Healthy Peanut Butter Cups – Homemade Treats that are Low Carb, Primal, and Nearly Sugar-Free!

This healthy version of everyone’s favorite peanut buttery candy is quick and easy to make. Check ‘em out!


chocolates2

Yes, we can eat peanut butter cups following a healthy, whole foods eating plan. These delicious candies melt in your mouth, and give you a dose of antioxidant rich chocolate and immune system boosting coconut oil. This recipe is pretty nifty since you can shape and flavor your chocolates any way you’d like! The possibilities are endless…

Healthy Peanut Clusters

This is going to be the first in a series of quick and easy desserts that can be made with primal (or paleolithic diet-friendly) ingredients. I’ll include a low carb (sometimes sugar-free) version for each of these recipes as well, of course.

These peanut butter cups are a snap to make! My hope is that people who are new to lower sugar and sugar-free desserts will find these chocolaty confections to be an easy transitional treat. The ingredients are easily accessible and affordable, too. Two versions of the peanut butter cups are posted. The first one is the quick and easy primal version, and the second one is the low carbohydrate version. The low carb version came about through my experiments with making chocolates using erythritol and xylitol. I didn’t think the peanut butter cups would ever taste right using those sugar alcohols, but the bit of added honey and the xanthan gum worked magic! The honey and xanthan gum eliminate the “gritty” texture of the erythritol and xylitol.

 

A note for my primal readers: I used peanut butter in the candies you see above since I do eat legumes (peanut butter, chickpeas in hummus, and black beans for this delicious chocolate cake). You can substitute almond butter, sunflower seed butter, or even macadamia nut butter for the peanut butter. Just be sure to get a nut butter with a very smooth consistency. I’ll admit to using commercial peanut butter when I make these, just because it makes the texture incredibly luscious! You can probably tell that I don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to living a low carb whole foods lifestyle. It’s great to strive for perfection, but I know my limits when it comes to this stuff! If you’re too strict, it can be difficult to stick to healthy eating long term.

This recipe is inspired by the Carob Fudge posted by the clever and creative Ricki over at Diet, Dessert, and Dogs. Check out her lovely gluten-free and vegan recipes.

pb cups
pb cups



Healthier Peanut Butter Cups

Makes 14 servings

Ingredients:
1/4 cup plus 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons coconut oil**
3 Tablespoons peanut butter*
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
5-6 teaspoons honey
Tiny pinch fine sea salt
A pinch (~1/16 of a teaspoon) pure NuNaturals powdered stevia extract


*Can substitute smoothly ground almond butter or sunflower seed butter)
**Can substitute with organic palm shortening or cocoa butter, both of which are dairy-free. The cocoa butter will yield more firm candies.
 

Preparation:

Heat cocoa powder, coconut oil, sea salt, and nut butter in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally until mixture is completely smooth and liquefied. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla and honey with a spatula. Add a bit of stevia, stir until incorporated. and taste. Add a pinch more stevia if necessary. Pour into silicone molds, silicone muffins cups, or paper mini muffin liners in a mini muffin pan. If you’re using silicone mini muffin cups, you can just place them on a cookie sheet. Freeze candies. After candies have set (takes 10-20 minutes), pop them out of silicone molds and store them in zip top bags in freezer. You can leave the candies in the paper liners if you’re serving them to company, or want to handle them without getting any chocolate on your fingers. Store the treats in the fridge for a more fudge-like texture.

~3.4g net carbs per 1/14th of a recipe
~48g net carbs for the whole batch



Healthier Peanut Butter Cups (Low Carb version)


Makes 15 mini peanut butter cups


Ingredients:

1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3 Tablespoons unrefined coconut oil OR unsalted butter**
3 Tablespoons peanut butter*
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon xylitol
1/2 Tablespoon erythritol
Pinch (1/4 of 1/8 teaspoon) xanthan gum 
2 teaspoons honey
Tiny pinch finely ground sea salt
A pinch (~1/16 of a teaspoon) pure NuNaturals powdered stevia extract


*Can substitute smoothly ground almond butter or sunflower seed butter)
**Can substitute with organic palm shortening or cocoa butter, both of which are dairy-free. The cocoa butter will yield more firm candies.


