Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Low Carb Peanut Butter CupsPeanut butter is my Achilles heel.  It’s my weakness, my downfall, my greatest temptation.  It is like crack to me, the more I have, the more I want.  An open jar of peanut butter in the cupboard is a cruel torment, and I often have to physically restrain myself from digging in a spoon for yet another taste.  This is only more true since I developed diabetes, since compared to other sugar-laden snacks, peanut butter is a relatively harmless treat.  Not so harmless, however, when you are tempted to devour huge amounts in one sitting.

My go-to low carb dessert when I don’t have anything prepared is a single square of 90% cacao chocolate smeared with peanut butter.  Peanut butter cups have long been one of my all-time favourite treats, and this is my way of getting a little bit of that heavenly flavor combination without totally falling off the wagon.  But I’ve recently found myself yearning to have real peanut butter cups again, where the chocolate shell is a little softer, and the peanut butter center is a little sweeter.  I’d made a low carb version quite some time ago and they were good, but I found myself wondering if I could do better.

Low Carb Peanut Butter Cups

I’ve learned a lot about working with unsweetened chocolate since that first recipe, about how to make it smooth and sweet without as much bitterness so I was quite confident I could improve them on that score.  But I thought I might also be able to improve the peanut butter center.  Instead of just plopping some peanut butter in straight from the jar, I wanted to make it somewhat sweeter and also add a touch of vanilla.  I’ve found that vanilla seems to almost intensify the peanut-buttery goodness in desserts.

In the middle of making these, I also hit upon a way to make it easier on myself to get the peanut butter filling into the cups.  In the past, I wanted to make the peanut butter stiffer, so it didn’t ooze out everywhere when you took a bite.  But that makes it difficult to spread nicely into the prepared cups.  So it suddenly occurred to me to melt the peanut butter before I stirred in the sweetener and the vanilla.  That way, it was almost liquidy when I put it in, but firmed up nicely when chilled.  Because I wanted them to look more like traditional peanut butter cups, I made them in some 1 1/2 inch candy papers I found at my local craft store, that had a plasticated inside so that they could hold their form when brushed with warm chocolate.

These were definitely everything I was hoping for, the perfect marriage of chocolate and peanut butter, without the sugar.   They do need to be stored in the refrigerator, otherwise they get too melty.  But they are heavenly and I won’t wait long to make them again.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups – Low Carb and Gluten-Free

Yield: 12 Peanut Butter Cups

Ingredients

    Chocolate Coating:
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 3 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 tbsp powdered erythritol (I used Swerve)
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 12 drops stevia extract
  • Peanut Butter Filling:
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 3 tbsp powdered erythritol (I used Swerve)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt butter, unsweetened chocolate and powdered erythritol together, stirring until smooth. Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla and stevia extract. Let cool 5 to 10 minutes, until somewhat thickened.
  2. Use back of small spoon to spread chocolate mixture on bottom and up sides of twelve 1 ½ inch plastic-lined candy cups or candy molds (whatever you use needs to be firm enough to stand up against the warm chocolate and not lose its shape). Place on baking sheet or platter and freeze until firm, about 20 minutes.
  3. In a microwave safe bowl, heat peanut butter on high for 30 seconds or until fully melted but not hot. Stir in powdered erythritol and vanilla extract.
  4. Remove chocolate cups from freezer and fill almost to the top with peanut butter mixture, leaving enough space to cover with remaining chocolate. Return to freezer for another 10 minutes or so.
  5. Rewarm remaining chocolate gently over low heat and stir until smooth. Spread over peanut butter filling to the sides of each cup. Chill until set, 20 minutes.
  6. Store in the refrigerator.

Notes

Makes 12. Each peanut butter cup has a total of 4.5 g of carbs and 1.3 g of fiber. Total NET CARBS = 3.2 g

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Comments

  1. Definitely one of my favorites! I make my coating with coconut oil. That makes it healthy, right? LOL

  2. Another stellar recipe! I miss peanut butter!!!

  3. Oh my goodness, Carolyn. There’s not a thing I don’t love about these…I think I’d need to make a double batch at least!

  4. So these are basically diet food, right? I can totally diet on peanut butter cups for everrrr!

  5. Yum! Great idea to add vanilla to the peanut butter filling!

  6. Wow – love this creative confection!

  7. Oh, me too, Carolyn, PB is a weakness for me. I adore these too. How fun! I bet I would eat every last one.

  8. Ooh sounds so good! Your pb cups look amazing! Love that you added vanilla too!

  9. Have you ever used Somersweet? It’s the sugar substitute sold by Suzanne Somers on her website. I used to use it, but have not tried her new formula. It is a bit cheaper than Swerve. Worth a try. These PB Cups look amazing, definitely need to make them! I’m always looking for good low sugar Chocolate PB treats!

  10. Great minds think alike! I just posted my recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups on my site today. Chocolate and nut butters are simply a match made in heaven :)

  11. What a fun re-creation of a childhood favorite treat!

  12. These look so tasty, my son would love them!

  13. Ooh I’ve always wanted to make homemade peanut butter cups. Yum!

  14. Any idea how many calories per serving (1 cup I assume?)

  15. Gorgeous!!!!! Are the stevia drops necessary or can I just increase the erythritol because I’m sensitive to Stevia? Just wondering, will try these when I’m done with my Whole 30!

