Homemade Peanut Butter Cups | FoodLovesWriting.com

Here we are, the day after Thanksgiving, and while I already know you’re not reading this in the early morning hours as it posts, not when you’re either still in bed, reeling from yesterday’s food coma, or, out in the crowds, fighting your way through Black Friday traffic and sales, I’m bringing you a festive Christmas-colored homemade peanut butter cup recipe right now anyway because (a) It’s from a cookbook I want to tell you about and (b) hello, it’s peanut butter cups. Homemade peanut butter cups! A girl hardly needs the perfect time to share that.

homemade pantry | foodloveswriting.com

So first, the cookbook. I added Alana Chernila’s book to my library queue months ago, and, despite faithfully reading her thoughtful and empowering blog, Eating from the Ground Up, in the intervening time since, I have to admit that I’d all but forgotten about it completely when my email notification finally came, letting me know, at last, my time had come.

The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making is one of those cookbooks that’s handy to have around. Maybe you’re the kind of person who has always wanted to bake her own graham crackers but didn’t know where to start: this book shows you how. Maybe you’re curious about vanilla extract: here’s the way to make it. In my case, one quick flip through the pages (and in the grocery store parking lot, no less!) had me bookmarking five or six recipes to try, right away. I bought peanuts to make peanut butter. I turned pie crusts into toaster pastries. And, twice last week, before we came home for the holiday, I made homemade peanut butter cups.

Homemade Peanut Butter | FoodLovesWriting.com

What I like so much about making your own peanut butter cups—very much like making your own kombucha or kefir or salsa or pesto or sourdough bread—is that doing so opens your eyes to possibility. What once was something to buy is now something that may be made. What once was unknown becomes manageable. It’s freeing. It’s empowering. It’s one of my favorite things about cooking.

paper wrappers |foodloveswriting.com
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups | FoodLovesWriting.com
Homemade Peanut Butter Cups | FoodLovesWriting.com

And in the case of these peanut butter cups, it’s also delicious. The process is easy, and you can customize the finished chocolates by choosing the type and darkness you like, adjusting it to your taste—maybe you’re like us and want to combine 100% chocolate with 85%, for a dark, dark version that’s hardly even sweet; or maybe, on the other hand, you want a milk chocolate; or, maybe you want a chocolate you can make on your own—you begin by setting out mini muffin liners, then melting some chocolate; spoon a little into the liners; mix up the filling and scoop some inside; top everything with chocolate; let it harden. That’s it!

These rich and nutty treats pack an impressive depth of flavor, even beyond being pretty and sweet. It should also be said, since the day after Thanksgiving is nothing if not the start of the Christmas season, that they’d make great additions to holiday gift baskets in the coming weeks. Enjoy!

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Adapted from The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Makinghomemade pantry cookbook
Makes 15 mini peanut butter cups

Just as further proof of the flexibility of this great recipe: The original ingredients in Alana’s book called for a pound of chocolate, with all the remaining ingredients doubled, to make a total of 30 cups. Because we were buying dark chocolate bars, we rounded down to get two 3.5-ounce bars (total of 7 ounces, just shy of 1/2 pound), and it still worked great!

Two of your favorite 3.5-ounce dark chocolate bars, broken up into pieces (we like super dark, as in 85%)
½ cup peanut butter*
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon palm sugar (or Sucanat or sugar)

Lay out 15 mini muffin liners on a large plate(s) or baking sheet. Set up a double boiler over medium heat, using it to melt the chocolate, stirring while it does. Once chocolate is totally smooth, remove from heat.

Spoon a little bit of the chocolate into each muffin liner, aiming to make a very thin, light coating. Use the back of the spoon to spread the chocolate around the sides as well. Essentially, you just want the cup to look like it has a thin coat of chocolate on the bottom and up the sides a little; everything else will get filled in, so no worries. Set aside.

In a food processor, combine peanut butter, vanilla extract, salt and palm sugar. Mix until everything’s smooth and uniform. Even if the chocolate hasn’t hardened yet, spoon a little of the peanut butter mixture into each muffin liner, aiming to plop in enough to fill the liner about 3/4 of the way.

Spoon chocolate over the peanut butter mixture in each liner to the top. Let firm up at room temperature, or you can refrigerate to fully set (*since we made our own peanut butter with peanuts, coconut oil and salt, we found our PB cups do best in the fridge).

Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon started Food Loves Writing back in 2008, as a way to remember her grandma and write about her life through food. Since then it's become a place leading her to a lifestyle of eating whole foods, a new home in Nashville and the love of her life, Tim. Follow Shanna on Twitter @foodloves, keep up with Food Loves Writing on Facebook and stay inspired with the monthly newsletter.

