Dark chocolate peanut butter cups


Necessity is the mother of invention, as the saying goes. To be more specific, "lack of" is the mother of kitchen experiments. Clotilde's post lamenting the fact that she couldn't get Reese's Peanut Butter Cups easily in France reminded me that quite a lot of the kitchen experiments I do have to do with trying to re-create some food or flavor that I miss, from somewhere else I used to live. I've written about some of these experiments before, such as trying to recreate a good New York bagel.

I miss Reese's Peanut Butter cups too, and they are just about impossible to get here in Switzerland. (It's strange that I even miss them, because when I lived in the U.S. I barely ate them at all.) We can get Mar's Bars, Snickers, and many other American candy bars, but not Reese's. So, when I saw Nigella Lawson's recipe for Peanut Butter Squares in her baking book How To Be A Domestic Goddess, I had to try it.

pbcup2.jpgThe peanut butter squares were great, but I had to start tinkering with it. I wanted to make it better than Reese's, more intensely peanutty and chocolately. So I changed the milk chocolate topping to a dark chocolate one, and added some finely chopped salted roasted peanuts to the peanut butter part. And of course, they had to be in cups rather than mere cut up squares (though squares are easier). The result is indeed like an adult version of Reese's. They are also very pretty, and I think quite guest- or gift-worthy.

Peanut butter is sticky, oily stuff, a pain to wash up afterwards. I try to avoid doing the dishes as much as possible (Max does it about 90% of the time) so I came up with a way to mix the peanut butter base in a bag. The same bag is used to pipe the mixture into the cups too. It's a lot of fun for kids or adults.

These peanut butter cups are very, very rich, so take one at a time and nibble slowly. In an hour, possibly less, you'll be craving another one.

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

The measurements here don't have to be that precise, since there is no actual baking involved.

  • 350g / 12 oz (about 2 cups) smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup of salted roasted peanuts
  • 225g / 8oz (about 1 cup) icing sugar
  • 50g / 1.8oz (about 1/4 cup) brown sugar, or raw sugar (Rohzucker)
  • 500g / a bit more than a pound, or 5 bars, of dark chocolate, minimum cacao 50% (I used Cailliers Cremant)
  • 90g / 3oz unsalted butter
  • Supplies needed: shallow paper cake/muffin cups (use regular cake cups if you can't find shallow ones), plastic zip bag

[Edit: I didn't make clear how the butter should be divided up previously. Thanks to Lisa for pointing it out.]

Chop up the peanuts with a knife or in the food processor until they are as fine as you'd like them to be.

Put the peanut butter, 60 grams/2 oz (2/3rds of the) butter, peanuts, and both sugars in a sturdy plastic zip bag (don't use cheap thin ones because if the bag bursts, it isn't going to be pretty). Press the air out of the bag and close it. Knead and mix the bag until the contents are completely mixed and smooth. This part of the process is rather soothing and fun to do - you may find yourself doing it for longer than needed (sorry for the pun).

Once the mixture is mixed, press down the mixture towards one corner. Cut off the corner with scissors, and twist the bag - now you have a sort of pastry bag.

Squeeze about a tablespoon worth of the peanut butter mixture into each paper cup, smoothing out the top of each with your finger. Each cup should be about 1/2 full. It's easier if you keep each cup in the stack of other paper cups for stability while you fill them.

Once the peanut butter mixture is all used up, make the chocolate topping. Break up the chocolate into a bowl or a soup plate (the soup plate will allow for faster melting since the chocolate is more spread out). Melt it in the microwave at medium for about 3 minutes. Check at this point; if the chocolate is still hard, mix and nuke for about 1 minute more. Add the rest of the butter, and nuke for another 30 seconds. Mix the chocolate and butter well with a spoon until smooth.

Fill up each cup with the chocolate, smoothing out the top with your finger or a knife. Try not to lick your fingers during this whole process, unless of course you plan to eat all the cups by yourself, in which case it probably doesn't matter.

Cool in the refrigerator until the chocolate is firm, about 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator until all consumed. The way is goes like this: you go to the refrigerator. You mean to take out the water bottle, and accidentally take a peanut butter cup. Repeat every hour or so. Any other occupants of the household will do the same.

Makes about 24 cups.

Note: if you would rather not put in peanuts, increase the amount of peanut butter by about 1/2 cup, and add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt. You can also use chunky style peanut butter (which is rather hard to get here in Switzerland), increasing the amount by about 1/2 cup.

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Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Hello, I quite like your website. I think your site is fun for me because i lived in Paris too (Villiers) and also in Fontenay-aux-roses. I miss it. Oh i was wondering if the "icing sugar" is the same as "powdered sugar", and also if the dark chocolate is semi-sweet or just regular? Thanks!

cpr | 14 March, 2004 - 08:46

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Hi cpr. Yes icing sugar is powdered sugar. For the chocolate I used dark chocolate, not milk chocolate. I'm not too sure how it compares to semi-sweet, but it's quite a dense chocolately flavor, with 50% cocoa content. (The brand I used is called Caillers (owned by Nestlé, but Lindt also produces a similar kind of dark chocolate - here in Switzerland it is called Cremant.). You can use other types of chocolate instead if you prefer a less "dark" chocolate.

maki | 14 March, 2004 - 15:59

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Oh Thank you Maki for the information. I realize my chatty comments about Paris were meant for "Chocolate & Zucchini" (http://chocolateandzucchini.com/archives/cat_chocolate_is_my_friend.php), who linked to your recipe for the PB cups. I'm sorry about that. Oops. I guess I was still dreaming of Paris. Anyway, I can't wait to make these Peanut Butter Cups. I shall now peruse your site. :)

cpr | 14 March, 2004 - 17:50

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Hey Maki, I love reading your site and have just started trying out the recipes (I have a plate of reheated stuffed bread on my lap as I type!).

A question on this one: you say to put the butter in the bag with the peanut butter, then you say later to mix the butter into the chocolate. Do you split the 3oz butter between the two steps?

Thanks for providing some great foodie writing.

liz | 14 March, 2004 - 19:21

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Hey! How come I just noticed the comments now?

laura | 15 March, 2004 - 16:39

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Hey! How come I just noticed the comments now?

laura | 15 March, 2004 - 16:39

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Liz, I have put in the corrections - thanks for pointing it out!

Laura...i'm not sure... ?

maki | 15 March, 2004 - 16:53

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Hi Maki -

You inspired me to make these and they turned out great! My husband and I are Americans living in Paris and we really miss our Reese's peanut butter cups. In our opinion, the most "accurate" cup is a 1/3 to 2/3 ratio of chocolate to peanut butter. What do you think?


Sharon | 17 March, 2004 - 19:32

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

What you're making is very similar to buckeye candies.

joe | 19 March, 2004 - 20:07

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

I can't begin to tell you how happy this recipe makes me.


Candice | 19 March, 2004 - 22:39

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

What a great idea to mix the peanut butter in a bag! I'm going to give this a try with my step-daughter (10 years old) when she visits at Easter. Thanks!

Meg | 25 March, 2004 - 18:23

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

In Geneva, I relied on the store at the American Mission to the UN for all sorts of things from candy to fluff. Your solution seems to take it with a bit more grace ;).

emily b. hunt | 6 April, 2004 - 22:58

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

hmm, on a similar note, I found myself craving McDonalds egg mcmuffins. I made homemade "american style sausage" with minced pork, ground streaky bacon, fresh sage, paprika/salt/pepper and a shot of maple syrup, then fried it up. Put it in a casserole dish, layer of cheddar cheese and then poured over a mixture of beaten egg, touch of cream, salt and pepper and put it in the oven.

My brunch guests thought it was lovely, I didn't dare tell them the inspiration. :)

sylvia | 10 April, 2004 - 03:16

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

They are not cheap but if your craving real Peanut Butter Cups in Switzerland you can order them from cybercandy.co.uk. I have a box of them sitting under my desk in Zurich at the moment :)

Your recipie looks good though, guess I will be doing a comparison at the weekend.

Ady | 22 April, 2004 - 10:56

Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

I simply love your site. Every page I visit is a delight. I will especially enjoy trying this recipe this week for my twin grand-daughters first birthday next weekend in Newport. Love your colors and sense of humor.

Pk | 11 October, 2004 - 02:01

TrackBack from The Great Leap Forward:
From the foodblog I was really just very hungry, we find a recipe for homemade peanut butter cups (with dark chocolate!). I'm going to get Kim to try this one out. Love the peanut butter, be the peanut butter...

The Great Leap Forward | 12 March, 2004 - 08:12

What do you mean by shallow paper cups?

What do you mean by “shallow paper cups?” Are those the cupcake papers you put in cupcake tins? Or paper cups that you would drink out of?

Linda | 26 January, 2007 - 18:58

shallow cupcake cups

Linda, I mean shallow cupcake cups as seen in the photo.

maki | 31 January, 2007 - 19:44


I made them twoo days ago for valantinsday all my family and friend just loved it… i had smaler papercups so i made 36 pieces!!! @.@
tonight I’m going to my boyfriends house and I’m bringing his valantines chocolate (i’ve put first the peanutmitx in the papercups to get a bit stability and formed the papercups to little hearts bevore I’ve put the chocolate in^;) ) ^^ hope he likes it too,

the raw sugar in it is just genial… it makes a crispy crunch in the peanut cream…
You can finde crunchy peanuttbutter in coop. But I’ve prefered to take the salten peanuts, the smaler and bigger peanutbits in this lovely peanut cream is just addictable

ichigo-chan | 15 February, 2008 - 12:02

Re: Dark chocolate peanut butter cups

Wow! I made these for when my brother visited me, and they were AWESOME! My brother LOVED them and could not stop eating them! Thanks for such a fun and delicious recipe!

Luikenator | 17 October, 2009 - 03:42

Yum (:

I made these last night and they turned out amazing. (: The peanut butter I had was...too oily and the peanut butter didn't quite set in an hour, but after spending the night in the fridge they're perfect. Small question though, is the butter supposed to be melted when adding it to the peanut butter mash up? Wasn't sure, so I melted it so it could mix faster :D They were lots of fun to make.

jeananana | 11 December, 2010 - 21:53

Re: Yum (:

The butter doesn't have to be melted actually. As you mash the mixture together in the bag with your hands, your body temperature should soften the butter enough so that it melts into the mixture. Glad it went well for you in any case!

maki | 12 December, 2010 - 05:44

Oooh (:

Thanks! (: I'm gonna make these as soon as I get home for Christmas too :D I'm sure everyone will love them!

jeananana | 14 December, 2010 - 16:30

Re: Dark chocolate peanut pralinee

hey maki.
i really do love you website, it is really inspiring to me.
this recipie became a fave of a friend of mine :) she always keeps beging me to make some all the time ^^

and for this year i thought of an alternative, every year around this time i do chocolat candys for X-mas,i use empty chocolate orbs or i use silicone molds, so i tried to use dark chocolat orbs with that peanut filling... yummy but reaaaaly hard to get in there because of its rather stiff consistency,

i altered it by adding half a cup of boiled still hot cream, easy tu squish out of the bag and still gets a bit stiffer when cooled down, just gave me the perfect consistency for the filling, yum.

I wish you all the best for x-mas and a happy new year, and good health!

ichigo-chan | 22 December, 2011 - 19:47

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