Chocolate and peanut butter are a match made in heaven. Reese’s peanut butter cups and peanut M&M’s are my weakness. It’s a slippery slope. I tell myself just one more…and then the bag is gone! Needless to say, it’s not safe for me to have these in the cupboard. But sometimes you NEED a little treat, right?! Enter the newest addiction in our house: protein nut butter cups! I found this basic idea on Sequins and Stripes and knew it would be a hit. At roughly 94 calories and 1 gram of (unrefined) sugar each, you don’t have to feel guilty about going back for more. There are a number of modifications I tested to change up the flavor, too.
Start by mixing the nut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and protein together for the filling. I tried this with chocolate peanut butter whey protein, just because we had it on hand. The second time I made this, I used a chocolate plant protein. The third time (yes, we have been making this way too often!), I added an 1/8 tsp mint extract to the chocolate topping for a chocolate mint flavor. So good! I also tested salted peanut butter and unsalted, and salted was best for the standard recipe, and unsalted went better with mint.
Using a mini muffin pan with liners, scoop out the dough. I used a mini ice cream scoop to make measuring a bit easier. The whey protein creates a stiffer dough that doesn’t stick, so you could also use your hands. The plant protein creates a more runny consistency best suited for a scooper.
Flatten each ball out using the scoop or by pressing down on a spoon.
Place in the freezer for about 15 minutes. While the balls are chilling, start on the chocolate topping. Mix together melted coconut oil, cacao, and maple syrup (plus mint extract if you are using it). Get the chilled balls out of the freezer and top each with about a teaspoon of chocolate sauce. Time to go back in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
These are so easy and taste even better than the original Reese’s. It may not be a work of art, but hey, my taste buds don’t care. Store these little guys in the freezer until you’re ready to eat. They are a perfect little treat!
- CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- optional: ⅛ tsp mint extract
- ¾ cup nut butter
- 1 scoop chocolate peanut butter protein powder
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 2 tbsp melted coconut oil
- Mix the nut butter, protein powder, maple syrup, and melted coconut oil together.
- Use a mini ice cream scoop or a tablespoon to divide the batter into 24 lined mini muffin cups.
- Press down the scoop to create a flat surface, and then pop in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
- While the filling hardens, make the chocolate topping. Mix melted coconut oil, maple syrup, and cacao powder together until smooth. Add mint extract if desired.
- Take the the filling back out of the freezer, and add about a teaspoon of chocolate topping to each muffin cup.
- Put the tray back in the freezer for 30 minutes, or until chocolate coating is firm. Store them in the freezer and resist the urge to eat them all at once!
Switch up the nut butter for some variations. Smooth, chunky, salted/unsalted, almond, cashew, peanut, the possibilities are endless!
Test out different extracts in the chocolate topping. Mint is excellent, and I plan to try coffee extract with coffee protein powder. Also, test out maple extract!
Adjust the sweetener to your liking. I imagine it would also work well with honey or agave.
A note on ingredients:
We go through a good amount of cacao, so I buy in bulk from Amazon. Steve consumes a lot of protein powder, so he does the ‘subscribe and save’ option on the protein below through Amazon.