This recipe began with a craving for Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts, my all-time favorite Valentine’s Day treat. Creating a vegan version seemed easy enough and there are lots of recipes online that range from loaded with powdered sugar to no refined sugar at all. Some recipes are even totally raw. I thought, “Wow, I’ll just whip these up in no time and they’ll be healthy and tasty and amazing!”
Well, the task turned out to be just a tad more involved than anticipated. I went to the health food store and bought the coconut flour I needed for the “healthy” ones (i.e. no powdered sugar) and it was really neat how it thickened up the dough giving it a very authentic texture, but no matter what I did, the flavor just wasn’t what I was hoping for. On the other hand, the powdered sugar only ones weren’t thickening up right and were too sticky.
Then, somewhere along the way, I started thinking about my friend who is allergic to peanuts and decided that these should be made with almond butter instead of peanut butter. It became a full-on mission.
After many trials, I am pleased to bring you this recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Hearts. Not exactly healthy, but definitely healthier, these vegan, gluten-free, peanut-free treats are totally scrumptious and easy to make. The maple syrup causes the almond butter to thicken up, the coconut oil helps with the texture so that it’s not so thick and sticky, and the powdered sugar adds the sweetness that reminds me of real Reese’s.
I was pretty obsessed with making these into hearts with Valentine’s Day coming up, but they will be equally delicious and less time-consuming if you simply make them into chocolate-covered almond butter balls. Although the recipe only makes six hearts, it can easily be doubled or even quadrupled.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
- ¼ cup natural almond butter
- ½ tbsp. maple syrup
- ¾ tsp. coconut oil
- ⅛ tsp. sea salt
- 1½ tbsp. powdered sugar
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 6 almonds, halved
- Combine almond butter, maple syrup, ½ tsp. coconut oil, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir vigorously with a fork for about two minutes. The maple syrup will cause the almond butter to thicken.
- Stir in the powdered sugar and mix well.
- Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball.
- Flatten each ball into ¼-1/2 inch thick discs. Pinch the bottom of each disc to form the point of the heart. Use the dull edge of a butter knife to form the indentation at the top of the heart. Mold until desired shape is achieved. Place on wax paper and make any necessary adjustments to the shape.
- Melt the chocolate chips with a ¼ teaspoon of coconut oil.
- Dip each almond butter heart in the melted chocolate. Tip: Place the heart in the chocolate so that one side is covered. Use a fork to turn the heart over and then remove from the chocolate and place on wax paper. It's helpful to use a second fork to remove any excess chocolate and to transfer the heart to the wax paper.
- Place almond halves on top of the each chocolate heart.
- Freeze for 10-15 minutes. Once the chocolate hardens, you can use a sharp knife to cut off any messy edges.
- Serve or save for later in an air-tight container. They will stay solid at room temperature.
*To split the almonds, use a sharp knife and cut where the two halves meet or buy sliced almonds instead of whole almonds.
*Want an easier option? These will be just as delicious if you skip the heart-shape part and just cover the almond butter balls in the chocolate!