This Post Has 18 Comments

  1. Little Kitchie

    Sounds like a fabulous cookbook! And homemade peanut butter cups…YUM!

  2. Alicia

    Mmmm. I’ve made peanut butter cups too, they are insanely amazing. In fact, I made them for my boyfriend’s mother when meeting her for the first time. She ate all of them, didn’t even give one to my boyfriend. Definitely a hit!

  3. Erin

    Oh YUM. Also, that cookbook looks fantastic. I think I might need to add it to my wishlist. :)

  4. jessiev

    oh MY. you had me at the title. i LOVE peanut butter cups. will be making this today – thank you!! we make our own peanut butter and this will be SO good. btw, made these amazing peanut butter cookies from abby dodge’s new cookbook, you’d love them!

  5. Amy

    These look absolutely delicious, and oh my the possibilities are endless. What about white chocolate with pistachio butter filling or dark chocolate with toasted almond butter… I feel the need to experiment with this one!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      I like the way you think! : )

  6. Kathryn

    The more I make things from scratch, the more I feel like I understand food. How things work together, how flavours mingle and merge, how different techniques can give you different (or the same) results. Love the idea of making peanut butter cups from scratch, not least because the commercial ones are incredibly expensive here! A perfect post-Thanksgiving bite :)

  7. la domestique

    Peanut butter cups are my favorite candy, and The Homemade Pantry is such a great book. I gave it to my lil’ sis for her birthday because she has decided to stay home with her baby boy and wanted to learn how to make staples rather than buy them. She loves it!

  8. wesley @ the way home

    Those look DELICIOUS!

  9. Rachel

    These look so good! I have picked up that book multiple times in the book store and have considered purchasing it. It intrigues me to be able to make all of those “convenience” items that can so easily be made at home. Maybe I should revisit that book next time I am at the book store and purchase it. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Rachel, I think it’s such an ingenious concept for a book: make everything from scratch, starting with the things we never think about making from scratch. Would be a great Christmas wish-lister. : )

  10. The Food Hound

    I love making everything from scratch, though the process of making bread and I have a love-hate relationship, so I usually buy it for optimal results :) I love that you make these in the muffin liners so they look like real PB cups! And they are so easy but SO impressive!

  11. Monika

    Mmmm I love making homemade peanut butter cups (especially giant ones with full-size muffin tins hehe), and this book has been on my wishlist for a while now. Sometimes to make the filling have a more crumbly, Reese’s-like texture, I use a little bit of milk, and use powdered sugar instead. Another variation I like is adding some honey and cinnamon!

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Good suggestions, Monika! Thank you!

  12. sarah kate branine

    Oh goodness. Here I sit in my comfy chair, with my blanket and computer over my lap, willing myself to go into the kitchen and make these! Wow. They look so! good! By the way, I should tell you, because I forgot to add this in my post, that when I brought home the 5x7s, I glued them to some heavy-duty card stock before I hung them on the tree. They’re very sturdy and I like that I can’t see through them : ) Oh! And I also added Graeme’s little pinecone garland– I think the tree was a little too bare without it. Well, goodness, how ’bout you just come visit and we can make these together. I made your kabocha squash recipe. They turned out so good. . .the second time, ha! I made a major blooper the first time around. Think muffin cups. Think sizzle sound as I poke the toothpick into the ‘custard’. Think disintegration. Oh, silly me. I know for next time: Ask Shanna First.

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Haha, Sarah! Thanks for the tips on the photos — I can’t wait to try this project out, and knowing about the cardstock is a big help! And, on the custards: oh no! Honestly, if you had asked me if you could make them in muffin cups, I would have said, I don’t know, maybe! So now if someone asks me, I’ll say definitely not, my friend Sarah tested it, and it’s a no. : ) Thanks for your help and research and for letting me know here!

  13. Kristie

    These look amazing! I will definitely be making them. I’m curious why you use coconut oil in your peanut butter. At our local co-op there’s a machine that grinds peanuts into peanut butter – it’s only peanuts and it’s delicious! The same could be done in a food processor, but we just get it there because it’s easier and the peanut butter is the same price as buying bulk peanuts. Do you add the coconut oil to make it smoother or for flavor?

    1. Shanna Mallon

      Ha, Kristie, that is a good question. I think it was originally because I was tweaking a recipe that used some other oil, and I would guess it used the oil to create a certain consistency. But, after trying it, I wouldn’t recommend coconut oil because of its tendency to harden and make the peanut butter weird. It works and the butter tastes good, but next time, I think I would roast the peanuts and then blend them, by themselves, like you said. Hope you enjoy this!

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