Get ready for a lip-smacking adventure as we dive into the world of homemade chocolate peanut butter cups!
This super simple and scrumptious recipe will have you and your friends begging for more.
They’re perfect for parties, picnics, gifts, or even just a midday snack. And you only need 5 natural ingredients to get started (no preservatives or other weird additives in sight).
- Semisweet chocolate: I think semisweet chocolate is best for a balanced blend of sweetness and rich cocoa flavor. But you can use any chocolate you want (more on this later).
- Peanut butter: opt for a creamy texture so it blends better with the other ingredients. Shelf stable peanut butter is easiest to work with in this recipe. If you use natural peanut butter, you may need to add a bit more sugar to the mixture to stop it separating.
- Salt: a pinch of salt will complement the sweetness of the chocolate. And you can sprinkle a bit over the top for decoration.
- Light brown sugar or powdered sugar: This helps thicken the peanut butter to ensure it sets properly. I like using brown sugar for its rich caramel notes.
- Graham cracker crumbs (optional): these add a subtle crunch to the peanut butter filling and can also help thicken it.
Which chocolate is best?
As I mentioned above, I’m a fan of using semisweet chocolate for this recipe.
I find the combination of milk or white chocolate with peanut butter to be too sweet. But you might have more of a sweet tooth than me!
Milk or white chocolate will also melt faster when you’re handling the cups.
If you want to go for a darker chocolate this can work too, but you’ll need to add a softener or the cups will be too hard to bite into.
Add 2 tbsp of coconut oil to 8-ounces of dark chocolate to soften it and keep it ‘biteable’.
If you’re feeling really adventurous, you can even try mixing white chocolate with a darker chocolate and create a swirled pattern.
Step 1: Melt the chocolate
Melt semisweet chocolate, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt in a heavy-based saucepan, double-boiler, or the microwave and stir until smooth.
I like using a double boiler because it gives me the most control over the melting chocolate.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces, and place them in a bowl. Rest the bowl over a saucepan filled with lightly simmering water and stir the chocolate until smooth.
If you go for the microwave – use 30 seconds intervals and stir during each break.
Psst… did you know you can even use a slow cooker to melt chocolate? This is a useful method if you’re trying to melt a lot of chocolate at once, but it will take a while.
Place your chocolate in a heat proof container and place it in the slow cooker. Then fill the slow cooker with water until it’s half way up your container. Turn the cooker onto high, and leave uncovered until all the chocolate is melted (around 20-30 minutes).
Step 2: Make the chocolate base
Then spread the melted chocolate into each liner, covering the bottom and 1/4 up the sides. Use the back of a spoon to spread the chocolate around.
Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
If covering the sides is too fiddly or you want the peanut butter layer to be visible, you can skip this bit.
Step 3: Prepare the peanut butter filling
Meanwhile, mix peanut butter, sugar, graham cracker crumbs (optional), and a pinch of salt to make the filling.
Divide the filling evenly among the set chocolate cups and refrigerate for another 20 minutes.
Top tip: if the peanut butter isn’t level, gently drop the pan on the counter a few times to flatten it.
Got loads of peanut butter left over? Check out my guide on how to freeze peanut butter so it lasts for ages.
Step 4: Add the final chocolate layer
Top each cup with a layer of melted chocolate, covering the filling completely.
If you want to add a little decoration like sprinkles, salt, or some crushed nuts, add them now.
Refrigerate (again, I know!) for 1 hour before tucking in.
Hint: if you want the chocolate to set faster, you can use the freezer instead of the fridge.
Here are a few ways you can mix up your peanut butter cups.
- Add a fruity twist by placing a small dollop of raspberry or strawberry jam on top of the peanut butter filling before adding the final chocolate layer.
- Create a crunchy variation by mixing chopped nuts, like almonds or pecans, into the peanut butter filling. You could even try adding bacon bits to the filling.
- Experiment with flavors by using almond or cashew butter instead of peanut butter for a nutty alternative. Keep in mind different nut butters might have a looser texture (which you can fix with more sugar or graham crackers). For a nut-free version, use sunflower seed butter.
These chocolate peanut butter cups are great on their own as a sweet snack. But you can also pair with with other sweet treats to make a decadent dessert.
- Espresso or coffee: The bold flavor of coffee will complement the sweet and creamy peanut butter cups and turn them into a grown up treat.
- Vanilla ice cream: A scoop of classic vanilla ice cream served alongside the cups will adds a cooling element and excite the kids even more!
- Miniature dessert assortment: Combine these peanut butter cups with other bite-sized treats, such as macarons, brownie bites, or mini tarts for a varied dessert platter.
You can use regular sized cupcake liners or minis, depending on what size cups you want.
My recipe is for regular sized cups. If you have mini liners, reduce the amount of chocolate / filling you add in each step.
Store leftover peanut butter cups in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.
To enjoy frozen cups, simply let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving.
The cups can be left at room temperature for a few hours, but after that they can melt which you don’t want to happen!
- For the chocolate:
- 1 1/2 cups 273g chopped semisweet chocolate
- 2 tablespoons 32g peanut butter
- Pinch salt
- For the filling:
- 12 tablespoons or 3/4 cup (192g) peanut butter
- 1/3 cup 64g light brown sugar or powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons 10g graham cracker crumbs, optional
- Pinch salt
- Prepare a standard muffin tin with 12 paper liners.
- Combine chocolate, peanut butter and salt in a heavy-based saucepan over very low heat, or use a double-boiler, to melt the chocolate. Stir frequently. Remove from heat.
- Place 2 teaspoons melted chocolate in each cupcake liner and carefully spread it with the back of a spoon at the bottom and only 1/4 of the way up the liner. Repeat with all 12 liners.
- Place the chocolate-covered liners onto a plate in the fridge to firm up, for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling: Stir together peanut butter, sugar, optional crumbs, and salt.
- The chocolate should be hard by now, so divide peanut butter paste into all 12 liners, about 1 heaping tablespoon (20g) per liner, pressing down gently to make sure the paste goes everywhere. Place in fridge to firm up, for about 20 minutes.
- Top with 2 teaspoons melted chocolate, spreading carefully so that none of the peanut butter can be seen.
- Let cups firm up in fridge for at least one hour before enjoying. Store in fridge or freezer.