Thursday, July 19, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups - Raw or Vegan

This is the Tale of Two Chocolates - one raw, one not.

Once upon a time a woman named Kirsten decided to get over her issues with raw chocolate. How could anyone have an issue with raw chocolate you ask? Simple. It seemed so strange that people who ate raw food - only raw food - who appeared to be so interested in eating just for heath reasons, would eat so much chocolate. So she investigated raw chocolate and discovered that because it was derived from cacao beans, which are so full of antioxidants in its raw form, they are prized for their nutritional value.

And like so many fairy tales, she discovered that at first glance, something that appeared fantastical and unbelievable turned out to be real and true. Despite the fact that cacao is the basis for chocolate, which seems to be the antithesis of healthy food, it is healthy to eat large amounts of cacao powder.  Adding cacao powder - ground, raw cacao beans - to various other raw ingredients like coconut oil or coconut butter produces a solid food that looks like a treat but has high nutritional value. What a revelation!

Kirsten decided to try a few recipes using these ingredients and she discovered that she liked raw desserts! She made this raw chocolate bar and these raw brownies and decided that raw was good! Thinking about her favorite dessert combination - chocolate and peanut butter - she set out to create a raw version of her favorite guilty pleasure treat.

However, she had doubts. What if the raw chocolate peanut butter cup wasn't as good as the raw bar or raw brownie? Being a resourceful person, she decided to make two versions - one with a hard chocolate shell made with melted chocolate and one using a raw recipe. And do you know what? They were both good! Everyone wins!

Ironically, the darker chocolate cup in the above photo is the hard shell cup, with only 55% cacao, while the lighter chocolate cup is the raw one. Go figure!

Be forewarned that the hard shell peanut butter cups are very hard, not as soft as the ones you can buy in the store. Although I did not try this, I think that adding 1 teaspoon of coconut oil may reduce the hardness factor, but that is not tested! The raw cups will be softer than the ones you buy in the store since they are made of coconut oil. For either one, eating them quickly is mandatory since they will begin to melt on your fingers as soon as you touch them. But I think you can manage that!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups - Raw or Vegan
(makes 6-8 raw cups or 4 hard shell cups)

1 cup raw cacao powder
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup coconut oil plus

Hard Shell Chocolate
8 oz semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips

Peanut Butter Filling
1 teaspoon coconut oil

2 tablespoons raw creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast (optional)
muffin papers

Combine peanut butter and coconut oil and nutritional yeast if using and mash together well to blend. Set aside. For the raw cups, place coconut oil in small metal bowl that will fit inside of another (or a pot) filled with boiling water (but not on the stove) to bring oil to liquid form. Stir in the maple syrup and cacao powder and use a whisk to fully blend in cacao powder. Place muffin papers in a muffin tin and spoon 1 tablespoon of mixture into bottom of 6 papers and chill in freezer for 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and spoon in 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter mixture and top with remaining cacao mixture and freeze for at least 30 minutes. Serve immediately or place in freezer bag to store. These will be soft and need to be in the freezer to keep them from getting to gooey.

For hard shell chocolate, melt chips in double boiler (place chips in a metal bowl or small sauce pan that can fit inside of another pan with water. Bring water to boil and stir chips until fully melted. Spoon 1 tablespoon of chocolate into muffin papers in muffin tin and chill in freezer 20 minutes until hardened. Spoon 1 teaspoon peanut butter into each cup and top with remaining chocolate and freeze an additional 20 minutes until hardened. Store in refrigerator in air tight bag or container.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Portobello Mushroom Burger at Simply Recipes
Bhindi do Pyaza - Okra Stir Fried with Onion at ECurry!
Chicken Korma at Flavors of the Sun

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