A hard chocolate exterior and a luscious, creamy peanut butter interior is undoubtedly one of the best dessert pairings out there. For as long as anyone can remember, Reese’s dominated the peanut-butter cup game, but Food52 came up with a recipe that offers room to customize (and avoid suspect ingredients).

Make your peanut butter cups vegan by using vegan sugar, dairy-free chocolate, and coconut oil (instead of butter); or switch up dark chocolate for milk chocolate and sprinkle the top with cayenne instead of classic sea salt.

Creamy Salted Peanut-Butter Cups

Makes around 4 dozen 


  • 1 cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt (or more, to taste; try using Sichuan salt)
  • 32 ounces high-quality chocolate (use milk chocolate if you’d like to truly mimic the classic flavor)


1. Mix together peanut butter, butter, sugars, and salt in a bowl. Taste, then add more salt if needed. peanut1

2. Roughly chop chocolate, then melt it in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat on the stove top (or in 30-second increments in the microwave, stirring in between) until smooth. Transfer half to a heatproof measuring cup.


3. Arrange mini cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet. Pour just enough chocolate in to fill the bottom of the wrapper about 1/8 of an inch. Gently lift and drop the tray once or twice to flatten out the chocolate, then place in the fridge for 10 minutes. peanut2


4. While the chocolate is chilling, begin shaping heaping teaspoons of peanut butter filling into discs about the diameter of a quarter and setting them aside on parchment paper. Remove the chilled chocolate from the fridge, then place each peanut butter disc into a cupcake wrapper.

5. Transfer the remaining chocolate to your heatproof measuring cup. (If it isn’t as warm/pourable as you’d like, reheat it for a moment or two on the stove top, or for 10–15 seconds in the microwave.) Pour into cupcake wrappers until peanut butter discs are just covered. Once you’ve covered all of them, gently lift and drop the tray again to even out the chocolate, then add more to the wrappers as needed.

6. Sprinkle the tops with a little extra coarse sea salt if you like, then place the tray in the fridge for 30 minutes. Eat them straight from the fridge (if you’re a chilled chocolate gal/guy, like me), or let them soften up for about 5 minutes at room temperature.


This article and recipe originally appeared on Food52

RELATED: 10 Crazy Peanut Butter and Jelly Riffs

RELATED: 10 Genius Uses of Peanut Butter