These chocolate almond butter and jelly cups are a no bake, healthy, sweet treat that is totally reminiscent of your favorite school time sandwich!
I recently had a conversation with a colleague about Lunchables. Remember those? They illicit a very particular feeling of gratefulness in me that it’s taken until now to really unpack. I think it’s because I knew they were a treat which was exciting, but also a tad ridiculous. Like, even at the age of six I understood that you could buy cheese, deli meats, and crackers all separately and that having them pre-packaged together seemed a little over the top.
But as a kid who loved novelty I wasn’t about to STOP my mom from buying them. So every once in a while I’d open my lunch bag and to my delight there would be a Lunchable – crunchy crackers, day-glo orange cheese, and faintly slimy, sodium packed turkey (or ham) all waiting to be stacked and consumed.
But what about the days that weren’t filled with choose your own adventure, lunchtime treats? Well those were PB and J days my friends. And to be honest I hated them. Mostly this was due to my childhood dislike of peanut butter (I know, I was weird, I’m better now). But even now it’s hard for me to get on board with your standard peanut butter and jelly situation. Why? Well I’m so glad you asked. Rant in 3…2…1…
They’re soggy, they’re too sweet, if the bread is fluffy and soft it takes on this off puttingly slimy texture as it sits, or if it’s pretty sturdy to begin with, it oddly makes the thing so dry you can barely choke it down. And yet, day after non-lunchable day, there it would be, sticky on the inside of the sandwich bag in all its glory.
Now to be fair to one of the classic sandwiches of my youth, I have had PB and J’s that are worthy of praise. But what did those greatest hits have in common? They weren’t school lunch. They were all consumed within mere minutes of making them, and therein lies the issue. PB and J’s weren’t meant to sit for hours before enjoying. They were meant to be chowed down on right then and there.
Lunchables, for all of their silly, sodium filled, environmentally unfriendly packaging woes, did get one thing right. Assembling a sandwich and then letting it sit for hours in a pile of smushed lunch bags is not the path to culinary enlightment.
I guess now we don’t send our kids to school with PB and J anymore though, right? Nut allergies are a thing and all that. But we should still have a way to enjoy the flavors of our childhood without the soggy mess – at least I think so.
Chocolate Almond Butter and Jelly Cups
That’s where these little darlings come in. All the nutty, jammy goodness neatly wrapped up in a shiny, dark chocolate shell. I mean if that’s not a glow up, I don’t know what is.
I took some liberties here, given that it’s 2019 and we’re all adults now (although kids would probably hoover down a number of these, no problem) and subbed in almond butter for peanut. I also added a little bit of ground oat flour for texture and who doesn’t love some fiber in their sweet treat?
But substitutions aside these little cups are filled with school yard nostalgia that I’m sure will bring you back to those cafeteria days of trading lunches, swapping stories, and trying your damnedest to get that little straw to stab the Capri Sun pouch at juuuuuuuust the right angle (why did they make that so hard?).
How to make chocolate almond butter and jelly cups
This is super simple, so feel free to skip on down to the recipe and have at it. But if you need some deets to feel extra secure, read on my friend.
Choosing your chocolate
Since more than half of this recipe is just pure, melted chocolate (you’re swooning, right?), you need to make sure it’s chocolate you actually like. I go for a moderately dark chocolate myself, because I think it gives you the best balance of flavors without being too sweet, but if creamy, milk chocolate is more your jam, feel free. I’d avoid anything with more than 75% cacao as it might seize up on you while melting, though.
I’ve found that chocolate chips (because they have some built in stabilizers) tend to do better here than your standard bar chocolate. I tried it with both, and both were successful, but I think the chips set up a little easier.
Making the almond butter mixture
Firstly, you can use any nut or seed butter you like – it will all work out the same. Also, in lieu of ground oats you could use almond or coconut flour. Just make sure you bind it with something, as it makes it much easier to handle, and gives the finished product a much better texture.
The texture of this stuff should be moist without being sticky, and should be easy to roll into balls and then flattened into discs. If you’re having a hard time with the given amounts (perhaps your almond butter is stickier than mine for instance) feel free to add more ground oats, or more almond butter until you get to the correct texture.
What’s your jam?
