Autumnal Nut Butter Cups

24 candies
45 min

Few candies are as delicious to me as a classic peanut butter cup. The combination of chocolate and creamy nut butter is both indulgent without being overly sweet. What's even better when craving something indulgent are homemade peanut butter cups. I decided to kick things up a notch with a twist on this delightful classic and incorporate homemade pecan butter with a little pumpkin spice to make a treat that is both perfect for fall, but enjoyed throughout the year.


Though this is not healthy, I do like to remember that balance is key - and when the mood strikes - a little treat is "ok." Not to mention, you can easily cut down on additives and preservatives in this recipe by making your own nut butter in the food processor or high-powered blender, and be mindful of the brands you select for the remaining ingredients.


A few substitutions that make these a little better:


  • No butter - pecan oil (a healthier substitute) is used instead.
  • Homemade ingredients wherever possible - pecan butter and homemade pumpkin spice, for example.


I know these are going to be a candy your entire family enjoys, and I can't wait to whip up a batch together!


Learn more about this recipe and discover new meals at Inspired Epicurean.

Pecan flavor has a unique, rich taste that imparts a great flavor in these cups. There is a little more depth of flavor with homemade pecan butter, in my opinion, but any nut or peanut butter will suffice.


Recipe details
  • 24  candies
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 30 Minutes Total time: 45 min
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Ingredients
Homemade Pecan Butter
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pecan halves (my preference is Mammoth pecan halves)
  • Pinch kosher salt
Autumnal Nut Butter Cups
  • 14 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pecan butter (incorporate any oil separation back into the butter)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1 1/4 tbsp pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tbsp pecan oil (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • pinch coarse sea salt for sprinkling over the finished product
Instructions
Homemade Pecan Butter
To dry roast the pecans and unlock more flavor, place a skillet over medium heat and add pecan halves. Roast for about 5 minutes, moving periodically to prevent burning.
Add roasted pecans and salt to food processor. Grind for about 15 - 20 minutes, pausing periodically to push down the butter from the sides and re-incorporating into the bowl. Process until you have reached the desired consistency - creamy, or a little more sturdy. Creamy pecan butter will take longer to achieve.
Autumnal Nut Butter Cups
Over a double broiler, melt 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, stirring constantly to prevent the chocolate from seizing. If you elect to use a microwave, cook for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat until all chocolate has melted.
Line a mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.
Choose a small cooking utensil - like a 1/2 tsp measuring scoop - and gently add melted chocolate to the bottom of each muffin cup. If needed, flatten the chocolate using the back of the utensil. The desired thickness is about 1/8 inch, covering the bottom of the cup. Allow to "set" by placing in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
While the chocolate cups complete their first round of cooling, combine the nut butter of your choice, pumpkin, confectioner's sugar, pumpkin spice, pure vanilla extract, salt, and pecan oil (if using), in a bowl until evenly combined. Scoop mixture into a plastic bag (or reusable piping bag, if available) and remove all air before closing.
If using a plastic bag, cut a small hole in the bottom corner of the bag. Remove the chocolate from the refrigerator and pipe about 1 - 1 1/2 tsp of the nut butter pumpkin filling into each cup. Flatten with the back of a teaspoon (or slightly wet finger) until the mixture is shaped like a disc. Each "disc" should have a flat top and rounded edges. Don't allow it to touch the side of the liners.
Now, melt the rest of your chocolate. Once smooth, use a small utensil to scoop it over the filling until it drips down the sides and completely covers the top. No filling should be visible, and the cups should look like traditional peanut butter cups. If you'd like, top each cup with a little course sea salt and allow to "set" in the refrigerator for a second time (about 30 minutes) before serving.
Tips
  • Any nut butter of your choice (or peanut butter) should work well in this recipe. I think pecan butter adds a particularly unique flavor, but feel free to use what you have on hand.
Melanie Lorick
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