  16. These look absolutely fabulous!! :)

  17. Hi,

    I was reading the instruction and it said to add vanilla in the chocolate coating but it did not say how much. I noticed under the peanut butter filling so is it the same amount?

    • Carolyn says:

      So sorry, I hate when I to that. It’s all too easy to do when writing recipes. I’ve added the vanilla into the chocolate coating recipe. Thanks for letting me know!

      • Thanks Carolyn, it turned out great in my peanut butter cup mold. Need to smooth the top alittle more. My husband likes it but my daughter does not like the taste of the unsweetened chocolate.

  18. Oh, wow, I think you’ve made many, many happy people with this delicious recipe! Peanut butter straight out of the jar doesn’t tempt me in the least, but I could probably eat many handfuls of your gorgeous pb cups!!! They look perfect!

  19. I made these this evening, and all I can say is…. OMG!

    I didn’t have the smaller-size paper cups, so I used regular muffin papers and placed them in a muffin tin. I made eight peanut butter cups this way and figured that they each have 4.8 grams of effective carbohydrate. The peanut butter I have is a bit drier than it should be, so I added a tablespoon of water to it and then pressed the peanut butter into the chilled chocolate cups with my fingertips. That was fine, but a bit more water would have made the peanut butter a bit smoother. Usually, though, the plain unsalted, unsweetened peanut butter should be great without added moisture. Mine may not have been stirred adequately when I used it to make a peanut butter loaf recently.

    Anyway… I will definitely be keeping these on hand. They’re a very satisfying way to satisfy a craving.

    Thanks, Carolyn!

  20. These are cute looking treats. Can I use same amount of sugar in place of erythritol?

  21. I can stay away from peanut butter for the most part, not that I try, but when mixed with chocolate there is no stopping me. These look delicious. I don’t know if I made a batch I would be able to stop from eating the whole she-bang.

  22. Peanut butter and chocolate is a hard to resist combo. Loving your guilt free cups!

  23. I’m currently making a batch of these — in silicon mini-muffin cups! The ingredients are enough to make exactly 16 of this size. Looking forward to trying them!

    • The muffin cups should work perfectly!

      • They did, and I’m pretty happy with the results. (Yum!) I think I might have put too much butter in the chocolate mixture because it starts melting on one’s fingers right away when they come out of the fridge, so I’m thinking of trying coconut oil next time instead. Obviously there will be a next time.

  24. what is the saturated fat in the peanut butter cups?

    • Not sure, probably pretty high. You should enter the ingredients into myfitnesspal, it will tell you. Please keep in mind, saturated fat is NOT the enemy it’s been made out to be.

  25. Michelle H says:

    I made these yesterday. I used Splenda instead of erythritol (which I normally do). The filling was really good. The chocolate was still too bitter. I did use unsweetened cocoa powder, so wonder if that had something to do with it. They were decent, but I think next time I’ll use a 75% dark chocolate and adjust the sweetener as necessary. Pretty easy to make, just a lot of down time between steps. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    • Michelle H says:

      To add as well, I used a mini muffin tin with mini muffin paper cups and it worked fine. That was one thing I wasn’t sure would work.

    • Hi Michelle…I think it’s the Splenda, personally. It just doesn’t mix well with Chocolate in my experience. It’s part of the reason I stopped using any sucralose. But yes, try a slightly sweetened chocolate for the coating and it may help if you’re using Splenda.

      • Michelle H says:

        I could try something else, but given that Swerve and other erythritols aren’t available at my local grocery store, I went with the Splenda which I already had, and is available.

  26. Eileen s Thomas says:

    Thank you so much for making it so easy for me to stay on my lo-carb plan. I made these they are so good I used nectresse they were so good.

  27. Common Sense says:

    Finally had a chance to try these – wonderful! I used my silicone mini peanut butter cup mold which worked perfectly. I also used pumpkin seed butter and Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder so mine were even lower in carbs. Easy, but a bit labor intensive carefully coating the cups with chocolate, etc.

    The recipe made 28 mini cups with the following nutritional values from the Sparkpeople calculator:

    Calories – 60
    Total Fat – 5.83
    Saturated Fat – 2.45
    Cholesterol – 4.425
    Sodium – 30
    Total Carbohydrate – 1.7
    Dietary Fiber – .93
    NET CARBS = .77 per cup
    Sugars – .046
    Protein – 1.34

    Thanks so much for the recipe!

  28. Hey, LOVE LOVE LOVE these! I do have a question though. I used Liquid Stevia from Trader Joe’s. It left a bitter aftertaste. Is it the same thing? I added some stevia glycerite and it took that away and they were wonderful, but would love to use what you use. Still trying to make sense of all the sweeteners and the differences within them. Thank you for ALL of your recipes and information!

    • I’ve used the liquid stevia from Trader Joe’s before and had no issues, but some people are really, really sensitive to the bitterness of stevia. You might be one of those people.

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