As a child, there’s something slightly exciting about spending a day off school sick. Not, of course, if you’re seriously unwell, entirely bed-bound and unable to eat. I’m talking about those days when you’re possibly still contagious but ultimately on the mend, able to appreciate eating on the sofa, watching too much TV and your Mum (or another adult) making a great big fuss of you.
When I ill as a little girl, provided I could eat, my Mum would make me orange juice with ice and Marmite on toast cut into soldiers. If I was upright by the evening, my sick day staple was an individual toad in the hole, eaten off a tray on my knees in front of a film: something we were never normally allowed to do and so incredibly exciting because of it.
As an adult, being off sick is a different kettle of fish. Gone are the days when you can snuggle up, undisturbed, in front of back-to-back reruns of Friends. Mothers are no-longer a live in support system, work can be in constant contact via email and husbands have their own jobs which – unless you’re on death’s door – they’re going to have to prioritise over staying at home and mopping your brow (I know, can you hear my tiny violin . . . ?).
On Saturday I was struck down with food poisoning (you may have noticed a distinct lack of Instagram and Twitter, the little loaf kitchen was a sad and empty place). No-one wants to read about food poisoning on a food blog so I’ll spare you the gory details, but suffice to say that come Monday I was still feeling rotten and decided to work from home.
By the afternoon, I was starting to feel a bit better and in need of some sugar to replenish my energy. My furry pink slipper and dressing gown ensemble meant I wasn’t going to going anywhere near the shops, so I rummaged through the cupboards and found ingredients to make these lovely little bites.
Although homemade nut butter cups are nothing new, I haven’t seen a walnut variation before. Walnuts are slightly more bitter than their creamy almond and peanut counterparts but paired with maple syrup, vanilla and crunchy cocoa nibs, they really hold their own as a sophisticated grown-up treat.
Good fats from the nuts, energy from the sweetness and happy chocolate hormones make these little bites the perfect post-illness indulgence. They’d also make a lovely homemade Christmas present if you’ve started to plan that far in advance (spot the Christmas tree in the background of photo #3, it’s full on festive mode from here on in).
Crunchy Maple Walnut Butter Cups
(makes about 18 mini cups)
These nut butter cups are made using freshly ground walnuts. If you don’t have a food processor, substitute with the same quantity of shop-bought walnut, almond or peanut butter. You can also substitute the maple syrup with honey and some of the dark chocolate with milk for more of a child-friendly version.
I haven’t tempered the chocolate here as part of the attraction here is how easy they are to throw together. If you want a perfect finish on the cups or are giving them as presents, you can find tips on tempering chocolate here.
200g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped
1 tbsp coconut oil
125g walnuts halves, toasted in a pan over a low heat for a few minutes
1 tbsp + 1 tsp maple syrup
1 tbsp cocoa nibs
1 tbsp coconut flour (substitute icing sugar for a sweeter variation or omit for a softer set cup)
approx. 18 walnut halves, to finish
Lay out eighteen mini silicone muffin moulds or line a mini muffin tin with papers (I prefer the silicone moulds but the latter version works fine if you use a tin to help the cups hold their shape).
Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a heatproof bowl suspended over a saucepan of barely simmering water, then remove from the heat.
Spoon about a teaspoon of melted chocolate into the bottom of each prepared mould, swirling each one gently so the chocolate coats the sides. Set aside while you make the filling.
In a high speed blender, blitz the walnuts until they start to release their oils and a thick, smooth paste forms. Add the maple syrup and cocoa nibs and blitz until just combined (you want the cocoa nibs to retain some crunch for texture). Scrape the paste into a small bowl and add the coconut flour and salt before stirring to combine.
Use a teaspoon to scoop out eighteen little balls of nut paste, rolling each one between your hands before popping on top of the melted chocolate in your moulds. Top each ball with the remaining melted chocolate until covered completely then gently place a walnut half on top of each cup before the chocolate sets.
Chill in the fridge for one hour to set. Allow to come to room temperature before eating or enjoy straight from the fridge if you like a firmer nut butter cup.
