Pumpkin Caramel Chocolate Cups

Halloween is getting closer and I thought it best to honor the holiday with these perfectly sweet pumpkin caramel cups. And, I gotta say…these are straight up divine. The combination of sweet, salty, and pumpkin spice flavors with a delicate bite and soft center is just right. It’s ridiculous, really.

You will end up with a little extra date caramel, but luckily, there are many other ways to use it: spread onto dark chocolate squares, use as a dip for apples or pears, mix into yogurt, stir into nut butter, dollop on top of baked acorn squash or sweet potato, or simply eat with a spoon.

By the way, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my pumpkin spice chocolate clusters. These are another winning combo and great for Halloween as well! Watch the replay of my segment HERE. Also, if you can believe it, this month marked my one-year anniversary of going on the show!

Cheers and enjoy!

Caramel ingredients:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked for 5 minutes in boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4-5 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Dash of sea salt

Chocolate ingredients:

  • 8 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 5 Tbsp coconut sugar, or more if you want it sweeter
  • Dash of sea salt

Garnish:

  • Maldon sea salt, to garnish (find HERE)

pumpkin cups and date caramel

Directions:

  1. Add the softened dates to the food processor, along with the water, 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Pulse to combine. If mixture still seems a bit too thick or chunky, add the remaining 1 Tbsp of coconut milk and blend again until smooth. Set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Be careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate or it will seize! Once melted, stir in the coconut sugar and pinch of sea salt. Whisk until dissolved.
  3. Line a mini muffin pan with paper liners and add about 1 tsp of the melted chocolate to each liner. Then, add about 1 tsp of the date caramel to each and flatten out slightly (and gently) with back of spoon. Top each cup with another 1 tsp of melted chocolate. Garnish each cup with Maldon sea salt and place in fridge to set. If you want these to set faster, you can place in freezer.
  4. Store any leftover caramel in refrigerator and use within a week.

Yields: ~21 cups

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Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Clusters

Okay, it’s October and I’ve officially transitioned into pumpkin spice mode, but within reason. I figured I had to create some sort of sweet bite utilizing pumpkin spice since it’s kinda expected this time of year. And, really, I don’t mind being a taste-tester since I don’t make stuff like this very often. I especially love licking the spoon, but sometimes let my husband in on the experience too.

Meanwhile, these clusters are a lovely balance of nuttiness, crunch, spice, salt, and sweet. The pumpkin pie spice becomes more prominent overnight, making these even better the next day. These are super simple to make too, but I do warn you to be careful when melting the chocolate. Moisture, even one drop, will make your chocolate seize and though it is potentially fixable, it’s a pain in the butt and not fun. I speak from experience — this happened the first time I tested this recipe. I was able to fix the chocolate after a Google search, but it took a long time and a lot of fuss. I’ve had it happen another time a long time ago too, but had to totally pitch the chocolate. So sad. Don’t let it happen to you!

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. Catch the replay of me making these on KATU Afternoon Live from October 18 HERE! This was also my one-year anniversary going on the show!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup large flaked unsweetened coconut
  • 3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds/pepitas
  • 6 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (I used this brand)
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar, or more if you want sweeter chocolate
  • 1.5 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • Maldon sea salt, to garnish (find HERE)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place raw pecans, pumpkin seeds, and coconut on a large baking sheet. Mix together and toast in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Give a stir and if needed, toast for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
  2. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over medium-low heat. Be careful not to get any moisture in the chocolate or it will seize! Once melted, stir in the coconut sugar, pinch of sea salt, and pumpkin spice. Whisk until dissolved.
  3. Remove chocolate from heat and stir the nut mixture into the chocolate. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and drop chocolate clusters in 1-2 Tbsp portions. Finally, garnish with Maldon sea salt.
  4. Leave on counter to set or place in the fridge to speed things up a bit.

Yields: 18-20 clusters, give or take (depending on size)

Cashew Butter and Jelly Bars

My gosh, these bars are something special, and my inner child is especially satisfied by such a delightful treat. These take me back to PB&J days as a kid, something that was often a staple in my lunchbox. Mom almost always used homemade jam and her strawberry was my favorite. It was probably the sandwich I ate most growing up (side note, but I also used to like bologna and ketchup sandwiches).

