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North Hills Monthly

Celebrate Easter (or anything!) with Whole Food Peanut Butter Eggs

Mar 31, 2015 09:28AM ● By Alexa Peduzzi

Hello, again, North Hills Monthly readers! My name is Alexa Peduzzi, and I’m a 20-something college student in Pittsburgh. I run, a healthy food blog aimed at serving whole foods for the young professional.

I am a firm believer in the power of the food we consume, so I always try and fill my body with the foods that will benefit it most. While I am not a nutritionist or doctor, it doesn't take a licensed registered dietitian to be able to feel the powerful difference that whole foods can make in one's diet.

But enough about me...let's get cooking!

Easter was always a special time for my family. On this holiday, my family would gather at my grandma and grandpa's house, enjoy each other’s company, and eat. It’s a glorious holiday.

As a child, I would wake up in the wee hours of the morning and sneak downstairs to find the basket that the Easter Bunny had left me. This scavenger hunt was always so much fun, as I searched high and low for my Easter treat. My basket was always filled to the brim with various pastel candies and festive chocolates.

There were piles of those addictive Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs™, which tasted much better than their rounded cousins, placed in my basket, ready for my eager hands. I was, and truthfully still am, a peanut butter fiend. My brother, the fruit-flavored-everything lover, would be showered with his favorite candy ropes and sour straws. A day dedicated to the consumption of candy? Of course it was one of my favorite holidays!

Quite a bit has changed since my childhood days of enjoying Easter as a candy-hungry youngster. But those childish Easter baskets? Yeah, we still do that. Every single year. The contents, however, have shifted drastically. Long gone are the days of the refined sugar-filled, artificially colored commercial candy. Last year, in fact, the Easter Bunny graced me with the sweetest dried figs I have ever tasted, those sticky-sweet dates I love so much, and an iTunes gift card. Whole foods and music. This holiday still rocks.

This year, however, I'm hoping for some whole food peanut butter eggs in my basket. In fact, I would be thrilled if my basket was overflowing with vegan and gluten-free indulgences. Full of good-for-you ingredients, homemade whole food Reese's eggs make a special treat for anyone in your family!

As the name implies, we need to start this party off with some peanut butter. Technically, you can use any kind of nut or seed butter you desire, but to play to the true essence of all things Reese's, I'm sticking with the peanut variety. Whichever nut or seed avenue you choose, be sure that the ingredient list is small (i.e., just peanuts and salt). You don't want any hydrogenated oils or added sugars. The whole point of making your own is to get away from these kinds of ingredients!

Next, to sweeten the deal, we'll use some natural maple syrup. This refined sugar-free sweetener is one of my favorites, but honey is another fine substitute.

To firm up our peanut butter mixture, we need some flour. Oat flour is easy to make at home, and it serves as a wonderful whole grain thickener in this application. To make your own oat flour at home, buy rolled oats (choose the gluten-free variety if you follow a gluten-free diet) and zip them in a blender or food processor until fine flour forms. Yep, it really is that simple!

The chocolate. You’re more than welcome to buy chocolate chips to cover your peanut butter eggs for a more authentic taste, but if you're looking for a truly refined sugar-free candy, I suggest you make your own. Yes, you can make your own chocolate in the comforts of your own kitchen! Simply mix melted coconut oilcocoa powdermaple syruppure vanilla extract, and salt. The end result is an enchanting, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate truffle-esque delight. I'm addicted to this stuff.

And there you have it; with just a few simple ingredients, you can proudly give whole food peanut butter eggs to your loved ones. It could not be easier to make this addictive and healthy Easter treat. Feel free to make these year ‘round: cut them into trees for Christmas, pumpkins for Halloween, or hearts for Valentine’s Day. I guarantee you'll be addicted at first bite!

Whole Food Peanut Butter Eggs

Yield: 8-12 eggs

For the peanut butter filling:

1/2 cup natural peanut butter (or substitute with your favorite nut or seed butter)

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1/8 tsp. salt (you can omit if your nut butter already has salt)

1/4 cup rolled oats (be sure to choose gluten-free if you have GF eaters)

For the refined sugar-free chocolate coating (or substitute melted chocolate chips):

3 Tbsp. coconut oil *

3 Tbsp. cocoa powder, sifted

1 and 1/2 Tbsp. maple syrup

pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

To make the peanut butter filling:  Melt peanut butter in the microwave or over the stove until creamy. Allow to cool slightly, then add 1 Tbsp. maple syrup and salt (if using). Mix until combined.

Blend rolled oats in a blender or food processor until a fine flour forms. Add 1 Tbsp. of your oat flour to the peanut butter mixture (save the rest for another time or discard). Mix until combined. The mixture should resemble cookie dough and should be able to be formed into a ball. If your mixture is too loose, add more oat flour. If it is too stiff, add a bit more melted peanut butter.

Form into egg shapes (I used anywhere from 1/2-1 Tbsp. of dough per egg and ended up with 10 total). Place on top of a sheet of wax paper that is covering a plate. Place in the freezer and freeze until practically solid, about 1 hour.

To make the refined sugar-free chocolate coating: When you're just about ready to remove your peanut butter filling, melt coconut oil in the microwave or on the stove. Add sifted cocoa powder, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and mix until smooth.

Remove peanut butter filling from the freezer. Dip each egg into the chocolate and turn to coat. Place on the same wax paper-covered plate. Once all eggs have been dipped, place the entire plate in the fridge to set, about 5 minutes. ** Store eggs in the fridge.

*You may use refined coconut oil if you’re very sensitive to coconut flavor. I used unrefined and didn’t detect the coconut.

**Pour any extra chocolate into ice cube molds for a delicious frozen chocolate treat.

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