How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups: Sweet & Simple Recipe - Public Goods Blog

How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups: Sweet & Simple Recipe

The rich, creamy peanut butter cup, created during the Roaring Twenties by Harry Burnett (H.B.) Reese, is one of the most popular candy bars in America.

a peanut butter cup with a bite taken out of it

In 2019 almost 16 million Americans consumed five or more servings of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and other candy in the span of a month. The results came from Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), a national market research firm that has been analyzing American consumer behavior for the past 60 years.

The problem, though, is Reese’s is not the healthiest snack: a two-pack of these stuffed cups has 18 grams of sugar. Yet some vintage ads like this one from the late 60s, featuring a cherub-faced boy smiling with the words, “They’re Peanutricious,” written behind him, serve as interesting precursors to a time when deceptive ads, geared predominantly toward kids, had not yet fallen under public scrutiny.

Another issue is that Reese’s, made from peanuts and dairy, might not work for your diet.

Instead of guilting yourself with store-bought peanut butter cups, one solution is to make your own! Whatever your sweet tooth craves, this easy homemade peanut butter cup recipe can be modified for nut allergies. You can be inventive and add textures like strawberry jam or candied pecans, too.

Imagine yourself there in the kitchen, creating chocolate treats, feeling a bit like Willie Wonka or H.B. Reese. That’s a feeling that’s just as appealing to kids as it is to adults.

How to Make Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

chocolate peanut butter cups stacked on top of each other

The ingredients for this homemade peanut butter recipe are simple: chocolate and peanut butter. Chances are you have both in your pantry. You probably even have an assortment of each: dark and milk chocolates; almond or peanut butter.

Several peanut butter cup recipes call for powdered sugar, but our recipe uses agave instead. The added agave, a natural sweetener, has a low glycemic index and is a natural source of vitamins B and C. However, if you want to use powdered sugar instead of agave, you should be able to do so without issue.

The cupcake liners this recipe calls for serve two purposes, allowing for easy cleanup and the appearance of those neat chocolate ridges along the peanut butter cup’s edge. Peeling away the liner and seeing such perfect symmetry in chocolate — it makes you appreciate the little things.

What You’ll Need to Make 10 Homemade Peanut Butter Cups – Milk Chocolate

pile of chocolate chips

  • 3 cups of semisweet chocolate chips or 2 milk chocolate bars (3.5  ounces)
  • ¼ cup room temperature peanut butter
  • ¼ cup agave (or one cup of powdered sugar)
  • Muffin/cupcake tray
  • Muffin/cupcake paper liners

How to Make Peanut Butter Cups

1. Place 10 paper liners in a cupcake tray.

2. Melt the chocolate.

  • Oven: Preheat the oven to 300. Place the chocolate chips in an oven-safe bowl for 5-7 minutes. Stir melted chocolate with a spoon until the consistency is velvety and smooth.
  • Double boiler: Place chocolate chips or chocolate bar in a double boiler. Stir the melted chocolate with a spoon until it’s completely smooth and no lumps appear.
  • Microwave: Place chocolate chips or chocolate bars in a microwave-safe bowl for 30-second intervals. Stir the melted chocolate with a spoon between each interval until completely smooth.

chocolate, chocolate chips, peanut butter, melted chocolate

3. Carefully remove chocolate from the oven, slow cooker, double boiler or microwave.

4. Add one tablespoon of melted chocolate into each cupcake liner. Press the tablespoon of chocolate into the liner. You will use half of the chocolate for the bottom of the peanut butter cup, and the rest for the top.

melted chocolate in a cupcake liner in a cupcake tin

5. Lift the cupcake tray several inches from your countertop and drop. Repeat once or twice. This helps to evenly coat the bottom of the peanut butter cup.

6. Place the cupcake tray in the freezer for ten minutes.

7. Combine the agave (or powdered sugar) and peanut butter in the oven for 5-7 minutes (15-second intervals if using the microwave) until it is smooth and pourable.

8. If the remaining chocolate reserved for the top of the peanut butter cups has hardened, reheat for a few minutes until evenly melted.

9. Remove the cupcake tray from the freezer.

10. Gently plop a teaspoon of peanut butter at the center of each chocolate cup. The peanut butter’s consistency is important for this step. At this point, you want to make sure the peanut butter has had a minute or two to cool off so that it is not thin and too liquidy. If it is too thin, it will spread to the sides and won’t be hidden inside the chocolate. Do not repeat Step #5. This error will force the peanut butter to spread to the sides.

spooning peanut butter into chocolate peanut butter cup

11. Pour the remaining chocolate into each cup until the peanut butter is completely covered.

12. Freeze for an hour.

13. Serve the peanut butter cups frozen or at room temperature.

Store peanut butter cups in an air-tight container in the fridge for a month, or longer in the freezer.

chocolate peanut butter cups in a stasher bag

Alternative Ideas for Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Make peanut butter cups depending on your dietary and sustainable needs. You don’t have to sacrifice indulgences with your diet.

Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

peanut butter cups filled with nuts on a plate

This healthier alternative uses dark chocolate, which contains about half the amount of sugar than milk chocolate, has more antioxidants, and contains natural caffeine stimulants to keep you energized. One 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cacao has at least 35 grams of cocoa, where antioxidants come from, compared to milk chocolate with 10 grams. Because dark chocolate is not as processed as milk chocolate, it also contains more minerals: iron, magnesium and zinc. room temperature

Under its “Nutrition Source” index, The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health indicates that dark chocolate may help reduce the risk of diabetes. Also, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, are currently investigating if a 600-mg daily supplement of cocoa extracts containing cocoa flavanol can lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

This recipe also substitutes almond butter for peanut butter, but you could still use peanut butter to make dark chocolate peanut butter cups.

What You’ll Need to Make 10 Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

  • 2 bars (3.5  ounces) of dark chocolate 70-85% cacao
  • ¼ cup almond butter
  • ¼ cup agave
  • muffin/cupcake tray
  • muffin/cupcake paper liners

*You can replace the almond butter with cashew butter.

How to Make Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

Follow the same steps as the aforementioned homemade peanut butter cup recipe, but with the above ingredients.

Dark Chocolate Nut-Free Butter Cups

Today there are plenty of nut-free options to choose from: soy, granola, sesame and sunflower. For those who have a nut allergy and can’t consume almond or peanut butter, SunButter’s selection of crunchy, creamy, and organic varieties opens up possibilities of what you can stuff your cups with. Try pairing creamy sunflower seed butter with strawberry jam for a unique take on the classic cup.

What You’ll Need to Make 10 Dark Chocolate Nut-Free Butter Cups

  • 2 bars (3.5  ounces) of dark chocolate 70-85% cacao
  • ¼ cup of any nut-free butter
  • ¼ cup agave
  • muffin/cupcake tray
  • muffin/cupcake paper liners

How to Make Dark Chocolate Nut-Free Butter Cups

  • Follow the same steps as the aforementioned peanut butter cup recipe.

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