Back to School Treat: Homemade, Healthier “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups”

The other day, Elena and I needed a project to work on together, so I decided to try to make our own, healthier version of “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups”.  Starting with the peanut butter filling, we heaped peanut butter in a bowl. Because we find that a little sweetener is just as good as a lot, we added just a bit of honey, toasted nuts for crunch, and coconut oil for creaminess. Once topped with chocolate we were set. They were a hit!

This is a great project to do with kids because not only is it a yummy treat, but there is almost no oven work and you can taste as you go along (which Elena certainly did!).They are great for a back to school treat for children, but I bet my husband wouldn’t mind taking some to college today, so I am going to send some with him too.

I used to like candy bars, but now, though we keep a whole shelf stocked up with candy bars (as practice rewards for our students), they don’t really appeal to me anymore (unless I am very, very hungry). But I certainly like this less sweet and healthier version! Yummy.

Homemade, Healthier Peanut Butter Cups
If you use another nut butter, you may need to add more honey. Peanuts are naturally sweet. For that matter, this is definitely a “to your own taste” recipe! And you can easily adjust the sweeter to satisfy you.

    3/4 cup of peanut butter, toasted and salted (or use nut butter of your choice)
    2 tablespoons honey
    1 teaspoon vanilla (if you are making this gluten free, make sure to use gluten free vanilla)
    1/4 cup of coconut oil
    1/3 cup of chopped soaked and dehydrated nuts, or toasted (I used a mixture of chopped almonds and pumpkin seeds) *
    4 ounces of unsweetened chocolate
    2-4 tablespoons honey *

1-In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, first two tablespoons honey, and nuts. Mix until well combined.

2-Drop by the heaping teaspoon into mini cupcake pans. Place in freezer.

3-Chop chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of a double broiler (or, like I do, in a heat proof bowl that fits on top of a pot you have). Mix in the honey. Bring about two inches of water to a boil in the pot and place the bowl on top. Watch the chocolate carefully so that it doesn’t burn, stirring gently while the chocolate melts. When there are just a few chunks left in the chocolate, take off of the heat and allow it to melt completely.

4-Drop by the teaspoon over the peanut butter mixture and place back into the freezer. Freeze for 20 minutes. Take out, and using a butter knife pop them out. Keep in the freezer or refrigerator and enjoy!

*To toast the nuts, place in a dry pan over medium-high heat. Stir almost continually until they are starting to brown. Take off of the heat.

*I used only one tablespoon honey to sweet the chocolate, but we decided that it needed to be sweeter! So I have put two to four tablespoons, depending on how sweet you want it to be.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. Kathy Shaner says

    Thank you! I’ve been thinking about trying something like this, but you’ve taken care of the guesswork for me. I’m looking forward to making these, and I know my husband will enjoy taking them to college too!

  2. Katie D. says

    This is so funny – I just made a treat like this: with “coconutty butter” from Eat Fat, Lose Fat and the coconut oil chocolate from your “mounds bar” recipe. I put the chocolate on the bottom, froze, then layered the ‘nutty butter (as we call it here) and then a thin layer of chocolate on top, garnished with shredded coconut (but I thought chopped almonds would be nice, too). Yumm! I have to say I am bummed that they melt at room temp.

  3. Dina says

    Oh we just enjoyed your “mounds” bars this weekend and were talking about trying it with a peanut butter version with chocolate next time. Perfect timing and I can’t wait to try!

  4. Brook says

    Thanks for the recipe, Kimi! I just made some and they are delicious. I didn’t have unsweetened chocolate so, I used the “mounds” chocolate topping instead. I need to say – DO NOT use a sharp knife to remove them. My pans were very old (belonging to my grandma) and the knife poked right through the pan without me even realizing. I am bummed about that but, the yummy treat made up for it.

    Oh, any idea why my Google RSS feed isn’t updating? Just wondering if anyone else was having that isssue. The last update I got was Aug 31.

  5. Monica says

    Hi Kimi,
    As with Brook and Megan, my feed is not updating since August 31 st either. I really look forward to the posts and use many of your recipes in the GAPS diet my family is following. Can you please see what might be causing this? I do not want to miss another post! Thank you.
    P.S. I tried to enlist again, but the feedburner says I am already a member.

    • KimiHarris says

      Hey Everyone,

      Thanks for letting me know about feedburner not working. That’s so strange! I am so terrible with these types of things and have no idea how to fix it. Does anyone else have any ideas for me in how to fix it?

  6. says

    This looks tasty…what is it in Reese’s cups that keeps them solid at room temp? Anyone know? I’d love to find a way to keep them more solid for the lunchbox. Kimi – you mention gluten free vanilla. I read recently in cooks illustrated (GOD I love that mag! The way it tells the science behind recipes so you can easily take your knowledge & tweak other recipes), that you can use vanilla pods & just put them in a jar with vodka, I think it was. Soak & keep on hand. They had amounts. WAY cheaper than even the best bought extract, & probably of a better quality. Also good to know about the feedburner thing. I better check & see if it’s working on my blog.

  7. Rebecca says

    I am new to your site and was receiving and enjoying your posts. Lately however I haven’t received any new ones. I, too checked the site and realized I had missed several new postings.
    The peanutbutter cups look yummy!

  8. Erin says

    I recently discovered this kind of thing as a delightful treat on top of homemade vanilla ice cream.
    1 T. melted coconut oil + 2-3 T. cocoa powder + a little sweetener of your choice. Oh my! On top of a frozen treat, it’s just like magic shell. 🙂
    Thanks for the recipe!

  9. says

    Susan, that is how I make my vanilla all the time. It tastes better, and it’s cheaper. Plus you know it’s unadulturated.

    I wonder if you could use carob (and cut out the sweetner) instead. I may try it.

