When I was little, I was addicted to Reese's peanut butter cups, more specifically, the ones that came out around the holidays (aka, the christmas tree or the pumpkin shaped ones) because the peanut butter chocolate ratio was just perfect. Thin layer of chocolate and so much PB it would get stuck to the top of your mouth. Just for the fun of it, I looked at the ingredients the other day and it contains over 22 grams of sugar (!!!) per serving and I can barely pronounce half the ingredients that are listed. Like what is "TBHQ" ?! If you are eating one, please, put them down, throw them in the garbage and never look back. To cure your blues, I've made these healthy peanut butter chocolate cups with a homemade strawberry chia jam....Would you believe me if I said that they ONLY sugar from these, is from the strawberries?! Using ingredients like natural peanut butter, cacao powder & coconut oil to make the chocolate, and a touch of Zevia's strawberry flavored cola to enhance the flavor of the strawberry jam while giving it a bit of a sweet taste, you can bite into this treat without a sugar crash later, the bloat, and asking yourself what the heck is TBHQ!!!!
Zevia cola is sweetened with stevia, which is a 100% natural, zero calorie sweetener. By now you know, that refined sugar is bad (!!) and thankfully, there are alternative options out there, like this, that actually have some health benefits and will not affect your blood sugar levels in the same way that refined sugar does. A little bit goes a long way, as it tends to be a little sweeter. I love these drinks when I am craving a carbonated beverage and they have so many different flavors to satisfy you for whatever you are in the mood for. You can find Zevia at your local Whole Foods or check out the store locator on their website!
Making the strawberry chia jam is super simple and you will question yourself as to why you've never done it before! You only need 4 ingredients- strawberries, chia seeds, water, and a little bit of Zevia. You heat the strawberries over the stove, allow them to break down, add them to a mason jar with chia seeds, water and the Zevia, let it thicken for about 10 minutes and done! How easy is that? The Zevia cola gives the jam a sweet taste and really brings out the flavor of the strawberries. The best part? After you've made the jam for this recipe, you will have left overs that will go perfect on toast, chia puddings, oatmeals and even in on top of smoothies!
For the chocolate, two ingredients: coconut oil and raw cacao powder. I opted to use cacao powder, first because it offers so many benefits (magnesium, makes you happy, balances your hormones, gives your energy, just to name a few!) and mainly because it contains NO sugar! You can certainly use your favorite chocolate brand by just melting the chocolate over the stove, but this is a great alternative. If you are using cacao powder, you will want to make sure that you use more powder than coconut oil, always keep them in the freezer, and eat them immediately as they will melt faster than if you were to use regular chocolate chips!
These bites are a tad sweet and refreshing from the strawberry jelly, a little salty from the peanut butter and the cacao powder gives them a deep rich chocolate flavor. ENJOY!
Yields 12 cups
Strawberry Jam: 10 minutes total time
1 cup strawberries, chopped
2 tbsp chia seeds
4 tbsp. Zevia Strawberry flavored cola
1 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 tbsp. vanilla
Peanut butter filling: 5 minutes total time
1 cup gluten free oats, made into flour
1/2 cup peanut butter*
If the mixture is dry, after you combine both, add more peanut butter
Line a cupcake/muffin tray with cupcake liners. Set aside.
1. First prepare the strawberry jam so it can cool.
In a sauce pan, over medium heat, add 1 cup of chopped strawberries. Stir occasionally until the strawberries break down and become "mush" You can always add more strawberries if you want some left over! Just double the recipe. Once the strawberries are broken down, pour them into a mason jar with 2 tbsp of chia seeds and 4 tbsp of Zevia strawberry flavored cola. Mix is like crazy and place it in the fridge to cool.
2. Peanut butter filling:
Add the oats to your food processor and grind until it becomes a flour consistency. Add the peanut butter and grind until it sticks together. If the dough is too dry, add more peanut butter. Scoop into about 1 tbsp. sized balls and place them in the center of your muffin/cupcake tin. Place in the freezer for 10 minutes or so.
In a small sauce pan, on low heat, combine 1 cup cacao powder, 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1 tbsp of vanilla. Stir often to prevent from burning. If you need more after you have started to cover the peanut butter and jelly, do the same ratio of measurements.
4. Take the cupcake tray out of the oven with the peanut butter balls. Take the PB balls out of the liners.
5. Pour the melted chocolate in the cupcake liners. About 1-2 tsp.
6. Place the PB balls over the chocolate and flatter them. Make sure they do not touch the ends of the liners.
6. Add the strawberry jam on top of the peanut butter, about 1/2 tbsp.
7. Pour more chocolate over the peanut butter and the jelly. Repeat until all 12 are finished.
8. Place them in the freezer for over an hour to settle or overnight.
9. Sprinkle with sea salt on top ;)
1. They will melt fast since you are using coconut oil and cacao powder. Store them in the freezer and eat immediately.
2. For the chocolate, you can also melt 2 cups of dark chocolate, but it will give them added sugar. I did cacao powder and coconut oil for this recipe to keep it very low in sugar.
3. Store them in an air tight container in the freezer.
4. The Zevia strawberry cola gives the jam a sweet taste and a more of a strawberry flavor. Therefore you do not need to add any sweeteners into the jam or the peanut butter filling.