Thursday, January 12, 2012

Vegan peanut and almond butter cups

Breakfast: A Vega, banana and blackberry smoothie

Lunch: Vegan potato and green been korma

Dinner: The tastiest falafel I've ever had followed by a few vegan peanut and almond butter cups

I could have called these faux-Reese's Pieces, but that might imply that these are in some way substandard, and they are most definitely not.

If you're North American, peanut butter cups were probably a large part of your childhood. I never really understood the joy of peanut butter until I moved to Canada and had the 100% peanut stuff. Now, as a vegan, peanut and almond butters have an important place in my diet and I can do almost anything with them - we're talking pasta dishes, frosting, you name it!

I was heading to a work function with Putin last week and needed something treatsy to take with me, and so these were born. I'd never made them before and the whole thing, including freezing, took me an hour and a half - most of it waiting, during which I had time to watch Peep Show and get ready. I decided to make half of them peanut butter and half almond butter, and the almond butter ones went down a real treat. Don't be afraid to mix things up a little!

These are seriously simple and fairly cheap to make, and also look pretty enough to impress guests or friends! They also appeal to everyone's inner 7 year old too, so make sure you make enough to satisfy everyone's cravings!

You'll need:
(Makes 12-16 large cups)
3 cups vegan chocolate chips
2 tbsp non-hydrogenated margarine / Earth Balance
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 cup organic 100% peanut or almond butter, or 1/2 cup of each to make a mixed batch
a little oil

Grease a cupcake tray with a little oil, making sure you cover the whole inside of each cup
Melt half the chocolate chips in a double boiler - my preferred method is a ceramic bowl resting on top of 1/3 pan of water
Stir in 1 tbsp margarine / Earth balance and stir well
Divide between all the cupcake cups, just about covering the bottom of each one
Pop the pan into the freezer
In a separate bowl, cream together the nut butter and icing sugar. If making a mixed batch, mix half the icing sugar into the peanut butter and, in a different bowl, mix the rest with the almond butter
Roll the nut butter into as many little balls as you need to have one per cup, and when the first layer of chocolate has frozen a little, press one ball into each cup, making sure it doesn't touch the sides
Melt the rest of the choc chips and margarine / Earth balance together as detailed above
Divide between each of the cups, making sure it covers the nut butter totally, and swirl it with your finger to create a nice effect on top
Freeze for an hour or so, then move to the fridge
Remove when ready to eat!

These make large cups, so feel free to cut them in half when you serve. If you have a mini muffin pan or a dedicated PB cup pan, use that for smaller cups!

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