  10. Ann Lewis says

    I’m allergic to peanut butter, but when I could eat it (it was a late-developed allergy) I loved this the best. I wonder if it can be made with cashew butter.

  11. Kylie Thomas says

    I have had this recipe of yours saved for quite a while Kimi, I have been waiting for the right time to make it. That time came yesterday. I had a suspicision these were going to be pretty tasty, so in lack of self control, I made a half batch (but was still hoping I could limit myself to 1-2 a day) Well, they were SO DELICIOUS my self control went straight out the window and I munched them clean by the end of the day! So So So good. These are definately one of my new favourite treats. Yum!! Kimi, you’re a genius 🙂

  12. says

    Wow! We made these last night as a special treat – a thousand times better than the horrible recipe we used when we first married 1o years ago involving a lot of powdered sugar mixed with peanut butter. They were horrible, but we were living in Zambia and really missing peanut butter cups!

    Instead of mixing the chopped nuts (we used hazelnuts) with the nut butter we sprinkled them on top of the chocolate. This allowed the hazelnut flavour to shine through a bit more.


  13. says

    Wow, these are amazing. I haven’t even eaten a whole one yet, just tried both the peanut butter mixture and the chocolate and I can already tell they’re going to be great. I used ghiradelli 72% dark chocolate b/c that’s what I had on hand and Kroger organic peanut butter(It has palm oil, sugar, salt and peanuts in it). Next time I think I’ll use peanut butter that only contains peanuts and salt. I added 2 tbsp of honey to the peanut butter mixture and 2 tablespoons of honey to the chocolate mixture(even though the chocolate was already sweetened, to appeal to the crowd that I’m taking them to tomorrow night). I yielded 8 cups, because the muffin tin I used was larger. I bet it would easily yeild 12, if I had used a smaller tin. Thanks for sharing the recipe! My husband can’t wait for me to make them for him next time.

  14. Sarahjess says

    My girls and I just made these for their grandfather’s birthday — but I’m not sure how many will actually make it to him, they are so yummy!
    My coconut oil was solid, so I melted it over warm water first before I mixed it w/the peanut butter. The honey we had is the kind w/the comb in the jar, so I melted that, too, so that there wouldn’t be lumpy wax bits. The wax actually made the chocolate more of a “coating”, and the oil & wax made the peanut butter really solid at room temp, too! Nice bonus of cooking naturally!
    Thanks for all the great recipes!

  15. Natalie says

    I just made these and they are sooo yummy! My husband doubted they’d be good, but man oh man, we just loved them =D Oh and my toddler, he gobbled that peanut butter mix like crazy, lol
    I wonder if it’s because I poured them into plastic tins or because they are not hard enough, they don’t ‘pop’ out, I have to sort of scoop them out of there and they are not very hard either, I’ll wait til tomorrow and see if they’ll easily pop out. But the flavor was just incredible. Thanks Kimi, you just awesome!

  16. Magda says

    I finally did these, using mini muffin paper cups. They are delicious and filling – definitely NOT like Reese’s. BETTER. The chocolate flavor is so rich, without being overwhelmingly sweet. PB mix was just right (I used freshly ground organic peanuts from Whole Foods and salted them a bit with Celtic gray salt). Being in my last few weeks of pregnancy I’ve been craving sweets and I’m trying to satisfy those cravings with high fat/high protein sweets. This fits the bill perfectly!! Thanks so much for the recipe – it’s a keeper.

  17. Anne Marie says

    Just made these wonderful treats. Since my husband despises nuts, I used “healthy” (whole wheat, sugar free) graham cracker crumbs instead of the chopped nuts and agave instead of honey. Yum! Next time, I’ll definitely use the paper liners and maybe almond butter. Thanks!

  18. HeidiLynn says

    WOW, these sound great…I LOVE peanut butter cups but have been looking for a way to make cleaner, healthier ones..this recipe might be it!
    One question, do you need to spray the muffin tins with PAM or oil beforehand?

  19. Lauren says

    Do you have any ideas on how to tone down the chocolate flavor for my daughter? I like dark chocolate, but it is waay to rich for her. I used 100% unsweetened chocolate.

    • Amy says

      I did not have any unsweetened dark chocolate so this is what I did:
      Melt 4T. of butter or coconut oil(I did half and half) on low heat. Add 4T. cocoa powder, 4T. honey. Stir until all melted and mixed together. Take off heat and add 1/4t. vanilla and 1T. half and half or cream.
      I use the recipe all the time for many different things! It is not as dark although you can make it “darker” by adding less honey and omitting the dairy…

  20. Donna says

    I made these and they are delicious! I took them to work one time and now everyone keeps asking when I’m bringing them again. Thanks for your great recipes!! I love looking at your “site”.

  21. Ruth says

    I just made these and sprinkled some smoked sea salt on the chocolate to give it an extra oomph. My 3 year old gobbled them down!

  22. Nicole says

    SOOO good! Oh my word! Insane! Just trying to figure out a way to hold them so they don’t melt. Maybe try what another person tried…put chocolate on the bottom, then pb then more chocolate? The PB mixture melts sooo fast in your fingers . But it’s so worth it. I cannot believe how good these are!!

  23. Vickie says

    To help keep them solid at room temperature you can use food grade paraffin melted in with the chocolate. I live in Ohio and every autumn we make Buckeyes, which are basically peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate to look like a buckeye. Anyway, when it is cold enough, I use just a tiny little bit of paraffin, but if it is warmer I increase the paraffin and that helps to keep the chocolate solid at room temperature. Another option would be to use “candy coating” instead since that is designed for just this application (of course, make your own decision if you want to use something like that or not…) personally, I have no problem simply adding paraffin to the chocolate. Paraffin also makes the chocolate stay slightly glossy and beautiful.

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