Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cups with Sea Salt – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

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Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

Ever since I made these dark chocolate coconut treats about a month or so ago, I have been a little obsessed with making simple little chocolate treats at home. On Easter, since we really don’t keep many sweets at home and we didn’t do the Easter basket thing, I was craving chocolate treats and decided to make some dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I didn’t take any photos since they weren’t totally perfect and I also decided I wanted to buy a mini-muffin tin so I could make smaller cups. The full size muffin cups are nice, but it is way more chocolate than what I need. I also thought it would be nice to make them with almond butter instead of peanut butter since I am so obsessed with it. Any nut or seed butter would work here, so play around. You will also see in my notes below that if you don’t wish to sweeten your own dark chocolate, you can simply just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips. I prefer to start with a good quality organic unsweetened dark chocolate something in the range of 70 – 100%, and then sweetened to my own liking since I like my dark chocolate to be subtly sweet. You may find that my measurements are too low and you want more sweetness. Go for it. Or skip sweetening it yourself and buy premade chocolate. Whatever you’d like.

Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

I make these in a non-stick mini-muffin pan, like this one. You could definitely use a candy mold, a full sized  muffin tray or maybe even a larger ice-cube tray. If you’d like, you can also line your muffin pan with paper liners. I didn’t happen to have any, so I went without, and very lightly greased my pan with some coconut oil, to be sure they wouldn’t stick. They likely wouldn’t have stuck, but I wanted to be sure of it.

Some of you may be wondering why I included the chia seeds in the almond butter filling or if you could use flax seed meal instead. I decided to include it because besides LOVING chia seeds, I had some leftover ground up chia sees on hand after making these delicious tortilla wraps from The Spunky Coconut, over the weekend. I thought it would help bind together the filling so it wouldn’t be too runny and I also thought it was a nice way to add some of the lovely benefits that chia seeds have to offer. You can read more about all of those lovely benefits here in this post from Lexie’s Kitchen. Feel free to use ground flax seeds instead or to skip it all together. It isn’t a necessity in the recipe.

As far as the sea salt goes, I really adore the flavor combination of dark chocolate with sea salt, so I try to squeeze it into my life whenever humanly possible. It may actually be one of my all time favorite things. If you aren’t a fan of the luscious salty/sweet combo, leave off the salt. You could also press a single almond or some almond slices into each one.  Have fun.

What is your favorite flavor combination when it comes to sweets? 

Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cup with Sea Salt, Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free

[print_this]Dark Chocolate, Almond Butter Mini-Cups with Sea Salt – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-free
makes 12 mini-cups

Dark Chocolate Outside:

  • 8-9 ounces of dairy-free, dark chocolate – (I used this unsweetened dark chocolate and sweetened it myself, as you can see below. If you use semi-sweet chocolate or chocolate chips you can skip the coconut oil and the sweeteners below.)

(optional if using unsweetened chocolate)

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup*

Almond Butter Inside:


  • 1/2 cup chilled organic unsalted almond butter (or any other nut butter or seed butter of your choice)
  • 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds (you can just grind whole chia seeds in a coffee grinder or Magic Bullet)
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • a pinch of fine grain sea salt

For Topping:

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon course grey sea salt (you can also try smoked sea salt)

Using a little coconut oil on some wax paper or a paper towel, very lightly grease a non-stick mini-muffin pan. (the muffin tin may not need to be greased, but since I didn’t use any paper liners, I didn’t want to risk the candies sticking.) You could also use a silicon candy mold. Set the pan aside. Melt the dark chocolate with the coconut oil (or your chocolate chips), either very carefully in a double boiler setup on the stove top or in small increments in the microwave. After the chocolate and coconut oil is melted, whisked together and well combined, remove from the heat (if you melted it on the stove), and add in the maple syrup. Stir well to combine. Give the chocolate topping a little taste to see if you want it any sweeter. Add more syrup, if you wish.

Using about half of the melted chocolate, add a little bit to each cup of your mini-muffin tin. Probably about a teaspoon or so to start. Grabbing either side of the tin, swirl the pan around to start moving the chocolate up the sides of each cup. Try to get it all the way up if you can. You can also use a pastry brush or spoon to push it up the sides, but I find just swirling it around works best. You can also line each cup with a paper mini-muffin liner and just paint the melted chocolate up the sides. Once it is evenly up the sides, you can add a little more chocolate to make sure that the bottom is covered, just don’t add too much, you need to save room for the filling and top.

Place the muffin tin into the freezer to allow the chocolate to set. Meanwhile, start making your filling. Add the almond butter, ground chia seeds, maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt to a small bowl. Mix very well to combine and allow it to sit about 5 to 10 minutes while the chocolate sets up in the freezer.

Once the chocolate has hardened, pull the muffin tin out of the freezer and add about 1 teaspoon of almond butter filling to each cup. Then take the remaining melted chocolate and spread it over top of the almond butter. I find using the back of a spoon is the easiest to give it a nice smooth surface. And if you are adding the sea salt on top, sprinkle a few pieces on top of each cup. Place the muffin tin back into the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden. This will probably only take about 30-minutes, total.
Once hardened, remove the muffin tin from the freezer and carefully pop or slide each chocolate mini-cup from the tin. Should happen very easily. Store these in the fridge or they will get pretty soft and melted.

