Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

Food can be a powerful thing. I’ve said it before and I really believe it–food connects us. Sometimes it’s a simple ingredient, a subtle flavor, or just an aroma that can remind us of someone or something special. Food can trigger memories and bring you back to a specific time or a place within seconds. I think that’s a remarkable thing. Chocolate peanut butter cups have become one of those foods for me.chocolate peanut butter cups

As a kid, I was not a peanut butter fan. I never ate it because it was simply too sweet. Later in life I learned to tolerate this iconic American spread, but only when needed. But my love and connection to peanut butter came much more recently–a few summers ago, in fact, when I lost one of my closest college friends. Losing Dana, changed everything. Her passing was, and still is, difficult to accept. But Dana (who was truly brilliant), always taught me things and challenged me to see things differently. So naturally, she taught me something in her passing.chocolate peanut butter cups

Lesson Learned:

What I learned (in addition to the fact that cucumber slices really DO NOT reduce eye puffiness from crying…) was that you can be friends with someone for decades, know their passions, fears, failures and many of their little idiosyncrasies that make them who they are, and still not know everything about them. You see, apparently Dana loved Reese’s peanut butter cups, and I had absolutely no clue. Looking back, I can say I really do know a tremendous amount about my friend; the good, the bad and the ugly, but I did not know about her peanut butter cup obsession.

chocolate peanut butter cups

At Dana’s memorial service, her love of peanut butter cups was highlighted by both her parents and her three sisters. At the reception afterwords, there was a huge container filled to the brim with Reese’s peanut butter cups that family and friends indulged in while sharing Dana stories. I was surprisingly comforted by this.

Chocolate peanut butter cups symbolized a lot to me that day; a sweet life, my friend’s playful demeanor, joy, and simplicity, but most of all it taught me that no matter how well you know someone, there is always something more you can learn about them–even if it’s something simple, like this.

chocolate peanut butter cups

A few years have past since losing Dana, and to honor her I developed my own recipe for chocolate peanut butter cups to help strengthen that food connection even more. Now, whenever I make these, or even pass by the candy packed store shelves around Halloween time, I am reminded of my wickedly funny, amazing friend I was so fortunate to have known.  So thank you D for yet another lesson learned.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

October 28, 2021
: 15 min
: 1 hr
: easy


  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 Tablespoons flavorless coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup confectioner's sugar, sifted
  • Step 1 Line a standard 12 cup muffin tin with paper cupcake liners and set aside.
  • Step 2 Place the semi sweet and dark chocolate in a microwave safe bowl and working in 30 second increments melt the chocolateI until smooth.
  • Step 3 Using about half, pour a small amount of melted chocolate into each muffin cup. Gently tap the muffin pan on the counter to make flat and to make sure it covers the entire area evenly. Place in the freezer for about 12-15 minutes.
  • Step 4 While the chocolate is setting, make the peanut butter filling. In the bowl of a kitchen mixer, such as a Cusinart fitted with a paddle attachment, add the peanut butter, coconut oil and confectioners’ sugar and blend on high, scrapping down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed until light and fluffy. Place near your work station.
  • Step 5 Remove the muffin pan from the freezer and place a small tablespoon of peanut butter into each cup. As you did with the chocolate, gently tap the muffin pan on the counter to flatten out the peanut butter filling and to make sure it covers the entire bottom layer of chocolate. Place in muffin pan back in the freezer for an additional 12-15 minutes.
  • Step 6 Remove the muffin pan from the freezer and working quickly (as your top chocolate layer will set very fast) evenly portion small spoonfuls of chocolate and place on top of the peanut butter layer. Gently tap the muffin pan on the counter to make flat and to make sure the top chocolate layer evenly covers the entire area and all air bubbles are removed. Return the finished peanut butter cups to the freezer to set for an additional 15 minutes before serving. Note on storage: Depending on how you like your peanut butter cups, they can be stored in the refrigerator or on the counter top.

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In loving memory of Dana Camilla Hoelter, July 28, 1973-July 28, 2018.

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