Technically I used jam here, and not jelly, but much like the nut butter you choose, the jelly/jam is also entirely up to you. My only word to the wise on jamming out is that you pick something that goes well with chocolate (so pretty much anything) and that you dollop sparingly – too much jam can get real messy real fast.
Tips for assembling your almond butter and jelly cups
- If your chocolate is starting to set up before assembly, give it a quick zap in the microwave to loosen things up.
- Use paper cupcake liners, or else things will become very complicated
- To evenly distribute your chocolate make sure to tap the muffin tin down on the counter firmly. This will spread the chocolate to the edges of your liners.
- Because the almond butter has been chilled the top layer of chocolate will set up much faster than the first so you’ll need to make sure each chocolate layer is evenly spread out by tapping the tin on the counter before moving on to the next one.
- Let the assembled cups chill in the freezer for at least 20 minutes, and ideally an hour, before popping out and serving.
Serving your almond butter and jelly cups
We keep our chocolate in the freezer. I learned this from a good friend of mine, many years ago. She always had a stash of peanut M&M’s hidden away in the freezer, which I thought was just a way of keeping them out of her field of immediate vision. But one day she explained to me that they’re much better when frosty cold…and I’ve never looked back.
That was a long story to say that we keep ours in the freezer and I recommend you do too. But if you’d rather you can also store these in the fridge. They will stay solid at room temperature as well, but will begin to melt as soon they make contact with your hot, little hands, so just be aware.
Speaking of melty chocolate, I usually don’t remove these from their paper liners before serving (which obviously is in direct conflict with these photos). But I like the ritual of unwrapping each one myself, and it gives you a neat little paper holder which keeps things much tidier.
So if you make these, I hope they bring you back to a simpler time, when the most exciting part of the day was seeing what kind of goodies were stashed away in your lunch bag and how fast you could eat them so you could skip straight to recess.
Need more chocolatey treats?
- Chocolate Cashew Butter
- Slice and Bake Chocolate Shortbread
- Espresso Brownie Cookies
- Mexican Chocolate Overnight Oats
Chocolate Almond Butter Jelly Cups
These chocolate almond butter and jelly cups are the perfect vegan, gluten free, sweet treat that will take you back to childhood.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes (plus chilling time)
- Cook Time: 0 Minutes
- Total Time: 15 minutes
- Yield: 12 cups 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: No bake
- Cuisine: American
12 oz dark chocolate chips
2 T coconut oil
1/4 C gluten free rolled oats
1/3 C creamy almond butter
1 T maple syrup
pinch of salt
1/4 C raspberry jam
Line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners. Set aside.
Place chocolate chips and coconut milk in a medium bowl. Melt in the microwave in 20 second bursts, stirring in between each interval, until completely melted. Set aside.
Grind oats in a blender or food processor until very fine. Transfer to a small bowl and combine with almond butter, maple syrup, and salt. Stir until a thick mixture forms. Take heaping teaspoonfuls of the almond butter mixture and flatten into disks, about an inch and a half in diameter. Set on a parchment lined baking sheet. Use your finger to make a small indentation in the center of each almond butter disc. Spoon a very small dollop of jam into each indentation. Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer to chill for ten minutes.
While the almond butter discs are chilling, spoon about two teaspoons (or enough to coat the bottom) of melted chocolate into each cupcake liner. Tap the muffin tin on the counter firmly to help distribute the chocolate into one even layer.
Take each almond butter disc and invert it, jelly side down, onto the melted chocolate. Press down gently to adhere. Then top each almond butter disc with more melted chocolate – enough to completely coat (about a tablespoon). Tap the muffin tin on the counter after topping each one, to distribute the chocolate evenly before it sets.
Transfer to the freezer to firm up – at least 20 minutes. Serve chilled.
Feel free to sub in any nut butter (or sun butter) for the almond butter here, as well as any jelly or jam you’d prefer.
When adding the final layer of chocolate, make sure to tap the muffin tin against the counter after topping each one (not after you’ve added chocolate to the entire dozen) to distribute the chocolate evenly before it sets.
I like to eat these straight from the freezer, and usually just keep them in their paper liners to keep everything tidy. But feel free to carefully peel off the liners and store them in the fridge for up to a week and the freezer for up to two months.
Keywords: chocolate almond butter cups, almond butter and jelly cups, homemade candy, homemade peanut butter cups, vegan almond butter cups, gluten free almond butter cups