With Valentine’s Day upon us, it’s de rigueur to offer up a recipe for a chocolate treat to share with your sweetheart, or just to sweeten your own heart. Not to be outdone, I offer you a sweet, but not too sweet, treat that is To Die For.
This cleaned up version of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup is actually good for you. It’s full of satisfying, healthy coconut oil, with a dab of almond butter, a smidgen of honey or maple syrup and a bit of cocoa. If you use raw almond butter and cocoa, you’ve ratcheted up the nutritional value even higher.
A note about coconut butter, sometimes called coconut cream (not to be confused with cream of coconut used in pina coladas): I like a brand called Artisana, but it’s not an inexpensive item. You can make coconut butter yourself with unsweetened, shredded coconut and it’s much more cost effective. I’ve provided simple instructions at the bottom of the recipe.
I haven’t tried it yet, but if you want a truffle-like treat, you could make just the chocolate portion of this, roll it into balls and roll those in cocoa powder or toasted coconut. If you try this, be sure to let me know how it turned out!
Primal Coconut-Almond Butter Cups
1/4 cup almond butter
4 teaspoons honey or maple syrup, divided (optional for those on a no-sugar plan)
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup coconut butter or coconut cream*
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch unrefined sea salt
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
12 mini muffin papers
1 mini muffin tin
In a small bowl, mix the almond butter with 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup.
In a small saucepan melt the coconut oil over low heat, then add the coconut butter. Gently warm the coconut butter until it can be stirred into the coconut oil. When coconut butter and coconut oil are well combined, add vanilla, remaining honey or maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt. Stir well. Add cocoa powder. Remove from heat.
Line each muffin tin with a mini-muffin paper. While it is still warm, place 1 1/2 teaspoons of the coconut chocolate mixture in each paper. With the damp tip of your index finger, spread the chocolate mixture out to the sides of the muffin paper. Place a scant teaspoon of the almond butter in the center of each muffin paper. Place teaspoons full of chocolate mixture on top of almond butter. With the damp tip of your index finger, spread chocolate out so it covers the almond butter and connects with the edge of the chocolate bottom.
Let cool at room temperature until solid. If it is warm where you are, you may need to cool these in the refrigerator and keep them there to prevent melting.
*To make coconut butter, place 1 pound of unsweetened, shredded coconut in the bowl of a food processor. Process for several minutes (it took me about 12) until it is pureed and the consistency of warm peanut butter. Keep in a glass jar at room temperature. Makes about 1 1/2 cups, more than enough for this recipe. Use the extra for spreading on apples, pears or bananas, mixing into mashed sweet potatoes or winter squash, eating straight up or your own creative applications. Once it cools, you’ll need to gently warm it again to spread it.