I love Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but I may just have found a way to improve on them. These no-bake single serving desserts take the wonderful combination of peanut butter and chocolate to new heights with a creamy middle and a crunchy top. With no baking required, they are a snap to put together on a hot, summer day.
My only concern is that now I have to admit that I’ve had a box of Cocoa Puffs sitting in my pantry for months and tell you the story of how they got there. Hopefully you’ll agree that wasting food was not an option and you’ll be pleased that my solution was the invention of these desserts.
This spring, I bought a lovely cookbook by pastry chef-turned-restauranteur Michel Richard.
In it, he swears up and down that making chocolate mousse cups topped with Cocoa Puffs is what every chocolate-loving home cook should, and can easily, do.
I did manage to finish the recipe, but I think he underestimated the challenge and more importantly, he didn’t seem to care that making his recipe leaves one with extra Cocoa Puffs. This cereal is not the first ingredient I have bought specially for a single recipe, but it is definitely the one that sat for the longest without giving me any inspiration for how to use it up – until now.
I thought of single serving, no-bake (microwave) cheesecakes and that recipe led me to go the single serving route this time too. My intention was a dessert that would require a spoon – not quite a pudding, but not as solid as a cheesecake. It is sweet, but not overbearingly so and a small ramekin’s worth is just about the right amount for an after dinner treat or a mid-day snack.
No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
Servings – 4 Cost – $4 per batch ($1 per serving)
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter, plus a bit more for buttering the ramekins
- 1 tablespoon of milk (skim is fine)
- pinch of table salt
- ¼ teaspoon of vanilla
- ¼ cup of peanut butter
- ⅓ cup of sour cream
- ⅓ cup of Greek-style yogurt
- 2-3 tablespoons of light brown sugar
- 1½ cups of Cocoa Puffs
- 2½ ounces of bittersweet chocolate
- Measuring cups (for solids)
- Measuring spoons
- Small pot
- Spoons (2-3)
- 2 small bowls
- 4 – small (6 ounce) ramekins
1. Lightly grease the ramekins and set aside.
2. Measure the peanut butter and set near the stove.
3. Put the cocoa puffs in the freezer. I know it sounds crazy, but I learned this tip from M. Richard; it’s the best way to coat them with chocolate later on.
4. Put the sugar, butter, milk, salt, and vanilla in a small pot. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 1 ½ – 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mixture is lightly browned and a thick consistency.
5. Quickly remove from heat, add the peanut butter and mix until fully combined. Don’t worry if the mixture gets grainy.
6. Put ¼ of the mixture into each ramekin and tamp it down with the back of a small spoon.
7. Refrigerate the ramekins until they are cooled, at least 45 minutes.
8. Mix the sour cream, Greek-style yogurt and enough light brown sugar for the mixture to taste slightly sweet. Don’t use “regular” yogurt, unless you strain it, because it is looser than Greek-style and won’t make a thick enough creamy center.
9. Put 1-2 tablespoons of the sour cream/yogurt mixture into each ramekin and smooth it down.
10. Microwave the chocolate on a low-medium setting for a few minutes until it is melted. Be careful not to start on a high setting or it will burn. It’s easiest if you break or chop the chocolate into a few pieces.
11. Quickly mix the Cocoa Puffs into the melted chocolate with a spoon and divide them among the ramekins.
12. Cool slightly, until the chocolate sets.