One of my all-time favorite combinations has got to be maple and pecans, alongside salted caramel and chocolate. So naturally, I had to go and formulate a recipe for delicious vegan maple pecan caramel chocolate cups. If you're looking for a fun (and super delicious) variation on homemade peanut butter cups then these are for you.

These caramel stuffed chocolate cups are:

  • Vegan and gluten-free
  • Sweet and salty
  • Easy to make
  • The perfect Halloween candy
stack of maple caramel chocolate cups with caramel pouring on top.Pin

Ingredients overview

  • Dark chocolate: I recommend using a good quality dark chocolate for these vegan caramel cups, look for one with a cacao content of 70% or higher with no added dairy in the ingredients. You can also use a vegan “milk” chocolate if you prefer.
  • Pure maple syrup: The caramel filling for these chocolate cups is based on maple syrup. The maple flavor comes through and works so well with the delicious crunchy pecans.
  • Pecans: The pecans are candied with some maple syrup which gives them a delicious sweet caramelized flavor. They also add some crunch which works so well in contrast to the silky caramel center. You can always leave the pecans out if you're looking to make nut-free chocolate cups!
  • Coconut milk: This forms the base of the caramel sauce. You'll want to use full-fat canned coconut milk for this recipe.
  • Caster sugar and light brown sugar: I like using caster sugar (superfine sugar) as the base for this caramel sauce as it doesn't overpower the maple flavor. A little brown sugar is added to prevent the caramel from becoming grainy as its acidity helps to prevent sugar crystallization. There's a great article on bakeschool.com about how to prevent sugar from crystallizing if you'd like to read up more on that. 
  • Vanilla bean paste: You can also use vanilla extract if preferred, but I love adding vanilla to caramel sauce along with some sea salt of course for that sweet and salty contrast.
  • Cornflour: Or cornstarch if you're in America. This is a thickening agent and will help with the consistency of the caramel, making sure it's not too runny and more pleasant as a filling for these chocolate cups.
ingredients for making salted caramel chocolate cups.Pin

How to make chocolate cups: Step-by-step instructions with images

(Full ingredient quantities and instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post)

There are just 3 simple steps to making these delicious vegan caramel-filled chocolate cups. 

Step 1: Make the vegan maple caramel center

Start by making the caramel. Add the coconut milk, caster sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil. It's important not to stir the caramel mixture at this stage, but rather allow it to come to a boil and simmer for a few minutes.

Next mix together the cornflour and plant-based milk to form a paste (also known as a slurry). You'll then add this to the caramel mixture along with the flavorings (in this case sea salt and vanilla) and boil for another 5 minutes.

At this point you'll want to give the mixture a whisk every twenty seconds or so, to make sure the cornflour mix doesn't clump up in the caramel sauce. Now set it aside to cool to room temperature.

Step 2: Caramelise the pecans

One of my favorite parts of these caramel stuffed chocolate cups is the topping. The caramelized pecans taste just those Cuisine de France sticky maple pecan pastries that used to be a favorite of mine growing up. It's really simple to make the candied maple pecans, you'll just want to lightly oil a frying pan or skillet and heat up until very hot.

Then add the pecans to the pan and allow them to toast for about 5 minutes until they start to brown and smell fragrant. Add in the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and turn off the heat. Glaze the pecans tossing them in the syrup, then remove from the pan and turn them out onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool and set.

Step 3: Assemble the chocolate cups

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler (bain-marie). Add one tablespoon of melted chocolate to each muffin case, and swirl the case so that the chocolate comes up around and coats the edges. Place in the freezer to set for 5 minutes. Repeat with the second layer of chocolate and place back in the freezer for 10 minutes.

Remove the chocolate shells from the freezer and add divide the cooled caramel sauce between them.

Pour the remaining melted chocolate over the caramel and top each caramel cup with a few caramelized pecans. Place back in the freezer to set for 5 minutes.

Expert tips and FAQs

  • Allow your caramel to cool to room temperature before attempting to fill your chocolate cups. If your caramel sauce is warm (or hot!) it will melt the chocolate. It's likely that you'll be left with a sticky mess (still delicious, but a pain to work with).
  • Add two layers of chocolate to your chocolate cups to create a thick shell. This makes it a lot easier to fill them with caramel sauce. It also creates a sturdy frame that won't collapse when you bite into them.

Storage instructions

Store your vegan salted caramel cups in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a couple of weeks. Mind you it's unlikely they will make it that long - they're super addictive!

Variations

  • Nut-free: For a nut-free version of these caramel stuffed cups you can swap out the pecans for some salted pretzels. You can also top them with some popcorn but bear in mind that the popcorn will start to soften after the first day or so.
  • Sea salt: These caramel chocolate cups taste even more amazing with a sprinkle of sea salt or Maldon flakes.
stack of vegan caramel stuffed cups.Pin

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below and consider leaving a comment as well, thanks!

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Maple Pecan Caramel Chocolate Cups

4.41 from 10 votes
PREP TIME: 30 mins
Chilling Time: 1 hr
TOTAL TIME: 1 hr 30 mins
Servings: 12
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Description

A salted maple caramel centre, dark chocolate and crunchy candied pecans. These delicious vegan maple pecan caramel chocolate cups that taste like a candy version of maple pecan sticky buns. They're easy to make and gluten-free too.

Ingredients

Caramel filling

Coating

Instructions

Caramel filling

  • Add the coconut milk, caster sugar, light brown sugar, maple syrup, and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes, without stirring.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the cornflour and non-dairy milk to form a paste. Add the cornflour paste, salt, and vanilla bean paste to the saucepan and whisk well. Simmer for another 5 minutes, whisking every 20 seconds or so. Remove the saucepan, cover, and set aside to cool to room temperature for at least an hour.

Coating

  • Lightly oil a frying pan or skillet and heat up until very hot. Add the pecans to the pan and allow them to toast for about 5 minutes until they start to brown and smell fragrant. Add in the 2 tablespoons of maple syrup and turn off the heat. Glaze the pecans by tossing them in the syrup, then remove from the pan and turn them out onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool and set.
  • Line a cupcake tray with 12 cupcake cases. 
  • Melt the chocolate over a double boiler (bain-marie). Add one tablespoon of melted chocolate to each muffin case, and swirl the case so that the chocolate comes up around and coats the edges. Place in the freezer to set for 5 minutes. Repeat with the second layer of chocolate and place back in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
  • Remove the chocolate shells from the freezer and add divide the cooled caramel sauce between them.
  • Pour the remaining melted chocolate over the caramel and top each caramel cup with a few caramelized pecans. Place back in the freezer to set for 5 minutes.

Storage

  • Store your vegan salted caramel cups in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a couple of weeks.  

Notes

  • Coconut milk: Refrigerate the tin of coconut milk overnight, then only use the thick cream from the top of the can. 
  • For a nut-free version of these caramel stuffed cups, you can swap out the pecans for some salted pretzels. You can also top them with some popcorn but bear in mind that the popcorn will start to soften after the first day or so.
  • Sea salt: These caramel chocolate cups taste even more amazing with a sprinkle of sea salt or Maldon flakes.

Nutrition

Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 108mg | Potassium: 338mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 23IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 5mg
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