Featured Ingredient: Peanut Butter
A staple in most people’s pantry, peanut butter contains a number of vital minerals and vitamins such as selenium, vitamin E, magnesium and niacin making it a nutritional winner. An abundance of healthy monounsaturated fats makes peanut butter a champion for heart health. But even if it didn’t contain all this goodness, I’d still eat copious amounts of the creamy stuff because it’s so damn good.
It’s always a good idea to stick with natural peanut butter to avoid added sugars and hydrogenated oils. The best peanut butters have one solitary ingredient: peanuts! Now that I have exposed my palate to natural peanut butter for several years, I can’t stand the waxy tasting mass produced stuff.
Perhaps the only thing better than peanut butter is peanut butter and chocolate. These indulgent treats are a healthier version of the iconic Reese's peanut butter cups. They are crazy easy to make and are an indulgent tasting treat if there ever was one. The powdered sugar helps thicken up the peanut butter which would probably be too moist on its own for the filling. I think these would be a great candidate for mini muffin cups for better portion control. You could also stuff them with almond butter (yeah, I think I just may try that next time around).
Peanut Butter Chocolate Cups
6 ounces dark chocolate bar, chopped or dark chocolate chips (probably about 1 cup)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper or chili powder
½ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup powdered sugar
½ tsp. vanilla extract
Dash of salt
Place chopped chocolate or chocolate chips in a stainless steel or glass bowl and place it over a saucepan of simmering water (i.e. the double boiler method). Stir chocolate frequently until it is melted. You could probably melt the chocolate in the microwave as well. Stir cayenne or chili into melted chocolate.
Place paper liners in 6 muffin cups. Place a dollop of chocolate into each muffin cup and use a butter knife or back of a spoon to spread the chocolate over the bottom and half way up the paper liners. Don’t use more than half the chocolate.
Set the muffin tray in the freezer until the chocolate has hardened, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt in a bowl until all the sugar is incorporated. Remove muffin tray from freezer when ready and spoon an equal amount of the peanut butter into each of the muffin cups.
Place remaining chocolate over the peanut butter and use a knife to spread it over the entire surface. Chill in the fridge for a couple hours before serving.