Preparation:
Mix together cocoa powder, coconut oil and nut butter over low heat in a medium sized saucepan. Stir occasionally with a spatula until smooth. Turn off heat and leave pan on the warm burner while you perform the next step. 


Grind xylitol, erythritol, and sea salt into a fine powder in a Magic Bullet blender or coffee grinder. Mix in xanthan gum. Dump powder mixture into a small saucepan, add honey, and turn up heat to medium. Stir around mixture for a couple of minutes until mixture is translucent and liquified. Scrape down the sides and heat for 5 more minutes. Wash and dry your spatula thoroughly. 
Remove both pans from stove. Add vanilla extract to the chocolate mixture, and stir it in until smooth. Take clean spatula and scrape hot liquified sweeteners into the chocolate mixture, stirring until smooth. Add a little stevia, stir it in, and taste. Add more stevia if desired, stir it in, and pour the final mixture into silicone molds, mini muffin paper liners, or larger paper muffin liners. Freeze candies until hard. Pop candies out of silicone molds, and store in zip top baggies or tupperware, separated by wax paper. Remove candies from freezer just before serving.


~32g net carbs and 772 calories for the whole batch (using 2 teaspoons honey)
~2.1g net carbs and 51.5 calories per 1/15th of a recipe (using 2 teaspoons honey)


Peanut Clusters (or Almond Clusters)


Unsalted peanuts (no skins) or whole almonds
1 batch of the recipe for Peanut Butter Cups


Roast a cup or two of nuts in the oven for 18-20 minutes at 325 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring around once. In a convection oven, set the temperature to 300 degrees, and roast for 15 fifteen minutes. Let nuts cool, and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper cut to fit. Freeze cookie sheet while peanuts cool for about 10-15 minutes. Pour nuts into saucepan and stir them around with a spatula to coat. Get spoonfuls of the peanut chocolate mixture and drop in small dollops on to cookie sheet. Freeze until set. Remove from freezer just before serving.
Healthy Chocolate Dipped Strawberry


Chocolate Dipped Stawberries

1 batch of Peanut Butter Cups made with almond butter (or peanut butter, if you like)
Fresh strawberries

Dip cleaned, dried stawberries into warm chocolate mix, holding the stems firmly. Twist your hand to coat the strawberry evenly up to the stems. Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper. Let berries set until hard in freezer.  Dip strawberries once more in coating if desired, and store in freezer. Serve in paper muffin liners.

 
Related recipes from other bloggers:
White Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge from Jennifer Eloff @ Splendid Low Carbing
White Chocolate Peanut Butter from Carolyn @ All Day I Dream About Food
Raw Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fondue from Kelly @ The Spunky Coconut

  • Brandon

    I've been off peanut butter for almost two weeks now (which is an accomplishment for me), so I think I will try these using homemade almond butter–but only the amount called for in the recipe. ;)

    Thanks for the idea! I know my dad will love these for Father's Day. I have a bit of cocoa butter that I might use in place of the coconut oil to see how it turns out. It might even be able to sit out of the fridge longer. Love it!

  • Tammy Dunlap

    I cant wait to try these out! Thanks so much!

  • Krista

    omg I want to try these! I'm getting back on the low-carb wagon and neeeed chocolate! Thanks for posting.

  • Micaela Marques

    These look delicious! I've been eating Primal and low-carb for about three months now and I'm always looking out for good recipes. Thanks!

  • Ricki

    Your post is really making me miss peanut butter! (a no-no on the anti-candida diet, sadly). I have tried something similar and it's good. . .but not quite as good as the PB. :) So glad you liked the carob fudge, too! I did try it will cocoa as well, but found when sweetened only with stevia that it was slightly bitter. I've come to love carob as well (though not quite as much as chocolate). ;)

  • Rachel C – thinladysings

    Yummy! Great idea. Nothing better than PB Cups!
    Whole Foods makes a healthier PB that is just like commercial PB, you could try that if you felt like it.. you'd be surprised at it's yumminess.

