These Dark Chocolate Marcona Almond Butter Cups are indulgent little bites of heaven. They’re topped with superfood ingredients and are vegan, gluten free and refined sugar free.
Hole-y moly, I’ve been buried up to my earlobes in donuts. Time for a little life update, so if you’re just here for the recipe feel free to skip ahead!
If you don’t already know, my husband just opened up a gourmet donut shop here in Santa Barbara called Hook & Press!! It’s the first donut shop of its kind in this area, and countless people have told us this was something that was missing from this town. We opened last Wednesday, and with no advertising other than some consistent posting on Instagram in the weeks leading up to opening day, we experienced a crazy line out the door and two-hour sellouts each day.
I’ve been pitching in wherever I can and pulling crazy bakers hours (while still running my own business) because we were NOT expecting that level of volume so soon! We are so overwhelmed with all the feels and are so grateful to our community for supporting us on this new business venture. Basically I’m crying all the happy tears that Santa Barbara is nuts for donuts, because it means my husband gets to live his dream instead of slaving away in a mortgage office that was slowly killing his spirit.
Unfortunately all the bustle from the launch didn’t leave much time for getting up a new recipe, which bummed me out because I have been DYING to share these Dark Chocolate Marcona Almond Butter Cups with you. But today is Tuesday, and the shop is closed on Tuesdays, so after getting more than 5 hours of sleep for the first time in a week, THIS IS HAPPENING.
So let’s talk about how these Dark Chocolate Marcona Almond Butter Cups are going to be your new favorite superfood sweet treat. I made these for a client recently and immediately knew I was going to be sharing these indulgent bites of heaven with you- they were too pretty and delicious not to!
These are a little bit like your typical chocolate peanut butter cups, but with a few elevated and nourishing swaps. First of all, a mixture of heart healthy dark chocolate and mood elevating cacao are used in place of milk chocolate. It’s lightly sweetened with a touch of maple syrup and there’s also a bit of coconut oil in the mix.
Next, instead of peanut butter or even plain old almond butter, I used marcona almonds to make an out of this world almond butter. And lastly, these chocolate cups are topped with some antioxidant rich superfood stars: pumpkin seeds and freeze dried raspberries.
What are marcona almonds?
Marcona almonds originated in Spain; they’re a sweeter, gourmet type of almond and their texture is closer to that of a macadamia nut. They are also rounder and plumper than the more typical California almond we usually buy at the grocery store. Most often you will find them blanched and skins removed, then toasted with olive oil and seasoned generously with salt.
I used marcona almonds to make almond butter for these Dark Chocolate Marcona Almond Butter Cups to give them a gourmet vibe, and luckily, it’s just as easy to make almond butter with marcona almonds as it is with regular almonds!
What to do with leftover marcona almond butter:
The marcona almond butter recipe below will leave you with some leftover almond butter after you make the chocolate cups, only because you’ll need enough volume in the blender or food processor for it to run smoothly. Here are some ideas for ways to use up the rest:
- Make a double (or triple) batch of chocolate cups to keep in the freezer or give as gifts.
- Spread some on a piece of toast or a rice cake and top with your favorite jam.
- Use it to make energy balls.
- Add some to a smoothie for an extra plant-based protein boost.
- Use it to make a savory sauce for soba noodles or dipping veggies.
Variations on these Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
- If you can’t find cacao, simply substitute additional chocolate or any chocolate of your choice.
- If you can’t find marcona almonds, you can fill these with your favorite homemade or store bought nut or seed butter.
- Instead of pumpkin seeds and raspberries, try topping them with other fun superfoods, like goji berries, hemp seeds, or Himalayan pink salt, to name a few.
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If you make these Dark Chocolate Marcona Almond Butter Cups,
don’t forget to share it using the hashtag #LePetitEats!
Dark Chocolate Marcona Almond Butter Cups
FOR THE MARCONA ALMOND BUTTER:
- 1 1/2 cups marcona almonds
- 1-2 tablespoons sunflower seed oil or other neutral vegetable oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CUPS:
- 3 ounces unsweetened dark chocolate
- 3 ounces cacao chips or chopped cacao
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1-2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon freeze dried raspberries
To make the almond butter, add almonds to a food processor or high speed blender and blend until until the almonds begin to break down and resemble butter. This will take some time, around 15-20 minutes depending on the power of your machine. Scrape the sides of the container with a spatula as necessary. Add the oil, 1 tablespoon at a time, if needed to help break down the nuts and achieve a smooth texture.
Once mixture resembles the soft, smooth texture of butter, add the salt and maple syrup. Blend again to combine.
Once the mixture resembles the soft, smooth texture of butter, add the salt and maple syrup. Blend again to combine.
Line a mini muffin tin with 12-14 paper liners and set aside. In a double boiler set over low heat, melt the dark chocolate and cacao, stirring occasionally. Once melted, stir in the maple syrup and coconut oil. Stir until evenly incorporated.
Using a small paint brush or pastry brush, coat the bottom and sides of a mini muffin liners with the chocolate. Place pan in the freezer for 10 minutes to allow the chocolate to harden, then remove from the freezer.
Scoop a heaping teaspoon of the marcona almond butter into each chocolate-lined nut butter cup or liners, pressing down on it slightly. Carefully pour the remaining chocolate over the nut butter to cover. Sprinkle a couple of pumpkin seeds and small pieces of freeze dried raspberries on top of each cup.
Return the pan to the freezer for about 10 minutes to set. Remove from the pan and serve frozen, chilled or room temperature.