It’s been years since I first posted my recipe for Healthier Peanut Butter Balls, also known as Buckeyes. These chocolate-covered peanut butter truffles are my husband’s very favorite dessert, so my goal was to give them a healthier makeover using a natural sweetener and without the paraffin wax often found in the chocolate coating. (Yuck!) At the time, I simply used melted dark chocolate because it was the easiest solution– and I like to keep things easy.
Since then, I’ve gotten many requests for a recipe using a homemade chocolate coating, for those who want to avoid the refined sugar found in many store-bought dark chocolate brands. The following recipe is the easiest homemade chocolate coating I can come up with. It requires just 3 ingredients and stirs together in just minutes, for a quick and healthy chocolate fix.
The only downside to this recipe is that you must eat it chilled, because it becomes very soft at room temperature. (You can even see in the photo above that the chocolate is starting to melt in my fingers– it had been sitting out at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes during my photo shoot.) So, keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily the type of chocolate shell you’d want to bring to a party to sit out for very long, but it works great when you want a quick sweet treat to keep on hand in your fridge or freezer.
The other change I made to my original recipe was that I used almond butter, to keep these peanut-free. I imagine sunflower butter would also work well if you need a completely nut-free treat. My original recipe calls for quite a bit of coconut flour– resulting in a more crumbly filling, so this time I also tried using a bit of arrowroot start to help resemble the texture that powdered sugar would provide. The results are totally delicious; my husband and I polished off this whole pan in a matter of days! I hope you’ll enjoy them just as much.
Note: I love the flavor of almonds and wanted to enhance their flavor even more by adding a touch of pure almond extract to this recipe. The result makes the filling taste like marzipan! If you love that flavor like I do, include the almond extract. If not, feel free to use vanilla extract instead or leave it out entirely.
To make the almond butter filling, combine the almond butter, starch, coconut flour, maple syrup, salt, and almond extract, if using, and stir well until a thick dough is formed.
Use a tablespoon to scoop the dough onto a lined plate or baking sheet, and roll the balls between your hands for a smoother surface, if desired. Place the sheet in the freezer to let the filling firm up while you make the chocolate coating.
To prepare the chocolate coating, whisk together the cacao powder, maple syrup, and coconut oil until smooth. Use a spoon to pour the filling over each almond butter mound. (Avoid dipping them into the mixture, because you want the chocolate to stay on the warm-side to keep it smooth and work-able. If your kitchen is too cold, you might want to set it in a warm oven for a moment to re-melt the chocolate. It should firm up quickly when it touches the cold almond butter filling.
Return the chocolate-covered mounds to the freezer to set, about 15 minutes. Serve directly from the fridge or freezer to keep the chocolate from melting.
Substitutions: I’ve made this recipe with peanut butter and almond butter, both with delicious results. I imagine another nut or seed butter would work well, too, if you want to try something else. If you want to replace the coconut oil in the chocolate coating, you’ll need to use another fat that is solid at room temperature, such as cocoa butter, or butter or ghee (if you don’t need to be dairy-free).