Peanut Butter Brownie Cups have a thick, fudgy brownie base, a layer of a sweet and creamy peanut butter filling (click here for my homemade peanut butter recipe), then they're completely covered in a layer of dark chocolate, and sprinkled with sea salt flakes.
Peanut Butter Brownie Cups
These peanut butter brownie cups are the perfect storm. They're an explosion of dark chocolate and peanut butter with a fudge brownie base and a dark chocolate shell. The sea salt flakes are a flavor enhancing finisher and pull together the salty/sweet qualities of this dessert. Because that's just what this is, a dessert. It's not candy. It's not a Reese's dupe, the textures are totally different. My husband says it's a "cousin of the Reese's cup, but so much more." So basically, they're the very "extra" cousin of the Reese's cup that you can top them with ice cream and chocolate syrup.
Chewy Boxed Brownies
The first thing you need to do is make your brownie base. This is the most time consuming part of this recipe. You do not need to make your brownie base from scratch. Pick your favorite box brownie mix and be ready to "doctor it up." I love using Ghirardelli brownie mix or Pillsbury fudge brownies mix (specifically the one that says "family size" on the box).
Boxed Brownie Modifications
- First, ignore the water measurement printed on the box. You need to only add 1 tablespoon of water.
- Second, add a tablespoon of instant espresso powder to the mix. The espresso powder complements the chocolate, and it enriches the chocolaty flavor.
- After they've baked, break up the brownies and throw them in a food processor to really break them up. Pulse the food processor a few times until the brownies almost seem pureed.
- Last, roll the blended brownies into a log shape and wrap in Saran wrap. Chill in the refrigerator while you prep the rest of the recipe. Rolling them into a log makes it much easier to size them evenly and place them in the liner cups.
Peanut Butter Filling
While the brownie log is chilling, make the peanut butter filling. The peanut butter filling is a mix of super creamy peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and powdered sugar. Some peanut butters are creamier than others. If yours is extra creamy, chilling it in the refrigerator will make it easier to scoop; or use two spoons to ladle it like batter on top of the brownie base. Either method works very well. The texture of the peanut butter filling will vary a bit by peanut butter brand and batch. Just keep taste testing to make sure you love the flavor before you move on, and try not to eat the whole bowl of filling.
Dark Chocolate Shell
Now that you've prepped and chilled your brownie log and peanut butter filling, melt about half of the chocolate chips. Melt the chips in 30 second intervals, stirring in between applying heat, and continue until they're fully melted. This dark chocolate is going to be used to coat the cupcake liners. The other half of the chips will be melted after all of the cups are filled with brownie base and peanut butter filling.
Before you spoon the melted chocolate into the liner, widen the cup a bit by pressing your finger around the inside bottom edge of the cup and lightly grease the liner with cooking spray. Then, spoon the melted dark chocolate into the liner and spread around so the whole liner is covered evenly.
Tips for assembling homemade Peanut Butter Cups
Now, you're ready to start putting the peanut butter cups together. Here are a few other pointers that will make this easier:
- Use a muffin pan that will fit in your refrigerator or freezer. Otherwise, use plates that will fit.
- Make sure you lightly grease the liner with cooking spray. This will make it much easier to get the cups out of the liner. Use approximately 1 teaspoon of melted dark chocolate to coat the liner.
- Slice and place your brownie base. Cut the log into 30 evenly sliced discs and press into the bottom of the cup. I only used half the baked batch of brownies in the food processor and that was enough to make 30 peanut butter cups. If you are going to use the full batch of baked brownies, the yield will be about 60 cups and you'll need to increase the peanut butter filling and amount of dark chocolate to coat the liner and top the cups.
Peanut Butter Filling and Dark Chocolate
- Now, scoop in peanut butter butter filling (a small cookie scoop would be helpful). This should be about 1-1 ½ teaspoons of filling for each cup. Tap the pan (or plate) on the counter so the peanut butter filling evens out in each cup.
- Melt the remaining dark chocolate chips (again, in 30 second increments until completely melted) stirring between heat applications. Place ¾ tsp of the melted chocolate on top of each peanut butter cup (or however much it takes to cover the peanut butter layer) and meet the edges of the liner sides. Give the pan a gentle shake to completely cover the top of the peanut butter brownie cup with the melted dark chocolate. Immediately, sprinkle with flaky sea salt (such as Maldon). The sea salt flakes are optional, but really should not be skipped.
- After each cup is filled and topped with chocolate, place the muffin pan or plate in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to set. Remove from the freezer and let the peanut butter cups come to room temperature before serving. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. (I'd love to tell you how long they'll stay good for, but they don't last long in my house. My husband even had them with breakfast so we were cleaned out in under a week ).
What's the best way to store homemade peanut butter cups?
The colder the better! I always keep mine in the refrigerator or the freezer, but they are safe to leave out at room temperature. Just be warned, at room temperature, the chocolate gets a little soft and they're a little mushier to handle. ...lick-the-wrapper-delicious, but mushy at room temp.
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More Chocolate recipes:
click photos for links!
- Vanilla Bean White Chocolate Cheesecake with Fudge Brownie Crust
- Chocolate Chunk Banana Bread
- Chocolate Pecan Cake Mix Cookies
- DoubleTree’s Signature Chocolate Chip Cookie
- Mixed Berry + Chocolate Soufflé
- Healthy Homemade Snickers (Chocolate Stuffed Dates)
Peanut Butter Brownie Cups
- Prepare brownie mix with referenced ingredients but use only 1 tablespoon of water. Add espresso powder to the mix.
- Bake brownies as directed on the box.
- Remove brownies from oven and allow them to cool. Once they are cooled, remove half of the brownies from the pan, break them apart into a food processor and pulse until pureed.
- Scoop brownie puree onto Saran wrap and roll into a log. Cover in Saran wrap. Refrigerate until firm.
- Mix peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and confectioners sugar until well combined.
- Place muffin liners on a plate and press down on the side walls to widen the cups.
- 7. Melt half of the dark chocolate chips in a glass bowl. Apply heat (microwave or double broiler) in 30 second intervals and stir until completely melted.
- Lightly grease each liner with cooking spray. Spoon about 1 teaspoon (or if more is needed) of melted dark chocolate into liner cups. Spread the chocolate around the liner so it is well coated. Move liners to muffin pan.
- Remove the brownie log from the refrigerator and slice into 30 evenly sized discs. Place brownie base discs into the bottom of the liner cups.
- Scoop 1- ½ teaspoons of peanut butter filling onto each brownie base and freeze or refrigerate while you melt the balance of the dark chocolate.
- When chocolate is melted spoon over the top of each cup until peanut butter filling is completely covered.
- Sprinkle with sea salt flakes.
- Place muffin pan in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to set the chocolate and allow it to dry.
- Allow brownie cups to warm to room temperature before serving. Store in a cold, dry environment.