Almost 8 years ago, when I was in Romania, working for an American company, when our colleagues visited us, they brought some typically American sweets, including Reese’s. That was my first interaction with peanut butter cups and with peanut butter in general :). And I hated it!!! (I guess some of you can’t even imagine that someone haven’t tried peanut butter until that age (~25)… but peanut butter was not so popular in Romania back then). Last year, another country (Ireland) but the same American treat, I bumped into Reese’s again, and I gave it another try, and this time I loved it! (One’s taste can change drastically over time).
Now, that I moved in US, I have access to unlimited amounts of Rees’s, and I did buy them at the beginning… until I carefully red all the ingredients and I saw, beside soy and hydrogenated vegetables oil, TBHQ, which is a very toxic preservative that can cause a lot of problems, including cancer.
So, I decided to make my own peanut butter cupcakes… fat bomb version. It’s not hard (see the recipe below).
But now my dilemma was: should I use peanut butter or almond butter???? Actually, should I eat peanut butter at all? Is it healthy?
You may say: – Irina, are you nuts? Of course it’s healthy…
– No, I’m not nuts. I’m legume. (lol, what a lame joke, but if you read further, it may make some sense 🙂 )
But lately, more and more people are advocating for avoiding peanut butter, for various reasons:
- First of all, peanut IS NOT A NUT!!! I know, the name is deceiving, but the peanut is a legume!!!
And one of the problems of legumes in general (like beans, peas, lentils, soybeans etc.) is that they have “phytic acid”. The phytic acid binds to nutrients in foods, preventing them from being absorbed.
- Beside the fact that legumes have phytic acid, they also have a high level of lectins. Lectins are a family of carbohydrate-binding proteins causing a lot of problems in our body, like immune responses (rashes, joint pain and inflammation), flatulence, vomiting, damage of the gut lining and even leaky gut.
You can reduce the level of lectins in food by soaking, sprouting and cooking the legumes at high temperatures, but in the case of peanut, these methods are not very efficient…
Almonds also have lectins, as many other foods, but in smaller quantities comparing with the peanuts.
- Peanuts are on the FODMAP list meaning that they contain a type of carbohydrate called galaco-ligosaccharides that can cause unpleasant digestive problems, especially if you have IBS or similar digestive problems.
- But one of the biggest problems of peanuts is that peanuts are frequently contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin. The peanuts are among the most contaminated crops, along with corn and cottonseed.
Now, some good things about the peanut butter 🙂 …
- If you get an organic peanut butter, which doesn’t have a lot of crap added to it (like soybean oil, sugar and other ingredients), the peanut butter nutritional content vs almond butter nutritional content, is similar.
- The peanut butter has slightly less calories and a bit more proteins.
- The texture and the taste is almost too good, smooth and creamy… … addictive too good…
- And the price… almost half of the price of almond butter!!!!
Below I will show you a nice recipe for homemade peanut butter cups and you can use either peanut butter or almond butter. After reading all of the above, I leave it up to you to choose between them. The taste won’t vary too much.
So, here is the recipe that will fit in a 12 muffin tray:
For the bottom layer:
1/2 cup coconut oil
2 tbsp organic raw cocoa powder
15 drops of liquid stevia (optional)
For the middle layer:
1/4 cup coconut oi
1/2 cup almond/peanut butter
For the top layer:
You can use 2 options for the top layer:
- the same as the top layer or
- use ½ cooking chocolate bar + 1/4 coconut oil
- In a bowl, melt the coconut oil (you can put it in a the microwave for 20 s) and mix it with the cocoa powder and the stevia (if you choose to use it)
- In a muffin pan place muffin papers (if you don’t have a muffin pan, you can use only the muffin papers placed on a plate)
- Pour the content in the muffin papers, in a small layer, to fully cover the bottom of the muffin papers 1 -1/2 Tbsp per muffin
- Place the muffin pan in the freezer while you prepare the second layer (~5-10 min)
- In a bowl, melt the coconut oil (but don’t make it too hot, as it will melt the bottom layer) and mix it with the nut butter
- Pour the new mix on top of the first layer
- Place the muffin pan again in the freezer while you prepare the third layer
- If you choose to use cooking chocolate bar, melt it in a bain marie (place the bowl on top of a steaming pot – be careful – the bowl should be thermoresistant) and mix it with the coconut oil
- Wait for the chocolate to cool down a bit before you pour it on top of the second layer, otherwise it will melt it and they will mix
- If you choose to use the same ingredients as on the first layer, repeat the steps 1-3 with the same mention as on step 9 – being careful that the liquid is not too warm/hot.
Put it in the freezer and serve it in 30 min
Be careful that the coconut oil will melt when in contact with the heat of your fingers which may lead to some messy fingers.
But that’s the beauty of having the coconut oil in the “chocolate” layer – it will melt in your mouth, even if it’s fat and not sugar, because of your body heat. For me, this gives me the confly feeling of the regular chocolate melting into my mouth (which was melting because of the amylase enzyme that was breaking the sugar, aka starting the digestion of the sugar).
No matter what option you will choose – peanut or almond (I used both last time – half peanut, half almond) I’m sure you will love them.