1/4cupmaple syrup (I prefer grade A)(2.75 ounces / 80 grams)
For topping the cups:
~2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
~1 tablespoon cacao nibs
~1 teaspoon flaky salt (such as Maldon)
Make the pistachio butter:
In a food processor, grind the pistachios to a smooth paste, 10 minutes. The mixture will become very warm. Add the honey, salt, and oil, and process until smooth again (the mixture will be clumpy at first), 5-10 more minutes, letting the mixture cool if it becomes too warm and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Measure out 1/2 cup (5 ounces / 140 gramof the pistachio butter into a bowl; reserve the rest for another use. Stir in the chopped pistachios, then cover and chill in the refrigerator or freezer until cold and firm enough to hold its shape, 1-2 hours or up to a week or two.
Make the raw chocolate:
Place the cacao butter, cacao powder, maple syrup, and vanilla in a metal, heat-proof bowl set over a pot of hot, steaming (but not simmerinwater. Chocolate is delicate stuff, so heat it gently, stirring occasionally, until it is melted and smooth. Remove from the pot and let the chocolate cool slightly, whisking occasionally until smooth and slightly thickened. (If the mixture looks slightly separated or broken, don't worry; proceed with the recipe and it should work out fine.)
Make the cups:
Drizzle a very thin layer of chocolate in the bottom of each cup and tilt to coat. Freeze until firm, 5 minutes. Drizzle another thin layer of chocolate in a cup, and quickly place a small scoop of pistachio butter, about a teaspoon, right in the center of the molten chocolate. The chocolate will rise up around the sides, enclosing the nut butter, and the whole thing should come to 3/4 of the way up the paper cup. Drizzle more chocolate over the top of the cup, and sprinkle with a pinch each of chopped pistachio, cacao nibs, and flaky salt.
Repeat with the remaining cups. When all are filled and topped, freeze until firm. The cups must be stored in the refrigerator as the raw chocolate softens at room temperature. They will keep, airtight, for up to several weeks.
This recipe makes twice as much nut butter as you'll need for the cups, but you'll need this amount to make your food processor go if it's a standard size. Feel free to double the chocolate and toppings to make 36 nut butter cups.I used honey in the nut butter, but you could use maple sugar, coconut nectar, or brown rice syrup for a vegan option. (I think maple syrup would be overly liquid and would make the filling difficult to work with.)You can also use 1/2 cup of store bought pistachio butter if you prefer, skipping the food processor instructions. Full disclaimer: my nut butter was more brown than green (until I futzed with the colors in Lightroom). I think that blanching and peeling the brown skin off of the nuts would yield a greener butter, but this was the easy method.If you're an avid raw-foodist, you'll want to let the nut butter cool as you puree it lest it become too hot, and melt the raw chocolate very gently to keep it at a low temperature.Feel free to trade the pistachio butter for 1/2 cup of any nut butter you like, such as almond, hazelnut, or peanut. I found raw cacao butter, powder, and nibs at my local natural foods co-op. Or you could use 8 ounces melted and tempered bittersweet chocolate in its place.Nutritional values are based on one of eighteen cups.