When I first mentioned this idea for mango macadamia nut butter cups to my friends, I was met with some pretty adamant skepticism regarding the combination of chocolate and mango. I was more open-minded about it but still not quite sure what was going to happen.
Luckily, this experiment was quite a bit more of a success than the gluten-free white bean beer bread I tried to make recently – who on EARTH thought that was a good idea? (Is anyone interested in seeing a gallery of recipe experiment failures? Because I have plenty of material at this point.)
I am happy to say, in fact, that a LOT of things went right here: I was able to subsidize the cost of the macadamia nuts by making a macadamia nut-coconut butter hybrid, and you cannot really taste the coconut at all. Plus, I didn’t have any cupcake liners (what people usually use to make nut butter cups), so we poured these straight into my nonstick mini muffin pan and crossed our fingers that they’d come out in one piece. They did! Oh, and I added only a touch of brown rice syrup for sweetener on top of what’s in the chocolate, so these macadamia nut butter cups are actually ~somewhat~ on the healthier side!
And finally, and most importantly, the mango-dark chocolate combo is heavenly. If you’ve got a lazy weekend day to spare, make these bad boys!
When making these, it really helped that I had someone around as a second pair of hands. Maybe it would be a nice Valentine’s Day activity 🙂
I used agar powder, which is a vegan ingredient made from seaweed that has similar properties to gelatin, to firm up the mango layer for these macadamia nut butter cups. You could probably get away with just omitting it if you don’t want to commit to buying agar (it’s very useful for vegan/vegetarian dessets, though!).
If you’re gonna temper the chocolate, here are the instructions I followed. I used more like 1/8 of the chocolate for tempering, instead of 1/3 (you’ll see what I mean when you read the steps). Also, all of the chocolate I used for tempering ended up melting into the mixture, so I didn’t retrieve it as the instructions suggest. No biggie.
Dark Chocolate Mango Macadamia Nut Butter Cups
For the dark chocolate shell:
- 7 oz dark chocolate (I used 70%)
For the coconut macadamia nut butter (makes a bit extra):
- 3/4 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut (or 3/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut)
- 2 tbsp brown rice syrup (or substitute 1 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup)
- salt to taste
For the mango layer:
- 1/2 tsp agar powder
- 1/4 cup water
- 3/4 cup frozen mango chunks thawed and pureed or mashed
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lime or lemon juice
Set up your molds:
Prepare mini cupcake liners or a mini cupcake tin lined with strips of parchment paper, and have a small pastry brush or small spatula ready.
Prepare the coconut macadamia nut butter:
In a food processor or high speed blender, combine the coconut, macadamia nuts, and brown rice syrup until silky and smooth, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed. Mine took about 8 minutes. Add salt and additional sweetener to taste.
The mixture will be warm - pour it into a jar or bowl and set aside until cooled down completely (for faster cooling, put it in the fridge). Even at room temperature, it should still be pretty soft.
Make the mango layer:
In a small saucepan, heat the water and agar powder until they reach a gentle boil. Continue cooking, stirring frequently, for another 60 seconds.
Add the mango and lime or lemon juice and stir. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Set in the fridge to set.
Temper the chocolate (optional, see notes) and prepare the chocolate mango macadamia nut butter cups:
Visit the site I linked to above this recipe for precise instructions on how to temper your dark chocolate.
If not tempering the chocolate, simply heat it in a double boiler, or bowl fitted over a pan of simmering water, until fully melted.
Use a spatula to scrape small blobs of melted chocolate into each cup. Working quickly, use the pastry brush or small spatula to brush the chocolate evenly across the bottom of the cup and also up around the sides, doing your best to brush over any gaps. At the end, you should have 1/4 to 1/3 of your melted chocolate remaining for topping the cups later.
Place the cups in the freezer for 5 minutes to start setting the chocolate.
Take the chocolate cups out of the freezer and scoop a scant 1/2 tablespoon of macadamia butter into each one, gently spreading it into a somewhat even layer.
Scoop a scant 1/2 tablespoon of the mango mixture into each cup, again spreading gently into a more even layer.
Top each cup with a blob of melted chocolate. Spread the chocolate over the top into an even layer so that it touches the chocolate around the sides.
Return to the freezer for 15 minutes to set before eating.
One by one, pop the chocolate cups out of the muffin tin, or remove from the cupcake liners, and enjoy.
Store in the freezer in a closed container for up to a week.
Do NOT use sweetened and/or low-fat coconut. The butter will not work with those types of coconut.
You can skip the chocolate tempering and simply melt the chocolate, but the cups will have a more chalky appearance and the shell will not be as crisp.
I recommend making both the mango and the macadamia nut butter fillings in advance so that you don't have to wait for them to cool during the process of making the cups.