I created these vegan peanut butter cups years ago, with my father in mind.
So many of the foods we love are connected to memories. Favorite meals and desserts we had as children, foods we shared with friends, dishes during the holidays, and more.
I remember my mom putting a lot of love and time into making stews, casseroles, and more. They were far from plant-based, but they were indeed made with love.
I remember many family dinners, and how much my father loved those meals. He rarely got seconds (with six ravenous growing girls). In fact, one of my fond memories is of him filling up on crackers and jam after meals!
Like father, like daughter, he also enjoyed some sweets. We had candy bars like Reese’s cups in the house often, so I know he’d love these vegan peanut butter cups.
My father passed five days after my 11th birthday. It’s now 41 years since that day. Up until this post and in my introduction to Dreena’s Kind Kitchen, I hadn’t shared much about my family story.
My dad was a recreational pilot and died in a helicopter accident. My three cousins were with him that day and also died.
It was a single, tragic, inexplicable event that changed our lives forever. There were other things going on that hurt our family life and relationships – many related to our dad’s tragedy. It took a very heavy toll on our family, and our hearts and souls.
I find it hard to believe it’s been 41 years. Moments can trigger a memory that brings me back to that day in seconds, and yet most of my days I’m carrying on with my life as an adult (as we do).
I mentioned in my last post that it was my birthday this week. For years and years, I didn’t enjoy my birthday because it felt so close to my dad’s death. There were other deaths in October for our extended family when I was young. So, October has always felt very dark and emotional for me.
In recent years, however, I realized how much I was connecting the two and have been able to really enjoy celebrating myself on my birthday. Which, can be a difficult thing for us to do anyhow. Just taking a day to acknowledge how fortunate we are to be in our lives, and also to appreciate how special we all are, in our own precious ways.
On this anniversary, of course, I still think of my dad, my mom, and my sisters at this time. A few years back, I decided to dedicate this recipe for vegan peanut butter cups to my father.
Because he did love his treats. As does his daughter. 😉
I think my dad would have loved these peanut butter cups, and hope you do too.
Note: This is not a low-fat recipe. I use coconut butter as it is a whole foods product and offers great texture as an alternative to oil. I realize this doesn’t suit everyone’s dietary scope.
Dreena’s Vegan Peanut Butter Cups
- 1/2 cup non-dairy chocolate chips
- 2 1/2 tbsp coconut butter
Peanut Butter Topping:
- 2 tbsp coconut butter
- 1/3 cup natural unsalted peanut butter see note for substitution
- 3 1/2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1/4 tsp rounded sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract or 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder
- Line a mini-muffin pan with 15–18 small muffin liners. To make the chocolate base: Set a heat-proof bowl over a small pot or double boiler with a few inches of water in it. Turn heat to medium. Add chocolate chips and coconut butter to the bowl. Stir through until well combined and melted. Remove from heat, and
- spoon roughly one tablespoon of chocolate mixture into each liner. Once finished, transfer the pan to the fridge to cool completely. Reserve saucepan with hot water or double boiler (still with just a small amount of water in it). To make the peanut butter topping: Add the coconut butter to another small bowl, place over the saucepan/double boiler, and allow it to melt. If needed, turn on low heat to help melt. Meanwhile, prepare the peanut butter mixture. In a mini food processor, puree the peanut butter, coconut sugar, salt, and vanilla. Add the melted coconut butter to the peanut butter mixture and puree until fully incorporated.
- To assemble: Once chocolate cups are chilled and firm, spoon about 11/2 tbsp peanut butter mixture on top of each of the chocolate cups. I use a small cookie scoop, and then gently smooth out the peanut mixture to cover the chocolate. Place the cups in the fridge until completely chilled, about an hour.
Food photos credit: Nicole Axworthy
This post was originally published October 24, 2015 and updated for October 24, 2022.