Cayenne Dusted Peanut Butter Cups:
Sweet with a little heat, that’s what these Cayenne Dusted Peanut Butter Cups have to offer! A few years back these cayenne dusted peanut butter cups instantly became a favorite in our household. It was a happy accident that came about when I was in the mood to make homemade peanut butter cups. I had accidentally made more than planned, so my husband and I decided to top these little guys with various toppings. We tried sea-salt, caramel syrup, jelly and then I busted out the cayenne pepper. Cayenne pepper? I know, what was I thinking! I had seen a few chocolate bars advertised at the grocery store infused with various chili’s and on the Mexican side of my family I was familiar with mole sauce (chocolate-chili pepper sauce served over meat). Any-who, I had decided to throw the cayenne pepper on the dark chocolate peanut butter cups and my husband and I were forever changed. It was amazing. Now, whenever it starts to get cold out, my husband patiently waits for his spicy peanut butter cups. 🙂
This recipe is fairly simple. No double boilers needed! Just your microwave. Head to the store and buy your favorite chocolate bars, for this recipe the darker the better (70% or higher). The best part about making peanut butter cups at home is that you control the chocolate to peanut butter ratio. If you like more chocolate than peanut butter, then grab 3 bars of chocolate (4oz). If you like more peanut butter than 2 bars will work. My husband is a total choco-holic so, it was 3 bars of chocolate for me.
For melting the chocolate, I like using these cute 2cup glass bowls (shown above), it helps me maintain the chocolate mess and forces me to work in increments so that I don’t burn the chocolate. Take one full chocolate bar (or 1.5 for those wanting more chocolate) and break it into pieces in the bowl, then take a teaspoon of coconut oil and drop it in (you can use any oil, vegetable, olive etc., it gives the chocolate some shine as well as makes it more manageable when melted). Pop the chocolate into the microwave for 30 seconds, take out and use a spatula to stir the chocolate (the chocolate will still be in chunks but by moving it around you will ensure that the chocolate doesn’t burn), once stirred, microwave for another 30 seconds. Grab your spatula again and stir, stir, stir, because the bowl is so warm on the bottom, you are going to stir all of the lumps out without burning the chocolate.
Grab a 24-piece mini cupcake pan and some mini cupcake holders. Take a regular sized spoon and dip half of it into the chocolate and then just hover over the cupcake holder. The chocolate will drip perfectly into place and fill just the bottom of the cup holder.
Time for the peanut butter filling (my favorite part!). Now must share a little secret with you, since my husband is a choco-holic, he will probably end up eating 90% of these. To ensure that he gets some kind of nutrients while eating all of these, I sneak in protein powder. Shhhh! I also love the grainy texture that it provides to the creamy peanut butter. I only use vanilla flavored protein powder, but i’m sure you could also use chocolate or peanut butter flavored.
I grab another glass bowl (2 cup sized) and toss in one full tablespoon of protein powder, then I add a splash of water, just to get the protein powder into a paste like structure, then I add the 4 tablespoons of peanut butter with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, mix well and then back into the microwave for 3o seconds. Once out of the microwave, stir, stir, stir. Now you are ready for your peanut butter filling. Fill a regular sized spoon halfway (if you have a baby spoon, even better!) and add to the chocolate sitting in the cupcake holder.
Finally, grab the remaining chocolate bars and melt them in the same manner as before. Drizzle the chocolate on top of the peanut butter mixture until the paper cup is filled to the desired level. When completed, pour a teaspoon (or more!) of cayenne pepper in your hand and gently sprinkle it over the chocolate. Place the pan in your freezer for up to an hour, when the chocolate is done, pull them out of the freezer and sprinkle more cayenne pepper and a little bit of chili powder on top for garnish and color. Yay! all done.