Peanut butter covered in chocolate is one of life’s fine pleasures. And when that peanut butter is mixed with the earthy, smokey, sweet flavor of maple sugar, it’s pretty darn incredible.
These maple peanut butter chocolate candies are actually modeled after one of my old favorite holiday treats, the glorious Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg (why are these so good?!). These are a healthier version! I’m not taking the time to form mine into egg shapes though, and they really don’t stay in “ball” shape, so the more appropriate name here is probably “Peanut Butter Blobs,” but that doesn’t really entice you to make them now does it… blobs, balls, or eggs, either way they taste the same!
Traditional peanut butter balls have powdered sugar in them as the binding/dough stiffening agent. For our maple-sweetened version, we’ll use powdered maple sugar. Never heard of it? That’s because it doesn’t exist and you’ll have to make it yourself, ha! It’s not hard. You’ll be fine. Maple sugar is one of the best kept secrets in food. And so is maple cream. Seriously, ridiculously good.
To make these you’ll need to start with maple sugar– this is maple syrup that has been boiled down even further until it crystalizes. You can find this online and in most natural food stores. Or if you’re a glutton for punishment you can even make it yourself (we did! because yes, we are in fact gluttons for punishment).
Simply run your maple sugar through a blender and you’ll have powdered maple sugar in about 15 seconds.
The natural peanut butter (as in, no sugar added) plus the relatively small quantity of powdered maple sugar in these peanut butter balls means that the dough is going to be a little looser. This is also why I wanted to call them “blobs.”
The maple flavor isn’t super strong, but it does add a deep rich earthy goodness that you don’t get from other sweeteners, and that goes really well with the peanut butter and dark chocolate.
Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Candy Recipe
This is important- set aside the 2 teaspoons of maple sugar (you’ll use this as a topping for the finished candy- and it is a must!) and whiz the remaining 1/2 cup maple sugar in a high speed blender for 15-20 seconds, or until it turns into a fine powder.
In a bowl, vigorously stir together the peanut butter, powdered maple sugar, vanilla, and sea salt until well-combined.
With a small spring-loaded scoop or other small round scooping device (like, two teaspoon size) scoop blobs of the peanut butter dough onto a parchment-lined pan. Refrigerate for at least one hour to firm up.
Melt the chocolate chips using the method you prefer (in a double boiler for those who have a hard time with attention to detail). I use the microwave, stirring every 15 seconds. ;)
Take the peanut butter blobs out of the fridge, and one by one coat them in chocolate. I use a fork and a butter knife… a fork to quickly roll the peanut butter around in the chocolate and then lift it out, and a knife to scrape the excess chocolate from the bottom. Work quickly! You can see I didn’t get them completely coated on all sides. I call this rustic!
Place the coated peanut butter ball back onto the parchment paper and immediately sprinkle a pinch of maple sugar on the top. Do this right away with each one, as the chocolate will harden quickly.
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