It’s 1 A.M. on a Saturday night (so technically Sunday morning) and I’m at home making chocolate pistachio butter cups.
I party hard like that.
But let’s back up a bit lest you think I have a serious addiction to chocolate (because let’s face it, why else would someone be up at 1 A.M. making chocolate unless they had a serious addiction, right?).
So yesterday afternoon on my way home, I popped into Cafe Gratitude (a raw/vegan restaurant in San Francisco with the best raw desserts ever) and bought a chocolate pistachio cup for $5. It was tiny, just a tad bigger than a Reese’s miniature cup. I took one bite of it while driving home and nearly had an orgasm in my car.
Wow. It was quite possibly better than sex.
Worried that I might kill someone, I pulled over to a curb to finish the last couple of bites. While the 5 dolla piece of chocolate was indeed enough to make me holla (South Park anyone?), the thrill was gone all too quickly and I wanted more. Like, 30 bucks worth more. And yes I realize this is beginning to sound more and more like an addiction. Crap, maybe I do have a problem here.
But back to the chocolate cup.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It haunted me. It called out to me in my dreams last night. I had to make some, or return to Cafe Gratitude with my tail between my legs (um, I mean my hypothetical tail) and 30 bucks in my hand and failure written all over my face.
Luckily, my experiment today was a success. See for yourself:
(Salted) Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cups
This may look like a complicated, difficult and time-intensive recipe. It’s not. I just posted a lot of step-by-step pictures. The whole thing took less than 30 minutes from food processor to mouth. And luckily I took down measurements as I was making these. Usually when I experiment in my kitchen, I throw this and that into my processor or blender and hope for the best. While these are not raw (the filling is raw, the chocolate is not), they’re much healthier than a Reese’s. Plus, they’re made with pistachios, which are packed with heart-healthy fats, copper, magnesium and B vitamins. As an extra kick, I added maca, a superfood that improves your energy and stamina, as well as your sexual libido. Yep, maca is Mother Nature’s viagra. And yep, I went ahead and put them in my cups. Have fun, y’all.
1 cup shelled pistachios (raw, not roasted)
4 tablespoons agave nectar (raw)
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon liquid vanilla (see instructions below)
1 teaspoon maca (feel free to add more if you need it – wink wink)
2 teaspoons of cacao butter (melted) (this is optional so if you don’t have it, the recipe should still work fine. I like to add it for the extra decadence as well as antioxidants that raw cacao butter brings to the recipe)
dark chocolate chunks *
*I decided against using raw chocolate for this recipe because it’s difficult as well as expensive to make. Plus, I wanted a quick fix.
Step 1: Make liquid vanilla
This takes less than 5 minutes. You make it once and have enough to last you weeks. You could add it to homemade almond milk, my raw vegan protein balls, cookies, cakes, whatever. Totally worth the extra step but if you don’t have vanilla beans or the 5 extra minutes, feel free to substitute vanilla extract here. Note that I cannot guarantee a food orgasm with this substitution.
Here’s how to make it.
Chop up 3 whole vanilla beans into small pieces. Put them in a blender with 1 cup of water and blend well. Put the mixture into a bottle or jar and store in your fridge.
Step 2: Bottom chocolate layer
If you have chocolate molds, great. I don’t but I used to bake a lot in my pre-raw days so I used my mini cupcake tin and mini cupcake liners.
Melt chocolate until you have about half a cup of melted dark chocolate. If you need more, you could always melt some more. There are several ways to do this but the quickest way is to stick a bowl of chocolate in the microwave. You can also use a double boiler or my makeshift double boiler method (see below on melting cacao butter). Whatever floats your boat. Just make sure that you melt the chocolate so that it is still somewhat thick and chunky (as opposed to completely melted and burning hot).
Pour a little bit of chocolate into a cupcake liner (about half an inch layer).
Using your fingers, drape the chocolate along the sides of the cupcake liner (this is where you’ll be grateful that you didn’t melt the chocolate until it was burning hot). You want to try to make as thick of a layer on the sides as you can. You’re basically making the outside layer of your chocolate cup – the thicker the layer, the less likely your filling will break and ooze out and hit you in your face (not a bad thing, just messy).
This is probably the most labor-intensive part of this recipe. Don’t worry – you will have your reward soon enough. Put the cupcake tin in the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden and set.
After a few minutes in the freezer, the chocolate should be hardened. You’re now ready to fill them. (Keep them in the freezer while you prepare the filling).
Step 3: Pistachio filling
Put the pistachios, salt, and maca into the food processor and pulse into pieces are broken down into tiny pieces. Don’t pulse until you have creamy butter. Add in agave and liquid vanilla and pulse to combine.
If you choose to add the cacao butter, here’s what it looks like:
I broke off a tiny piece, put it in a small bowl and then put the small bowl into a larger bowl with hot water (basically a makeshift double boiler). This will melt the cacao butter slowly so that you end up with this:
Add the cacao butter to the mixture and pulse. Your filling is now done. Feel free to sample. You’re almost there.
Step 4: Fill and top the chocolate cups
I like lots of filling. Lots. As you can see from the picture below, I basically fill the cups to the brim with the pistachio filling. If you prefer a higher chocolate-to-pistachio ratio, go ahead and add in less filling. In that case, you could probably make a few more cups than the 12 I was able to make from this recipe.
Melt some more chocolate if you need to. Cover the tops of the chocolate cups with melted chocolate.
Once you’re done, at this point, you can stick the tin in the freezer for the chocolate to harden. BUT, if you want to make these even better, sprinkle the tops of the cups with chopped pistachios and coarse sea salt. I LOVE SALT ON CHOCOLATE. I love it more than Edward loves Bella. Just saying.
P.S. Before I leave you with some food porn:
I’m on twitter! You can follow me @vanillabeanpole.
Also, coming soon in future blog posts: Raw vegan “sushi”, spirulina “cheesecake”, butter pecan “ice cream” and all sorts of other raw vegan treats that are spelled with quotation marks. And of course, more smoothie and juice recipes. Feel free to contact me with requests!
Gratuitous Food Porn: