Modified for Moscow

Every Tuesday I have been volunteering at a local church ( with a group called Pelmeshke Na Pleshke ( We put together a simple meal for the homeless and distribute it near a metro stop along with donated clothes, basic meds and documents for work.

While preparing the meals we also share food with each other. People bring soup, leftovers, tea, biscuits etc for everyone. My husband’s namesday (the day the church celebrates your saint) was last Tuesday, so I decided to make a special dessert and share it with the group (since many of the boys are named Andrei as well!).

As it is still lent I chose to make Vegan Peanut Butter Cups from a recipe that my sister-in-law shared with me. I had to modify the recipe to fit available ingredients in their available weight units and of course my kitchen limitations.

Below you will find first the original recipe followed by my revised version.

Alicia Silverstone’s Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups

1/2 cup Earth Balance butter
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (preferably unsweetened and unsalted)
3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs or 10 graham cracker squares
1/4 cup maple sugar or other granulated sweetener
1 cup grain-sweetened, nondairy chocolate or carob chips
1/4 cup soy, rice, or nut milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans, almonds, or peanuts

1. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. (If You Care makes unbleached liners made from recycled paper.) Set aside.
2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.
3. Stir in the peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs, and maple sugar and mix well.
4. Remove the mixture from the heat. Evenly divide the mixture, approximately 2 tablespoons per cup, among the muffin cups.
5. Combine the chocolate and milk in another pan. Stir over medium heat until the chocolate has melted.
6. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture.
7. Top with chopped nuts.
8. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving.

Olya’s American-Moscovian Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites (Double the original recipe)


*an eyeballed and estimated 216 grams ‘Kazhdei Den” margarinebased on the google search “how many grams are there in a cup of margarine?”
*24 tablespoonsbecause all I have is a set of measuring spoons I brought from home and I’m hoping that it’s 16 tablespoons for one cup of any ingredientsALGOOD Peanut Butter. This is only available at the enormous grocery store Ashan because no one eats peanut butter in Moscow. Note to self: don’t forget to post about grocery stores
*24 tablespoons ‘K Posty’ Lenten Tea Cookie crumbs or a little less than one pack
*8 tablespoons sugar in the rawconveniently the exact amount leftover over in this apartment from the previous guest. Not sure if it was up for grabs, but I completely forgot to buy some and was NOT about to make ANOTHER trip to the store. For further explanation, see next ingredient
*350 grams Russian Gorki/Tyomni (Bitter/Dark) Chocolatenot the chocolate pictured. Why, you ask? Because when they restock aisles at Ashan they yell and scream, kick everyone out of the aisle and close it. This happened as I was browsing chocolate. Too bad ‘K Posty’ doesn’t have a chocolate line to accompany their lenten cookies so that my choice could have been simpler and easier to find. I tried as long as possible to pretend I couldn’t hear or understand the aisle police, but the fear of being arrested or deported for dilly-dallying in the chocolate aisle of a grocery store made it impossible to read Russian ingredients quickly and thoroughly. I ended up grabbing 400 grams of whatever chocolate I was holding at the moment. When it came time to top the peanut butter mixture with melted chocolate I reread the ingredients in peace and realized I bought a brand with milk fat! So back to the store I went (one closer and more expensive) and had to buy only 350 grams of a bitter chocolate that was in fact vegan. I managed to forget the sugar again and was NOT about to go out for a third grocery store trip. What happened to the original chocolate? …We are still eating it. Can’t let it be wasted – another lent loophole!
*7-8 tablespoons olive oila recommendation from my sister in law. Also because I have yet to see soy milk here
*I forgot to buy any nuts for topping


1. Crush the cookies with a potato masher. After most of the cookies are crushed, use a colander over a bowl to sift out the pieces that are still too big and crush them again.

2. Line a baking dish with foil. (Have not seen cupcake paper liners, let alone eco-friendly ones) Set aside.

3. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat.
4. Stir in the peanut butter, cookie crumbs, and sugar and mix well.

5. Remove the mixture from the heat. Spread the mixture into the baking dish and put it in the fridge.
6. Melt the chocolate in an improvised double boiler and stir in the oil.

7. Spoon the chocolate evenly over the peanut butter mixture.
8. Place in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours before serving. Cut into bars and share the joy.

I presented the bites to the volunteers. They were a hit! A new guy, named Andrei (surprise, surprise), asked someone else what they were made of. “Peanut butter,” they answered. He then replied (without knowing where I am from), “Hm…only Americans eat peanut butter”


5 Responses to “Modified for Moscow”

  1. Sounds like quite an adventure. You were determined to make those cookies, but they sound worth it.
    Love it when people say strange things about Americans because they either don’t know or forget that you are one.

    • They definitely were delicious! Yeah, it’s fun to hear what people think about America when they don’t know you are American. I haven’t heard anything too awful yet 🙂 Next I want to try to make gooey bars (or Magic bars I guess they are officially named) with sweetened condensed milk. They have tons of that here, but graham crackers are the issue. Not sure the lenten cookies will fit this time.


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