These crave-worthy peanut butter cups are sweet enough for dessert, yet totally pre and post workout snack-approved. All of my bunnies know that I love making recipes as simple as possible, and simple to me means as few ingredients as possible. This recipe only contains 6 ingredients and I bet you have more than half of them at your house right now!
In the recipe, puffed quinoa is coated in a rich mixture of peanut butter, coconut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. That nutty mixture is then spooned into muffin liners and popped into the freezer to set. After an hour or so, you’ll have crunchy, peanut-buttery, and addictive little cups of goodness.
Now before anyone asks, “do I have to go out and buy coconut butter? Isn’t it the same as coconut oil?” let me give you the 411! At one point, I thought they were the same thing. I thought that when coconut oil was at its solid form it was considered coconut butter and when it was melted and liquid it was considered coconut oil. Well I was wrong! No shame!
Coconut oil is JUST the oil that is extracted from the meat of a coconut. Coconut butter is the whole meat of the coconut pureed into a creamy butter. If you’re curious, coconut meat (by nature) is approximately 65% oil! So there it is folks, coconut butter has the flesh of the coconut in it! Look at the difference in the photo above (coconut butter on the left, and coconut oil on the right).
*You can purchase puffed quinoa at specialty health food stores but it’s kind of tricky to find and it may be a bit on the pricier side, so in this post I’m showing you how to make your own puffed/popped quinoa! Heat a large stock pot over medium heat (I have an induction stove, and I set my heat to level 6 out of 9). Once the pot is hot, pour a small amount (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan as seen in the photo below) of pre-rinsed and dried quinoa over the bottom of the pan. Gently swirl the quinoa around with a wooden spoon as it pops (this helps prevent burning). You’ll notice that the quinoa has a very quiet little crackle pop, and its popped state is only the tiniest bit larger than its unpopped state (nothing like popcorn!). Once your first round of quinoa has popped (a minute or two), pour it into a bowl and repeat until you have 1½ cups. I like to have a bowl of unpopped quinoa ready to pour into the pot, and then a bowl on the other side for the puffed quinoa to go into when it has finished popping.
1½ cups of unpinned quinoa is pretty darn close to 1½ cups of puffed quinoa in the end since there is barely any difference in size once it has puffed!
Above is a photo of unpopped quinoa to the left and popped or puffed quinoa on the right. See how there is a very slight difference in size, but the little ring inside has expanded?
Quinoa Peanut Butter Crunch Cups
Makes 12 crunch cups
1½ cups puffed quinoa*
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp peanut butter
¼ cup + 2 Tbsp coconut butter
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1½ Tbsp pure maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Puff quinoa over a stove as described underneath photos above and set aside.* In a saucepan over low heat, combine the peanut butter, coconut butter, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
2. Stir for 3-4 minutes or until the mixture is completely melted and smooth.
3. Next, turn off the stove and pour the puffed quinoa into the melted peanut butter mixture.
4. Line a muffin tin with 12 muffin liners. Scoop 2 tablespoons of the quinoa mixture into each muffin liner and smooth the tops with a spoon if needed.
5. Place the muffin tin in the freezer for 1 hour to set. Once the cups have set, they can be transferred to the refrigerator to store. Do not leave at room temperature or they will melt!