If you have never made your own chocolate nut butter cups at home, you have to promise me you’ll try it. It’s a fun and easy entry point into candy making—and seriously, who doesn’t love a chocolate nut butter cup? This recipe is a great way to spend a few minutes on a fall weekend afternoon!
These chocolate nut butter cups are made without refined sugar or gluten. Depending on the chocolate you choose to use, they can be completely dairy-free and paleo. I use cashew butter here because I love its mild flavor and creaminess, but you can easily swap in sunbutter if you’re looking to make a nut-free treat. Removing all those allergens makes these cups a great treat for a crowd of mixed dietary preferences! In fact, I’m packaging these up to donate to our school’s fall bake sale this year.
What goes into these Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups?
This recipe clocks in at just six ingredients: dark chocolate, cashew butter, pumpkin pie spice, salt, honey, and vanilla extract.
Pumpkin spice and dark chocolate: a match made in fall heaven
I used to be hesitant to mix classic pumpkin spice with chocolate because the chocolate always seemed to overpower the flavor of the pumpkin spice. A few years ago, I finally landed on the key to a great pumpkin spice and chocolate combo—don’t go too dark with your chocolate! I love a deep, rich, dark chocolate bar, but here, that bitterness can quickly overpower the mild-mannered pumpkin spice. I like to opt for chocolate with slightly lower cacao percentages here. I found a 70% bar worked perfectly to balance the flavors.
Tempering chocolate—AKA: a fancy word for a super easy task!
Many homemade chocolate nut butter cup recipes out there call for coconut oil (kinda like my coconut oil fudge), which is healthy, tasty, and gives you a great texture, but it requires the chocolate nut butter cup to be chilled to be solid. I wanted a chocolate nut butter cup that would hold up at room temperature, so out with the coconut oil and in with tempered chocolate.
Tempering chocolate sounds fancy, but it’s really just a (ever so slightly) more complicated method for melting the chocolate so it is a good texture at room temperature. True candy-making professionals temper chocolate using a thermometer, but since we’re all home cooks here, I prefer a thermometer-free method. It’s as simple as melting 2/3 of the chocolate over low heat in a double boiler, and then removing it from the heat, adding in the remaining chocolate, and stirring until it is melted. Voila, tempered chocolate!
Cashew butter is queen in these chocolate nut butter cups!
You could honestly use whatever nut butter (or sunbutter) makes your heart happy here, as long as it is free from added sugar. But I really love cashew butter in these chocolate nut butter cups! The cashew butter has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the pumpkin spice—which is a problem I had when I tested this recipe with peanut butter—and the creamy texture is thick enough to hold up when you bite into it, without being so hard that you feel like you bit into cement. You can purchase cashew butter or make your own at home.
To buy or to make your own pumpkin pie spice? It’s up to you.
And that’s the same story with pumpkin pie spice. Most major grocery stores carry pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice blends right in their spice aisle, but you can also whip up your own batch. Make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing together 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Feel free to tweak those amounts to suit your personal preferences.
Thinking of swapping out the honey in these chocolate nut butter cups? Proceed with caution!
I know some of you are thinking, I can make these vegan if I swap out the honey for maple syrup! And yes, you are right, that would make these chocolate nut butter cups vegan, but you might not be happy with the results! Maple syrup has a high water content, which can lead nut butters to seize up when mixed together. If you want to use maple syrup, add it in at the very end of stirring the cashew butter mixture, and only mix as much as you need to get it just incorporated. It still might seize up a bit, but the taste and texture will be fine in the finished nut butter cup—just don’t overmix! I haven’t tried it, but you might have better luck with brown rice syrup or molasses (although the latter will make your filling much darker in color).
Ready to make Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups? Let’s get started.
You’ll find these chocolate nut butter cups are a breeze to make. Check out the full recipe and tutorial video below and get to melting. Enjoy!