I feel like celebrating! I have a new nephew. Welcome to the world little one!
Although, if I had been thinking more clearly, I would have used a blue candle for a nephew. Even if I had been, I don’t think my four-year-old assistant would have stood for anything but pink. In any case, these treats are simple and absolutely decadent. Salty peanut butter. Dark, rich chocolate. Mmm. Add a crunchy cookie crust, and I’m in heaven. I’ve been on a search lately for ways to contain bite-size savories and sweets without resorting to pie crust. Don’t get me wrong. I would be happy to eat any tender, flaky pie crust that you deliver to my house (hopefully with something inside of it), and I have a favorite recipe myself. The thing is, I hate making pie crust. It takes too long for every day, and I can’t justify eating it all the time either. It’s definitely a special occasion food for me. But I like the idea of pie-type dishes, especially if I could speed it up and make it healthier. I came up with a lovely option (at least, I think it’s lovely) for entrée-worthy mini pies, but a dessert version was alluding me . . . until I thought of cookie dough. This recipe, however, is not a standard cookie recipe. It’s less sweet, a bit crunchier, and, of course, whole wheat.
I already had the filling in mind—a peanut butter-chocolate truffle that tastes just like Reese’s peanut butter cups, but is definitely higher on the health-o-meter. However, this splendid little truffle melts, just like a real candy bar, in any kind of warm situation, so it needed a crust of some sort. (For the same reason, don’t leave these out too long—see the headnotes for details.)
The combination is heavenly. The cookie isn’t overly sweet, and has a crispness that I wouldn’t like in a cookie, but love as a crust. The filling really does resemble a melted, then solidified, candy bar.
A note on peanut butter: Make sure you use natural peanut butter here; in other words, get the kind that consists solely of ground-up peanuts. It’s a little bit more messy, as you have to stir the oil into the nut butter when you first open the jar, but it is so much better than the no-stir kind, both in terms of taste and health. It doesn’t have any of the added hydrogenated fats or sugar. That means it tastes salty, so it’s fabulous paired with anything sweet. My favorite brand by far is Adams Peanut Butter, maybe because my parents are huge fans. They can’t buy it were they live, so when they go on trips, they stock up. They’re like peanut-butter tourists. I’m no better. I buy it in huge containers at Costco, which I eat much faster than I would like to admit.
Speed it up: You don’t have to make the crust. You could always pour the filling into a mini spring-form pan, let it chill in the fridge until solid, take it out of the fridge, remove sides of pan, cut into slices, and serve immediately. The filling is incredibly rich, so I would go for small servings. Call it Peanut Butter Truffle Cake. You could whip this amazing dessert out with less than 5 minutes of work (although you’d have to let it chill).
Special Diets and Allergies: Vegan and dairy-free if you use non-dairy chocolate chips (like Trader Joe’s brand).
Peanut Butter-Chocolate Cookie Cups
Makes 12 Cookie Cups
The creamy filling in these cookie cups will melt on your tongue. The smoothness of the dark chocolate is complimented by the contrastingly chewy, crunchy crust of the shell. Be sure to serve them as quickly as possible once you take them out of the fridge, though. The chocolatey insides will begin to melt at room temperature after thirty minutes or so, sooner if the room is warm. The amounts are rather odd, but I hate recipes that use less than 12 cups in a muffin tin. These amounts will get you to 12, but it does mean taking a bit more time on the measuring. Also, I would stick with instant over rolled oats, as they help hold the crust together. You can also substitute 1 and 1/2 beaten eggs for the beans, but it really does taste better with the beans, I swear. If you don’t have whole wheat pastry flour, it would likely work to use half regular whole wheat and half unbleached, all-purpose flour, but I have not tried this myself.
1/2 C + 1 T vegetable oil
1/4 C + 2 T brown sugar
1/4 C cooked white beans, rinsed and drained very well
3/4 t vanilla
1 1/2 C whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 C instant oats
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin.
In a food processor, puree the oil, sugar, beans, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking soda, and salt.
Pour the pureed mixture over the dry ingredients, then stir to combine.
Take a 2-T scoop. Heap it with dough, then empty into one of the muffin-tin cups. With wet fingers, press the dough against the bottom and up the sides, until the dough is thin and even and covers the entire inside of the cup, reaching the top edges. Repeat for the other cups.
Bake for 8-10 minutes on the middle rack, until the edges turn golden brown. Take the pan out of the oven. Using a small spoon, press the cookie dough down against the bottom and sides of each cup until there is a nice hollow space inside each one.
Allow the cups to cool for 10 minutes in the pan. Take out of the pan and let cool completely on the counter or in the fridge.
2/3 C natural, creamy peanut butter
4 T cocoa powder
4 T coconut oil
Melt the oil. Stir in the rest of the ingredients until the peanut butter and cocoa melt into the oil, becoming creamy and dark brown. The consistency will be very runny; don’t be concerned by this.
Pour into the cooled cookie crusts. Place in fridge and let sit until completely solidified, about 2 hours. (You can speed this up by placing them in the freezer for a bit).Likely you won’t be able to wait to eat these either…What’s your favorite way to combine chocolate and peanut butter? Or, for that matter, any nut. I think chocolate is almost always better when accompanied by nuts, and for this reason, I can not bring myself to eat a Milky Way, knowing how much better it would be with peanuts in it.