  • CNHolmberg

    I tried this last night, and both my husband and I really like it! Didn't have muffin cups, so I froze it in the bottom of a banana bread tin so it shaped like a candy bar.

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I loved how easy it was.

  • Carolyn

    Yum, homemade PB cups are so much tastier and better for us than storebought. I've actually found that powdered xylitol or erythritol work well without any grittiness.

  • Laurie

    Delicious!! I even omitted the honey and just used erythritol with a little extra stevia concentrate and they still turned out great! Thanks!

  • Gretchen

    just made these…very yummy! I was a little nervous when I tasted it before freezing, because there was a stevia aftertaste, but somehow it disappeared while they were in the freezer. 2 of my 3 kids approved, too; the five year old declared them "too dark chocolatey."

  • Jenny Z

    Just made it–love it! Thanks!

  • Elaine

    Are these not chocolate coated PB bite? The way I read the recipe it is just a chocolate and PB mixture poured in the cup? Which is fine I was just confused.

  • Sarah

    YUM! I really look forward to more 'primal' recipes like this one. Totally satisfying and delicious :)

  • WinterRose

    I'm on an Anti-Candida diet and was wondering what would be a good substitute for the honey in these recipes? I'm really bad at figuring out what taste would be a good replacement, and also bad at equivalents. :3

  • scratch-made wife

    I'm totally and completely addicted to peanut butter and now that I've started worrying that I need to watch my carb intake (due to health reasons), I'm thinking these look perfect for me! I'm dyin' to make those clusters. Thanks for sharing. :)

  • Anonymous

    omg I want to try these! I'm getting back on the low-carb wagon and neeeed chocolate! Thanks for posting.

  • Molly

    These are so yummy! I have all of my ingredients out on my counter to make them for the third time and thought I would go ahead and share my utter, blissful appreciation. I finally have something that I can grab for a guilt-free sweet indulgence right out of my freezer anytime. Even if I go crazy and eat 3, it's better than storebought options! I use a fusion of the recipes, I noticed that my Walmart has a sugar free honey by Honey Tree a few weeks ago, and it is pretty good! Mostly sorbitol and malitol.

  • Julie R.

    Wow! These peanut butter cups are delicious! You earn genius status in my book! I will be sharing this treat at a healthy food night that I will be teaching on Thursday. Thanks for sharing!

  • www.asmallsnippet.blogspot.com

    These look incredible!! My fam and I are cutting out processed foods and need good all natural recipe like this! But we are only using honey and maple syrup as sweeteners. Any thoughts on leaving out the stevia extract and maybe adding more honey??

  • Lauren

    Hey Julie! I'm glad you like the PB cups. :)

  • Lauren

    Asmallsnippet – The PB cups may not turn out firm enough if you add more liquid sweetener like honey. Let me know how they turn out for you!

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  • http://www.JoyInOurJourney.com Julieanne

    I made these tonight, and they seem to be so much better tasting than other chocolate, low-sugar or no-sugar treats I’ve made in the past. One thing to point out: your ingredients list mentions salt, but in the recipe directions, you don’t specify when to add the salt. When I read through the recipe, I knew I should add salt; it seems to make alternative sweeteners taste much better. But while in the middle of making the recipe, since I didn’t see directions on when to add the salt, I didn’t realize until I put the candies in the freezer that no salt was added. Oops! When do you recommend adding in the salt? I wonder if you might be able to update the recipe? Thanks!

    • http://www.healthyindulgences.net/ Lauren B.

      Hi, Julieanne! I updated the instructions to specify where the salt should be added. Thanks for catching that! Glad you enjoyed the PB cups. :)

  • Karla

    FINALLY! A blog that gives a low carb option AND the carb counts! THANK YOU!

  • sarah

    These look so delicious! I love homemade chocolate treats that are healthy :)

    xoxo Sarah Grace, Fresh Fit N
    Healthy
    .