When I was younger, I was a MASSIVE fan of the Baby Sitters Club book series. I used to long for the day when I would be old enough to set up my own baby-sitters club (which never happened – I baby sat once and the baby cried the whole time, and that was the end of my child minding career).
The members of the Baby Sitters Club were my childhood heros, and I wanted to be just like them.I begged my parents for a phone in my room, like Claudia had, but when that didn’t turn out I decided to steal Claudia’s other trait and hid junk food all over my room. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on which way you look at it!) that didnt turn out to well for me either – I could never get my hands on the good stuff, so I’d have half some dried apricots hidden under my favorite teddy bear, and some almonds inside my money box. Sometimes if I were really lucky, they would be chocolate coated. My endeavours fell short of all the exotic treats that were hidden away in Claudia’s room – candy corn, oreos and ho hos; milk duds, gummi worms and ring dings. And peanut butter cups – which I must admit didn’t sound too appetising, but when I found out they were sugary peanut butter centers covered in smooth milky chocolate, I desperately wanted to have some of my own to hide in my room.
My favorite character in the books was Stacey – she was pretty, with long curly blonde locks and she hailed from New York City, which for a kid growing up in a small rural town on the other side of the word was the epitome of sophistication.
A few years ago I spent some time in the US and finally got to try Peanut Butter cups. They were perhaps themost delicious thing I had ever tasted up until that point in my life. (As I mentioned, I had a pretty sheltered upbringing!) Who knew peanut butter and chocolate could taste so good together!? Nowadays, you can buy these in Australia quite easily – they are a tad on the expensive side, but much cheaper than a trip to the States.
Obviously, whilst they taste amazing, Peanut Butter Cups are not the healthiest thing on the planet. Their two main ingredients – chocolate and peanut butter – however are not that unhealthy on their own, so I set out to make a healthier treat inspired by tasty little delights. I took the idea of using chick peas to create a fudgier texture from my Fudgy Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls recipe, along with maple syrup and coconut sugar to sweeten them. The result? They taste a little like healthy peanut butter blondies with a rich chocolate filling – if like me you are a fan of the chocolate/peanut butter combo, you definitely want to try these!
UPDATE JULY 2015: Having made these a few times since the original attempt, I’ve used other white beans in the filling which also work well (white butter beans are my favorite). I’ve also been adding a table spoon or two of peanut butter swirled through the topping – heaven!
- ⅔ cup natural peanut butter
- ⅔ cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
- ½ cup almond meal
- 4 medjool dates
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- 3 Tbsp cacao
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp maple syrup
- Himalayan rock salt, to serve
- Preheat oven to 180C || 355F
- Add all of the ingredients for the filling to a food processor and processed until combined.
- Pour the filling into a lined slice tray and use a spatula to smooth out. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
- In the meantime, add the topping ingredients to a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted and combined.
- Pour the topping over the slice and spread out evenly. Sprinkle with the rock salt. Allow to cool completely before cutting into small squares/bars.