Better-than Reese's

This is article is about making Diabetic Friendly/Low Glycemic/Low Carb:

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cups.

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But first, let me say some things.... This is another article, and pictorial, by me. Bro. Ryan, explaining how our household makes Diabetic Friendly/Low Carb Sweet Treats. I will not repeat my opinion about the use and ingestion of artificial sweeteners, instead I will refer you to a previous article I wrote (about making sweet cinnamon mixed nuts) in which I gave my thoughts on the use, and eating of "fake sugar" as opposed to real white processed sugar (here is the link). * In brief: Artificial Sweeteners are not good for you, but it is my opinion that (in moderation) they are better for you than (the very addictive) white processed sugar.

reeses-cups

If you're like me you have one, two, or a dozen, favorite sweet treats that are MANUFACTURED by the (and I use the next word lightly...) "Food" ....INDU$TRY. NONE of the so-called "Foods" that come out of the mega "Food" Corporations' "Food" FACTORIES are really any good for our bodies and health, but the sweets -made with processed white sugar- that are produced by those PLANTS certainly aren't. I, for years had my own favs of the sweet production-produced poisons and they were: donuts (gotta love those pre-packaged pastries), Ding Dongs, Hostess Cup Cakes, Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies and my favorite Little Devil, uh, I mean Debbie product was Peanut Butter Wafers called NUTTY BARS.

I almost believe that my intense enjoyment of the flavor created by the combining of peanut butter and chocolate is rooted in my D.N.A., my very Genetic make up. I love Peanut Butter and I love Chocolate, but the combination of the two is a flavor that can only be described as

AWESOME!!

My other personal favorite FACTORY MANUFACTURED evil sweets are Butterfinger, PEANUT M&M's, and my top, number one favorite: REESE'S PEANUT BUTTER CUPS. But, Reese's is made with white processed sugar, a poison, in more than one way, to our bodies. I have given up all of the above manufactured sweets (except Peanut M&M's, I ain't giving them up, but I have restricted my consumption of them to an occasional bag -I justify them to myself because the peanuts have protein and I am into weight training, so there. I also like Payday Candy Bars, and they also are loaded with protein containing peanuts). Peanut Butter is a common sweet food among the health and fitness community and body building sub-culture. The reason is because of the protein content (of the peanuts) to be honest. Unless you're allergic to peanuts you most likely enjoy "the butter" (as I call it) yourself. There is sugar free peanut butter and there are varieties of "natural" peanut butter to choose from. I love crunchy! Chocolate is supposed to have some good health attributes, like peanuts and peanut butter. It is said to be good for cardiovascular system and to contain antioxidants. It's a good thing Peanut Butter and Chocolate have some healthy goodness to offer because they are ingredients to this recipe.

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The first thing I want you to know about this recipe is we did not come up with it, we only modified it, slightly, which I will explain. The basic recipe can be found here:

http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/desserts/r/pbcups.htm

Here is a photo of our printed copy of the recipe from the above link:  

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in this photo I am using my pen to point to the 2 slight modifications we made to this recipe.

 

The recipe calls for the following ingredients...

5 oz unsweetened chocolate
1/4 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup powdered erythritol
Artificial sweetener equal to 1 cups sugar (concentrated liquid Splenda preferred)
1/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
For the filling:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup almond meal/flour
Artificial sweetener equal to 1 cups sugar (concentrated liquid Splenda preferred)
Dash of salt

We found, after making the cups, the first couple of times, exactly as this recipe says that they turned out a bit dry, and a bit hard. So, we modified the ingredients by adding MORE Peanut Butter (an additional 1/4 cup) and LESS Almond Flour/Meal (1/4 cup less). We, therefore recommend you amend of the above recipe to:

3/4 cup peanut butter

3/4 almond meal/flour

The recipe ingredients need the above modifications, in our opinion, but the actual preparation directions (from the above link) are just fine and are as follows:


1. Heat cream and the rest of ingredients. Turn off heat and add chocolate. If you're melting it in the cream, let stand until chocolate is melted - stir once in awhile. When it is all melted, the mixture will be fairly thick. Adjust sweetener to taste.

2. While the cream is heating and chocolate melting, mix up the filling. If it's too sticky, put a little more almond flour or erythritol into it. You want to be able to form it easily without getting it all over your hands. Adjust sweetness (and possibly salt level) to taste.

3. Put heaping tablespoons or globs of the chocolate the size of a walnut into the mini muffin tin. If it is thick enough you can sort of push out a place in the center and make the chocolate even around the sides. If it isn't yet thick enough for this, don't worry, the peanut butter will push it up the sides.

4. Form the peanut butter into smaller globs/balls. Push them into the chocolate, including pushing the top so it's flat.