49 RESPONSES TO Crunchy Maple Walnut Butter Cups
Deliiiiiiicious 😀 Definitely trying these for christmas!
Worth being ill for:)
Food poisoning is the worst, hope you are felling better!
Love the sound of these walnut butter cups. Laura from the First Mess made something somewhat similar recently (although hers had cinnamon and graham cracker crumbs as well if I remember correctly) and as much as I love peanut and almond butter, walnut butter remains my favourite nut butter of all times so I think this is such a great idea!
Love that you have your Christmas tree up already – back home in Germany the tree only goes up on the 24th in the morning (although we typically have an Advent wreath from the first of Advent). In Italy people tend to put up their tree on the 8th so this weekend will be Christmas decoration central in our flat!
Ah, and there was me thinking I’d be so original with my recipe 😉 Love the idea of cracker crumbs in the cups though, a little extra crunch is definitely for me.
My Mum doesn’t put our Christmas tree up at home til after my brother’s birthday (19th) but we have one in our flat from 1st December. As we’re never in the flat for Christmas it’s nice to make the most of it in the weeks running up to it!
Well it’s still an original idea if you haven’t seen it anywhere else, right? And a delicious idea either way! It is similar for us as we are either in Germany together for Christmas with my parents or Alessandro heads home to his parents and I head home to mine. Cannot wait to get our Christmas decoration up and have the smell of clove-studded oranges waft through the flat!
They look lovely! I would never have the energy to make these if I was home sick. Hope you are better already (and won’t need that tiny violin) 😀
nice idea !
Very cute – can’t help but think pistachios would be beautiful with some smoked salt sprinkled on top
Pistachio and white chocolate cups are divine, definitely do give those a try too 🙂
Majorly impressed that you managed to whip up something so delightful while recovering from food poisoning. These look delightful – and love the walnut touch – very Christmas-y.
Hope that you’re feeling better now 🙂
These look absolutely delicious! I’ve bookmarked it, thanks for sharing and hope you’ve recovered completely 🙂
Glad you are feeling better. I have had food poisoning one time too many and it is horrible. I posted similar chocolates a while back, but mine were made with pistachios. Walnuts are among my favorite nuts so I actually love the idea of this variation. Thank you for the idea.
Ah man – I had food poisoning abroad once… so much vomit :D. Anyway… grossness aside, this look very cute and I’m definitely impressed you made these whilst recovering.
Wow! So impressed that you had the energy to make these–especially after just barely getting over food poisoning (which is the worst!). On a more positive note, these look delicious!
They would make the best holiday gift, seriously. Bookmarking immediately!
It takes a lot to keep me out the kitchen…as soon as I was feeling just a tiny bit better I knew I needed chocolate! 🙂
I want a box full of these lovely cups just for myself!! They look amazing. I’m not the best tempering chocolate so thanks for the link 🙂
This looks delicious!
These look yummeeeee. Where can I get cocoa nibs from?
I like the Naturya brand – you can buy them in Holland & Barrett or online – or they do lovely ones in the Hotel Chocolat shop in Borough Market too x
I hope you’re feeling much better now – definitely no fun being ill! These maple walnut butter cups look amazing!! I’ve been meaning to make my own peanut butter cups but never got round to it, now I’ll have to make these too as I really want to try them!
You must, they’re so simple and so delicious!
Feel better girl! Food poisoning is completely awful, you have my utmost sympathies.
Ugh, food poisoning is the worst. Glad to hear you’re starting to feel better, though! I love the walnut-y take on these cups!
Changing seasons is one of the biggest reasons for such illness. My 4 year old is recovering from a bout of food poisoning.
The walnut butter cups look so dainty. Perfect for Christmas
Food poisoning doesn’t sound like any fun! But this post left me wanting two things – toad in a hole, and these walnut butter cups. Yum! Definitely on my to-do list for Christmas treats. Thanks for the recipe!
