I'm always telling my clients that wellness is not about deprivation, that for every "bad" or "junky" food there's a better, more nutritious variation. Sometimes the variations can be found on store shelves- Beanitos instead of Doritos, for example, or a KIND bar in place of a chemical and preservative-filled protein bar. And sometimes the better choice is as close as your pantry.
I'm a big fan of peanut butter cups. My son would say I'm obsessed. And yes, now and then I still grab the Reese's version. After all, it's the food we eat on a daily basis that defines our health, not the once or twice a year splurge.
But (and it's a BIG but, no pun intended), I want to be able to eat a peanut butter cup more than a couple of times a year and I don't want to sabotage my health or feel guilty about it. So, I whip up a batch of my Raw Chocolate-Almond Butter Cups to keep in the freezer so I can have a treat any time, every day if I so please.
These cups are easy-peasy to toss together, they keep forever in the freezer, and they require only four simple ingredients: raw organic cacao powder, raw almond butter, coconut oil, and a liquid sweetener of your choice. I use coconut nectar but maple syrup and raw honey work well also.
If you're not familiar, raw cacao is an uber-nutritious food, loaded with fiber, iron and antioxidants. In fact, it's one of the most (if not THE most) antioxidant-rich food on the planet. You can get more info on it's amazingness here.
Now, you can go the peanut butter route if that's what you're into, but I adore almond butter so that's what I use. You could also substitute cashew butter, Nutzo or sunflower seed butter, whatever floats your boat.
Once you've mastered this simple technique for making raw chocolate you can have fun varying the filling and/or adding optional mix-ins. The last time I made these I went a little crazy and experimented with just about everything in my pantry, replacing the nut butter filling with other yummy options. Several clear winners were found: Banana White Chocolate Ganache, Cacao Crispies, and Bangin' Beanitos. Next time I'm going to try adding a layer of vegan caramel with the almond butter filling, I'm fairly certain that variation may be the best one yet.
Raw Chocolate-Nut Butter Cups
1 cup raw almond butter (or other nut/seed butter)
1 tablespoon coconut oil (if solid you'll need to liquify it)
1 tablespoon coconut nectar or liquid sweetener of choice
2/3 cup raw organic cacao powder
1/3 cup coconut oil (if solid you'll need to liquify it)
1-2 tablespoons coconut nectar or liquid sweetener of choice
Nuts, cacao nubs, dried fruit, banana slices, cacao crisps (like Koala Crisp), Beanitos
Combine the filling ingredients in a small bowl, whisking until smooth. Combine the chocolate ingredients in a separate small bowl, again whisking smooth.
If you want the classic look shown in the top photo of this post simple layer the nut butter and then the chocolate into some cupcake papers and pop them into the freezer until firm. If you want the nut butter to be a true "filling" then spoon some chocolate into your papers and allow it to set up in the freezer for about 15 minutes then add the filling and the top layer of chocolate and return to the freezer. I like to set the paper cups inside a glass or cup and then place the cups in a cake pan to make them easier to move in and out of the freezer.
Once frozen you'll want to transfer the cups into an airtight container or zip lock bag for freshness. Keep your treats in the freezer for the longest shelf life. Let them sit at room temperature for a few minutes before diving in so they soften up a bit. I like to allow mine to freeze then cut them into bite sized pieces. I keep the pieces in a lidded container in the freezer so I can grab a piece and go.