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Everything-Free Cake Balls

Made without dairy, sugar or gluten, these caramel-stuffed chocolate cake balls are a delicious, healthy treat. Get the full recipe at HomemadeBanana.com #glutenfree #sugarfree #dairyfree #healthy #dessertAs surprising as it might sound, baked goods are not really my vice. I love baking cakes and pies and cookies, but once I’ve had a few bites of my creation, I’m satisfied. That’s why it gives me such pleasure to bake for other people. Other chocolate-loving, dessert-devouring, sweet tooth-having people.

My boyfriend and I recently hosted a birthday party for his sister, who has some dietary restrictions: she doesn’t eat refined sugar, dairy or gluten. I firmly believe that birthdays should never be celebrated sans cake of some sort, so I took this occasion as a challenge to create something that was safe for Alex’s sister to eat and truly delicious for those of us who are used to eating “regular” cake.

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Food

Homemade Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cups

homemade-honey-roasted-peanut-butter-cups-24homemade-honey-roasted-peanut-butter-cups-22 homemade-honey-roasted-peanut-butter-cups-23Truthfully, I’ve never been much of a peanut butter girl. Up until a few months ago, I’m not entirely sure that I had ever purchased a jar of peanut butter. That is to say, the last time a tub of Jif occupied a prominent place in my pantry, I was probably 18 years old and still living at home (Hi Mom!). Apart from playing a crucial roll in some of my favorite store-bought candies, I really never craved the stuff. And then everything changed.

When you’re 27 years old and you live in small town Iowa, a new grocery store coming to town is a darn big deal. It merits a special trip on opening weekend, and it definitely merits a taste test down the aisles to get a handle on how this newcomer will fit into your current grocery shopping rotation. It’s riveting stuff. And so it was that on this fateful Saturday,  I stumbled upon a teeny tiny Dixie cup filled with a swirl of freshly ground peanut butter. Honey roasted peanut butter. It was a revelation.

Now, I’m not sure whether it’s the consistency (hovering somewhere between crunchy and creamy to achieve the ideal texture) or the flavor (nutty, sweet, salty, roasty), but I do know that I’ve smeared a whole mess of the stuff on top of a whole wheat English muffin for breakfast nearly every day since I discovered the stuff—and I don’t even usually eat breakfast (but that’s a whole other story).

I became so enamored with this freshly ground honey roasted peanut butter that I began to daydream of other ways to use it. Would it be good with apples dipped in it? Of course. Would it be the perfect after-work snack when eaten spoonful by spoonful straight out of the tub? No doubt. Would it take the already beloved peanut butter cup to new heights of deliciousness? I had to find out.

Spoiler alert: it does.

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Honey Roasted Peanut Butter Cups
Adapted from Martha Stewart

Ingredients:
• 1 cup powdered sugar
• 1 1/2 cups all-natural peanut butter, preferably honey roasted
• 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
• 1 lb semisweet chocolate chips
• small paper candy cups
• edible gold leaf for garnish

Directions:
1. Combine sugar, peanut butter, and butter in an electric mixer and beat on medium-low speed until combined. Transfer mixture to a heavy duty ziplock bag with one corner snipped (for use like a pastry bag).

2. Melt chocolate in the microwave, heating for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between each increment. Stop microwaving before all the chocolate has melted, and then stir the chocolate until the last chips have melted. Make sure you don’t get any water in the chocolate or it will seize and turn grainy.

3. Use a small spoon or small paintbrush to coat insides of the paper candy cups with the melted chocolate, making sure to cover the bottom and sides well. Transfer cups to a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to freezer until set, about 10 minutes.

4. Remove cold chocolate cups from the freezer. Pipe peanut-butter filling into each cup until three-quarters full. Spoon melted chocolate into each cup to cover. Return to the freezer until set, 15 to 25 minutes.

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