Kate, such a wonderful thing that you made these despite feeling rough. That said, this is my kind of antidote. Hope you are in fab health now xx
My Christmas dinner only has three attendees (myself and my parents), so I usually serve just one main dessert, a cookie, and a candy. We can eat the latter two for days. I try to make them all match in some way. I think I know what my candy will be this year; these will go perfectly with the other items! I love walnuts but might use pecans since my mother prefers them. I’m excited!
I love the idea of a trio of pecan desserts for Christmas…and can imagine making these with pecan butter would give a super creamy cup. What else are you planning to make? Can’t wait to hear all about it x
Totally agree with you re being sick when you’re a grown up. It’s rubbish having nobody there to make a fuss of you during the day! These little nibbles sound like the perfect medicine though. I’ve done similar with cashew but walnuts sound like a wonderful combination with the chocolate and the crunch of the cocoa nibs.
Ooh a cashew version sounds good too. Add pretty much any nut too chocolate and you can’t go wrong.
What a fantastic variation on peanut butter cups! Glad you’re feeling better
Sounds like a great recovery food – hope you are 100% again!
Thank you, definitely on the mend!
These are adorable!! I’m adding these to my “to-bake” list, everyone in our household loves walnuts!
Beautiful! I’ve been thinking about what type of candy to make for little Christmas gifts, and this looks perfect!
My mum always gave us lemonade when we were recovering, that doesn’t sound like much but as kids we were never allowed sugary drinks so it always made me laugh that the one time aside from birthdays that she let us have them was when we were sick 🙂 Love these butter cups, they will make perfect gifts!
What beautiful little treats! They are perfect for offering to guests at this time of year. I’d love if you entered them in Let’s Party Food contest over at: http://www.mylittleitaliankitchen.com/ready-for-the-party-season-lets-party-a-food-blogging-challenge/
They would look great in the round up!
These should be given out free on the NHS for anyone recovering from food poisoning (do hope you are feeling better, how rotten, especially with all the festive foodie offerings this time of year demands we partake in).
That is SUCH a good idea. Why has nobody thought about that before…? 🙂
Because I live close to where Scharffen Berger used to have their chocolate factory, I’m rolling in nibs but what is coconut flour? Is that a UK thing do you think? These are so pretty I’m going to buy some wee sillicon molds to make them. I love anything with maple, chocolate and walnuts!
Coconut flour is a bi-product of making coconut milk – the dried out meat from a coconut. It’s gluten free and doesn’t need to be cooked/baked. You could leave it out and have a slightly looser nut butter cup, add icing sugar and have a slightly sweeter version or add a little ground almonds. Hope that helps?
I’m going to go hunt for it at some of our more enlightened groceries. Here in the Bay Area we have so many “alternative” flours for sale — I must have missed this one. It sounds handy. I end up subbed coconut milk (the thick kind) for cream in recipes all the time, as I am lactose-intolerant. Perhaps this coconut flour would work even better? Thanks!
I went to Ottolehngi Deli in London a few weeks back, more than once. The cakes in there were amazing. Lots of smaller ones, the peacan/maple ones especially. Actually everything was really nice. On a Cocoa note I am using Willie Harcourt Couzes amazing cacao products. Superb cacao flavour , not refined as much as some of the others like Amedei , but the cacao hit is superior, not just stronger. I hope that makes sense.
I love Willie’s Cacao – such good quality and lots of different beans to try!
Just made these and they were delicious, but I had half the walnut mixture left over, which was a bit confusing. I didnt think I could fit any more into the cups and cover it. That said, these are very tasty and I am off to find a use for 50+gs of walnut butter. Might sub it for peanut butter in a recipe.
So glad you liked them! The quantities should be correct so maybe I stuffed my cups a little more full than yours – I’ll have to test the recipe again very soon just to make sure 🙂
I will try to make them again too and see if I can get more walnut filling in. They were so good that the 20 I made did not last long. Forgot to add that I subbed in golden syrup for the maple syrup and added orange blossom water. It was a very tasty variation. Am thinking vanilla would work well as would a chestnut honey.
I love the idea of orange blossom and walnut cups, yum!