Inspired by the classic PB&J sandwich, this no-bake treat features strawberry jam and a decadent peanut butter filling tucked into satiny chocolate cups for kids of all ages! These vegan peanut butter and jam chocolate cups are easy to customize using the pantry staples you love the most and have on hand.
In a small pot over medium-low heat, stir the strawberries until the they begin to release their juices. If they are sticking, reduce the heat.
Stir in the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer and stir the berries for 1-2 minutes to cook the berries through.
Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch and cold water together in a small bowl until no lumps remain. Pour the cornstarch slurry into the berry mixture, stirring constantly so you don't end up with lumps of cooked cornstarch - the mixture will thicken quickly. Reduce the heat a little, stirring over a lower simmer for another minute.
Remove the jam from the heat, and pour into a heat safe jar. Set aside to bring to room temperature before covering and placing in the refrigerator until you're ready to fill the chocolate cups.
In a medium-sized bowl, melt the chocolate and coconut oil together, stirring until completely smooth and the coconut oil is incorporated. You can do this in the microwave: do so in 30-40 second bursts at 50% power, stirring in between. Chocolate burns very easily rendering it unusable for recipes like this, so slow and steady is best. Otherwise, use a double-boiler, taking care not to get any water in the chocolate.
Line a standard 12-cavity muffin tin with cupcake liners or peanut butter cup liners. Fill each with 1 ½ teaspoons (8 mL) of melted chocolate, spreading it up the sides with the back of a spoon. If using standard cupcake liners, spread the chocolate halfway up each liner, and if using peanut butter cup liners, spread the chocolate all the way to the top of the liners. Chill in the freezer for a few minutes or until the chocolate has hardened - this will prevent the fillings from sinking.
Peanut Butter Filling:
In a medium-sized bowl, stir the natural peanut butter (see Notes below if using processed peanut butter) and vegan butter together. Add in the sifted confectioners' sugar, vanilla, and salt. Stir until well incorporated and the mixture starts to thicken (the liquid from the vanilla will help seize/thicken natural peanut butter.)
Scoop a heaping teaspoon (18-20 g) of the peanut butter filling, roll into a ball, and then flatten so you have a little puck. Continue with the rest of the peanut butter filling - you should have 12 of them.
To Assemble the PB&J Chocolate Cups:
Remove the hardened chocolate cups from the freezer and place a peanut butter puck into each cup. Top the peanut butter with a 1½ teaspoons (8 mL) of jam.
Reheat the chocolate if necessary, and spoon about a tablespoon (15 mL) evenly over the top of each cup, smoothing the chocolate with the back of the spoon to seal the edges. If garnishing, sprinkle the crushed freeze-dried strawberries over the top. Give the muffin tin a gentle tap on the counter to release any bubbles then place in the freezer to set.
Serve chilled or brought to room temperature. Store in an airtight container for about a week in the refrigerator and up to a few months in the freezer.
Don't Have Frozen Berries? You can use fresh ones instead but on a very low heat until the berries begin to release their juices so they don't burn. No Time to Make Jam? You can use your favorite jam or jelly! You'll need about 2/3 cup for this recipe. Don't Have Natural Peanut Butter? Natural peanut butter has a robust peanut flavor and pleasant texture for the filling but you can use processed peanut butter (creamy or crunchy depending on the texture you like best.) If using processed peanut butter, the filling may not set up firm enough to roll into balls, and so it will be easier to spoon the filling into the cups. Depending on how sweet and salty the peanut butter is, you may not need to add as much (or any) sugar, vegan butter or salt - taste it as you go.