This little creation is what I imagine the love child of a snickers and a peanut butter cup to taste like. Mini-muffin sized dark chocolate cups filled with salty peanuts and a gooey caramel – what’s not to love? Any they’re so dinky small that they can’t be bad for you, even if you do eat 5 in one go. I love the peanut-chocolate-caramel combination in the aforementioned chocolate bar but find the ratios are all wrong for my preferences. I want way more caramel and chocolate that is just on the right side of bitter.
I use dates to make the caramel filling, adding only a few ingredients and no extra sugar so it’s definitely a far cry healthier than most caramel sauces. If you have an allergy, or simply don’t like peanuts you can use almonds, macadamias, or any other nut in their place. I like the addition of the salt from the peanuts but to get the same effect you could also just add a quarter to half a tsp of fine salt to the caramel if using unsalted nuts.
They’re pretty quick to make and don’t require baking, just setting time in the fridge and the hob to cook down your caramel. I think they are best eaten fresh from the fridge, the cold chocolate has a satisfying crack as you bite into it. If you don’t like that kind of (wonderful) thing you can also keep them at room temperature in an airtight container.
Caramel and Peanut Chocolate Cups
Prep time: 30 mins (plus chilling time)
Cooking time: 10 minutes
- 150g dark chocolate
- 100g medjool dates (if using other dates soak in hot water for 10 mins to plump them up)
- 1 tbsp vegan butter
- 100ml non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 50g salted peanuts
- You will also need 12 paper or silicone mini-muffin cases
- Break up half of the chocolate and place in a small microwaveable bowl. Cook in the microwave on high in 30 second bursts until the chocolate has started to melt. Remove when it has begun to melt but there are still lumps of chocolate visible. It will continue to melt when removed and this prevents over heating.
- Coat the bottom and sides of each mini muffin case with a good layer of chocolate. Make sure you coat all the way up the sides. Place all the cases on a plate and put in the fridge to cool.
- To make the caramel filling chop up the dates and place into a small saucepan along with the butter, vanilla and non-dairy milk. Place on a medium low heat, stirring as the butter melts.
- Simmer the mixture gently for about 5 minutes, giving the dates a good prod with a wooden spoon to help them break down. It will start to thicken up quickly. You want a thick and sludgy date mush (sounds appetising, right?) Stick with me – it’s about to get really good.
- Once cooked you want to puree the mixture to transform it into date caramel and blend up the skin of the dates that remains. I do this by using a stick blender straight into the saucepan in order to minimise washing up but you could also use a food processor. Blend until no lumps remain and you have a thick caramel. Leave to cool.
- Remove the chocolate cases from the fridge. Fill with a layer of peanuts and then caramel, smoothing the tops. You want to leave enough room for another layer of chocolate so don’t be tempted to overfill them.
- Once they are all filled completely cover the caramel with the remaining chocolate (melting it again as above) and place a few nuts on the surface for decoration. Pop back in the fridge for 20-30 mins. Once set you can carefully remove the cases if you like.
- They will probably keep for about a 5-7 days in the fridge but I honestly have no experience of this as they somehow always manage to get eaten on the day I make them.