* NOTE about sweeteners: You can use whatever sweetener of your choice and as much as you would like. Traditional sugar will obviously work if that’s your thing, as would honey or other sugar alternatives. Use what you like. Everyone likes their chocolate at different sweetness levels. I prefer mine not too overly sweet. As mentioned above, you could also just melt semi-sweet chocolate chips that are already sweetened and skip adding your own sweetener and coconut oil. Same goes for sweetness in the almond butter filling.


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23 Responses

  1. Yummy! Love these little cups. My favorite? Good ol’ pb and chocolate!!

  2. This looks great. I too have an obsession called chocolate + unrefined salt! I actually like chocolate in any shape or form (but it’s not my favorite with peanut butter for some reason). I’ll definitely have to try this soon! I’m sharing on FB and pinning 🙂 Take care!

    • tastyyummies says:

      What is it about chocolate and salt that is so good together. I first discovered it a long long time ago when I tried a chocolate covered pretzel. I was hooked ever since! Thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Lou says:

    It’s a hard one to call, as I LOVE the chocolate/almond butter combo… but hazelnut + chocolate is pretty dreamy. Salt makes everything better, particularly chocolate, these look fantastic – I love your plate 🙂

  4. OMG, more tasty yummies! Your blog is living up to its name, dear! I think using coconut oil to grease the muffin cups is smart because you would not want these heavenly treats to stick in any way. Complete, they are perfection!


  5. fromscratchtoplate says:

    Hi! I love your blog, so I have nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. http://fromscratchtoplate.com/2012/04/18/this-is-all-new-to-me/

  6. […] was in need for chocolate this evening and remembered I’d found a recipe at Tasty Yummies which I’d been meaning to try […]

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  8. I seriously don’t think you can get any better than this recipe! You’ve done a great job with this one. Thanks for sharing this week at Allergy-Free Wednesdays! As always, hope to see you back again next week.

    Have a good weekend!
    ~Michelle, AFW Hostess

  9. Oops…I forgot to remind you to link back to the blog hop so that you can be eligible for a hostess or reader favorite next week. I’m sure your recipe will be strong in the running. Thanks!

    • tastyyummies says:

      Oh poop, so glad you reminded me. I’ hate when I forget that. Sorry. I’ll post the image tomorrow when I’m at my desktop. Thank you again!

  10. […] chocolate is a major weakness. However, in the name of health and culinary refinement I think these Dark Chocolate Almond Butter cups could steal my […]

  11. Laura says:

    Sprouted kitchen took your idea!!

  12. Tara says:

    Hi Beth!

    Your recipe was what pretty much what I was aiming for but I had not discovered it until after I attempted to temper my chocolate. I used two 70 % organic chocolate bars 100 g each ( total of 7.1 ounces) . I made a chocolate almond mixture but it is still kept aside, and I may be able to use it like a Nutella spread. I was worried that my tempering would not succeed since many bloggers online were adamant that a thermometer was necessary, so I figured I would just try to make the bottoms of cups. I ended up spreading the chocolate to plastic eggs containers as well; so I used a total of 12 small muffin tin molds and 12 plastic molds. I managed to pop out the chocolate from the plastic molds with some difficulty and by bending the plastic but no luck with the metal pan! Some people had said to avoid freezing so the chocolate doesn’t bloom (get sugar crystals on the surface) but that happened anyways outside of the fridge and got worse when I tryed to cool the chocolate in the fridge for 5-10 minutes. So now I am trying 30 minutes in the freezer hoping the chocolate will retract from the pan and pop out….

    I am wondering how did you succeeded so easily without tempering and didn’t get the “bloom” issue….Was the secret to add coconut oil to the chocolate? How can you tell if the chocolate seized from the humidity when double boiling?

    BTW this was my first attempt at making my own chocolates- and i can’t afford to let too much go to waste…. What do you think of muffin paper as molds inside the muffin tins, how hard is it to peel off?

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  14. […] 1. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups…Continue Reading […]

  15. […] Sweet Treats. These look and sound delicious. I’m thinking of whipping these up during a much-needed study break. […]

  16. Erin Lichtman says:

    Soooo what if I can’t get them out of the non stick pan that I even coated lightly with coconut oil & left in the freezer for an hour? Any tips or tricks to get them out all in one piece? Grrrrrrr! Thanks in advance!

    • tastyyummies says:

      Hey Erin, hmmm. Maybe let them come to room temperature for a few minutes before you pop them out? If they are totally frozen that should definitely help get them out. I have never had a problem of them sticking and I have made them several times, so I wish I could offer more advice.

  17. Eileen says:

    Tried to make these this morning… Melted the unsweetened ghirardelli chocolate and coconut oil and mixed it thoroughly – it looked beautiful! Added the organic maple syrup, started stirring and the entire thing seized becoming a huge thick chocolate mess that couldn’t be stirred!
    I followed the directions step by step…. . Were some instructions left out?

  18. Deirdre says:

    What is the Nutritionals for this?

    • Beth @ Tasty Yummies says:

      I don’t figure those out for the site. There are many free websites where you can plug the ingredients in and very quickly configure this information yourself.

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