I took a halt from our Japanese food “tour” to make this dessert that I have been eying for awhile, posted on Alicia Silverstone’s site. Alicia is vegan and has a book published called The Kind Diet. I was searching her book online and stumbled upon a preview of some of her recipes. One of them is a healthier version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I love peanut butter so I knew it had to be yummy!
Here’s what we used to make ours:
-1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
-3/4 cup crunchy unsalted peanut butter (Trader Joe’s)
-10 cinnamon graham crackers (Trader Joe’s)
-1/4 cup brown Sugar
-1 cup non-dairy chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s)
-1/4 cup almond milk
-Chopped unsalted peanuts for the topping
-“If You Care” unbleached liners made from recycled paper
-12 tin muffin pan
The recipe calls for either 3/4 cup of graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker squares. The squares from TJ’s seem a lot smaller than normal size graham crackers, but after I crushed them, there was about 1/4 cup of leftover crumbs – I could probably use 8 graham crackers instead of 10 next time. A good way to crush the crackers is to use a glass jar and a bowl as a mortar and pestle.
Here’s a good tip: give the bowl an occasional shake to bring the bigger pieces to the top so you can crush everything evenly.
I mixed the melted butter, sugar, peanut butter, and graham cracker crumbs well, then started scooping the mix into the cups as stated in the recipe. After the fourth scoop I realized that I wasn’t going to have enough to fill all my liners and make 12 servings. I was able to fill seven liners. It was a little bit disappointing! The instructions say “approximately two tablespoons per cup,” and that’s exactly what I did. I was bit ticked off with Alicia and her inaccurate quantities.
After looking at the photos on the website it looks like the the peanut butter in Alicia’s cups reaches halfway up the liners; mine went well over that, so if you make this, I recommend cutting the PB mix in half – 1 tablespoon should suffice.
The chocolate chips and almond milk were mixed together over very low heat just long enough to melt, and then spread on top of the peanut butter. I did spread a lot of chocolate on top of the pieces, which ended up being a pretty thick layer rather than a thin chocolate shell, because I had more chocolate than peanut butter. I also wasn’t able to spread the chocolate so pretty and cover up the entire cup like in the photos. I guess you have to be a professional and pay someone big bucks to make them look pretty.
The whole tray was then put into the refrigerator for two hours to chill and harden. Perhaps doing this with just the peanut butter would allow the chocolate to be spread more smoothly on top, but that would require two separate cooling periods – and who wants to wait for that when you’re making sweets?
Note: in the comment section, a response was that they used half of the amount of Earth Balance butter (1/4 cup instead of 1/2 cup) to make it drier. It makes sense now because the finished peanut butter was pretty gooey, but no doubt delicious.
And the best part of baking is still licking the spatula and getting the good stuff off before you put in the sink to have it washed! Some joys stay the same no matter your age.