5. Chill the whole thing in the refrigerator for half an hour or so.

6. Remove from fridge and run hot water over the bottom of the pan for just a few seconds.

7. Take a thin knife (I use plastic) and insert it at the edge of a cup. You should be able to turn the whole thing a bit - then you know you can easily pop it out. If it doesn't work right away, give it a few seconds so that the heat can penetrate, or it may need another shot of heat.

[ 1 peanut-butter and chocolate serving ("cup") is 2.5 grams of effective carbohydrate plus 2 grams of fiber and 125 calories. The above recipe makes 18 "cups"/pieces]

I am writing this article, not to just share the recipe above (if that was my only goal I would simply just post the link to the basic recipe and be done with it) but to comment on certain aspects of it to help others with minor details about it.

First, we had never heard of erythritol when we first were given the printed out version of this recipe by an aquaintance. We can not tell you how "good" it is for you or how bad it is for you. We just know this recipe calls for it, and that we do use it for this recipe, only. We have not tried it for any other recipe, at this time, and have not tried any other sugar substitute for this recipe.

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We live in a somewhat remote farming area in the Mid-West and our local town, small, does not have any stores that sell erythritol. But, a few minutes searching on the internet for sellers of it and we found it. Here is a good source, and price, for it:

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/now-foods-erythritol-pure-natural-sweetener-1-lb-pwdr

Another product we were not familiar with, until this recipe came into our lives, is almond flour (or meal).

Many of you reading this may of already been familiar with, or already have used this product, but we, being still new, at the time, to Low Glycemic (Low Carb) eating, meal, and treat, preparation, had not.

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Our local town is small, but it does have a Walmart and 2 major chain grocery stores so we were able to locate almond flour -in the "health foods section". Of course you can just order if over the internet as well and here is one source: http://www.bobsredmill.com/almond-meal-flour.html

It comes in a bag, and it is recommended to be stored in the refrigerator. I do not like to store foods, once opened, in packages made of paper or plastic that can not be re-sealed well once opened -because of insect, moisture and spillage threats. So it has always been my common practice to put such items in plastic containers with snap on, or screw on, lids. Used plastic peanut butter jars are great for "recycling" into storage containers. I have many used plastic peanut butter, and other used food jars, "repurposed" as containers for nails, screws, nuts, bolts, washers and other diverse small home workshop materials. Of course I also use them for food items in the kitchen as well. Below is a photo of our peanut butter jar turned almond flour container. I simply cut off the labeling section (front and back) of the original package the almond flour came in and, using clear package tape, affixed it onto the plastic jar. We store this in our frig.

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The almond flour and/or erythritol may or may not be new products to you, but they were to us and we suspect that they have not been heard of by most people new to Low Carb/Sugar Free cooking/eating.

Prior to switching to a Low Carb Lifestyle ("diet" is a term often misunderstood to mean something temporary so I like to use the word "lifestyle" to emphasize that healthy living is a way of life, not a temporary eating program) we simply cooked and ate the way all typical modern Americans do. So many food products, that don't encourage the typical American diet (that is way too high in carbohydrates, and processed ones at that) are not well known by the general populace. Almond Flour/Meal and Erythritol certainly weren't known to us before and when we ask friends and acquaintances if they ever have heard of either of those 2 products most of the time they say they have never heard of either one.

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A couple of non-food items you will need to make these deliciously diabetic friendly peanut-butter and chocolate cups is a "mini cup cake pan". They aren't expensive, nor hard to find. I did not know much about these things before this recipe so I will share a bit of details with you just in case you are baking challenged like myself. There are muffin pans, cup cake pans and mini cup cake pans. You may laugh, but I did not know about this stuff.

pan1

As the above and below photos show -that I took with our pans and rulers- a regular cup cake pan is 2 and 1/2 inches across whereas a mini cup cake pan is 1 and 3/4 across. You learn something new everyday (at least you should seek to) and I found this neat to find out.

pan2

Blow is a photo of a batch (minus one) we made in our mini cup cake pan.

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In the above photo you will notice that ours are made inside of mini cup cake paper cups. That is another minor modification we made to the above recipe -we added the use of paper cups. We found that though the pan is non-stick it still was a bit of pain to get the cups our of the pan. On our second or third time of making these we introduced the paper cups and they work like a charm. When the cups are chilled and ready to be eaten and/or put in a storage container they pull right out with having to use hot water on the bottom of the pan or a knife (as the original direction say in steps #6 and #7) to get them to break loose.

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In the above photo I am holding a mini cup cake paper cup and have both mini and a regular sized cup cake paper cups to show the difference in size (muffin paper cups are of course even larger than regular cup cake paper cups). Again, as with the mini cup cake pan, you may or may not be aware of the existence of these products but you will need them for this recipe. The mini cup cake paper cups, like the pan, are easy to find for purchase.

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I hope you give this recipe a try -with our suggested modifications- we believe you will enjoy them. If you discover ways to improve on this recipe further please comment and share below your ideas below.

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