Happy basket full of chocolate day!
When I was a wee muffin, Easter meant that a human sized fictional bunny would sneak into my bedroom when I was sleeping, and leave me a basket full of chocolates, candies, and sometimes little toys or gifts. The whole thing had a very Santa Claus vibe to it, and so of course, I absolutely loved it!
If I'm ever at my parents house for Easter I still sometimes find a treat left outside my bedroom door. Aww shucks, thanks Mom...er, I mean Mr. Easter Bunny.
Easter egg hunting was a whole other part of the holiday, and it was full on war. Every year the fam (there is somewhere around 10 cousins) would go to a family members house to celebrate Easter. Upon arrival I would secretly scout out and memorize where all the Easter eggs were hiding, while acting like I didn't care, and definitely wasn't cheating.
All the kids would be sitting on our hands desperately trying to act natural, until FINALLY some aunt would decide it was time to start the Easter egg hunt and then we would all frantically dash around collecting as many chocolates as we possible get our mitts on.
There was no equally dividing the chocolates among us, or any of that very fair sharing thing kids do nowadays. What you were able to collect was what you got. At 6 years old chocolate was VERY serious stuff, so yes, this was incredibly stressful for me.
Now I am so much more civil, I will just make large batches of chocolates at home, and not share them with anybody, so there.
Ok, ok, I will share... if I have to... I guess.
One of my most favourites chocolates was Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, which I am pretty sure is one of the worlds most favourite chocolates. I think there are some rather pricey vegan versions of these that you can buy, but seriously dude, these are so easy to make.
Like kinda too easy to make. So easy to whip up and then have 20 chocolates sitting around staring at you, Gah!
I've seen some vegan recipes where they just fill the center with peanut butter, and you have to keep them frozen or they will melt... My recipes is not like that. You can make these and once set, they are totally shelf stable, and sugary delicious, just like Reese's, except so much better.
To Make Vegan Peanut Butter Cups:
Mix up the peanut butter with powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. It forms this kind of peanut butter dough. Taste it. You're welcome.
Melt your chocolate chips in a double boiler, then remove from heat. If your chocolate firms up while you are working with it, just pop it back on the double boiler to melt again.
If you don't have a double boiler, you can use my method, and just pop a heat safe bowl over a pot of boiling water. Congratulations, you just made yourself a double boiler.
The reason you want to melt the chips in a double boiler vs. a pot directly on the heat, is that chocolate burns and turns grainy very easily, and once it burns there is no going back. Your chocolate is ruined. So melting it in a double boiler ensures it doesn't burn.
You could also melt your chips in a microwave, but I don't have one of those, so you are on your own with that one.
Take some cupcake liners and pour in about 1 to 2 teaspoons of chocolate. Just enough to cover the bottom of the liner. You can use the spoon to spread the chocolate around.
Now pinch off some of your peanut butter dough, and shape into a disc that is just a bit smaller than your liner, so that there is room for the chocolate to go around the edges of the dough. This does not have to be beautiful. I like a thick peanut butter center, but you can decide how much or little peanut butter dough to use.
Now use another spoonful or two of chocolate to cover the peanut butter disc. You may need to use your spoon to help spread the chocolate. Repeat with all of the remaining chocolate and peanut butter dough.
Put the chocolates on a baking tray so they are easier to manage, and then pop them in the fridge for about 30 minutes, until the chocolate has completely firmed up and set.
Once set you can peel off the cupcake liners, or just trim down the wrappers if you want to leave them on. Store in an airtight container in the cupboard.
You can also use any chocolate mold or silicon mold to make fun shapes. I had these mini peanut butter cup molds that I followed the same process with. There are a ton of fun shapes on Amazon such as these Easter Egg Molds, Christmas Tree Molds, Truffle Molds, and if you ever wanted Moustache Shaped vegan peanut butter cups, you can definitely make those.
Or if you are feeling crafty, you can also shape the peanut butter dough into balls or egg shapes and then just dip the dough into the chocolate and lay on parchment paper to set.
Is peanut butter vegan?
Most peanut butter is made up of peanuts and salt. Some may also contain oil or added sugar. Sometimes peanut butter may contain honey, but almost all peanut butter is 100% vegan.
Can I freeze vegan peanut butter cups?
Yes! If kept in an air-tight container or sealed freezer bags, peanut butter cups freeze beautifully and (if stored properly) can last up to 12 months!
Is there a nut-free version of peanut butter cups?
If you swap out the peanut butter for a peanut butter alternative (sunflower seed butter, etc.) you can make a nut-free version.
Are peanut butter cups gluten-free?
This recipe is gluten-free!
Vegan Peanut Butter Cups
- In a medium bowl mix together the peanut butter, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. It will form a sort of soft dough.
- Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in the microwave in 20-second increments, being careful to not burn the chocolate.
- To assemble the vegan peanut butter cups, use a chocolate mold or cupcake liners. Add just enough chocolate to the mold or cupcake liners to just cover the bottom.
- Take a piece of the peanut butter dough and form a disc that is just smaller than the mold so that there is room for chocolate to go around the edges. Pop the peanut butter discs into each mold.
- Now finish by pouring more chocolate overtop so that the chocolate goes around the sides of peanut butter dough and covers the top. Repeat until you run out of chocolate and peanut butter dough.
- Put in the fridge to cool and set for about 30 minutes. Once the chocolate has solidified again, you can pop them out of the molds, or just trim the paper liners if you want to leave them protected. Store in an air-tight container in your cupboard.