter into the middle of each case. If it’s a bit runny, it’ll spread – but the case you’ve made should keep it contained! Follow this with ½ tsp raspberry jam into each.
Add 2 tsp of the remaining melted chocolate into each, or distribute evenly. The peanut butter and jam should be well covered.
Place in the freezer for two minutes to semi-set. Remove and sprinkle overtop a really decent pinch of salt. Place back in the freezer to harden for another ten or so minutes.
Storage: Keep these in the fridge to maintain optimal gooey pb consistency when you bite in.
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