Back-to-school time isn’t too far away and that’s what inspired this rendition of a classic creation. I don’t have kids of my own (I do have two fur kids though), nor do I plan to have kids, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a back-to-school treat! But, back-to-school or not, kids or no kids, these are wonderful anytime and for all. Also, I will be featuring this recipe on KATU Afternoon Live later this month, so stay tuned! UPDATE: watch the replay of me making these on KATU Afternoon Live HERE.

Feel free to experiment with almond or sunflower seed butter, if you prefer. If you eat and tolerate peanuts, you can even use peanut butter, of course. The cashew butter is so good in this recipe though and a nice change of pace — at least for me (I really don’t eat cashews or cashew butter very often). The strawberry filling is so fresh and jammy tasting, but not overly sweet. And, overall, the bars as a whole are not too sweet either. If you ask me, these are just right.

Cheers and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

Filling:

  • 16 oz fresh strawberries, sliced and hulled (if need be)
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 1.5 Tbsp water

Crust:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 Tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew butter (I used this brand)

Topping:

  • 2 Tbsp + 2 tsp unsweetened cashew butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped (note: I dry toasted mine beforehand, but that’s optional)
  • Light sprinkling of fine Himalayan salt, optional (if using salted cashews or salted cashew butter, you may not need)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add strawberries and honey to medium saucepan over medium heat. Mash strawberries with a potato masher to break up the large pieces and release juice. In a small dish, dissolve the arrowroot powder into the water. Then, once the strawberries are mashed, but still a bit chunky, add the lemon juice and dissolved arrowroot mixture, and stir. Simmer over medium-low for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. In a food processor, gently pulse together the coconut flour, coconut sugar, and sea salt. Then, add the coconut oil, cashew butter, eggs, and vanilla. Pulse until mixture forms a ball.
  4. Press dough into bottom of 8×8 pan with fingers (note: greasing pan isn’t necessary, but feel free to line with parchment paper for super easy removal, if you like). Bake in preheated oven for 15-17 minutes or until light golden brown.
  5. Remove from oven and pour strawberry filling on top. Then, dollop cashew butter on top in teaspoon-sized increments (8 tsp total). Gently swirl cashew butter around with a chopstick or spoon handle. Sprinkle with the chopped cashews and the Himalayan salt, if using. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until strawberry topping is warm and bubbly.
  6. Let cool completely (about 2-3 hours) and then cut into desired-size squares. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Hibiscus Raspberry Rum Popsicles

hibiscus rum popsicles 3Alright, this is the last recipe in my popsicle series. Hopefully, three in a row isn’t overkill, but the recipes are all different and regardless, it’s summertime, so it’s appropriate! Plus, I’ll be talking about these recipes (and demoing how to make my chocolate mint popsicles) on KATU Afternoon Live next Wednesday, July 26. UPDATE: watch the replay of my popsicle segment HERE.

Meanwhile, these frozen treats are extra special in the sense that they are for adults only. And, actually, a bit of rum takes these from popsicle to poptail. To be honest, I hadn’t heard the term, poptail until I did a little research on boozy frozen treats. Of course, the term makes sense though and I’m rolling with it.

If adding alcohol to popsicles isn’t your jam, omit the rum and add some extra iced tea instead (and maybe some more raspberries too). If you’re going for the spiked version, but don’t have rum on hand, vodka is a great substitute. Also, you can experiment with a little less if you don’t want to taste the alcohol as much. If you opt to experiment with more, be careful because too much alcohol and these won’t freeze.

I have to admit, these are way better than I anticipated. They are quite refreshing and fruity with a kick of rum. The texture is a little slushy, which I enjoy, and check out that gorgeous color! All around, I think these are pretty exceptional.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup fresh-brewed unsweetened hibiscus iced tea, brewed according to package instructions (I used the brand, Smith Teamaker, which is made here in Portland. These are also larger tea bags, made for iced tea)
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey, or more if you want it sweeter
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp rum (white or gold)
  • Extra raspberries for adding to each mold, if desired

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend on medium-low for about 20-30 seconds, or until raspberries are pureed and everything is mixed well.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds (I used these molds), leaving about 1/2″ of space at the top. Distribute a few raspberries into each mold and then top with the remaining mixture. If desired, use the popsicle stick to stir the mixture in each mold.
  3. Freeze overnight. Once ready to eat, rinse mold under warm water briefly to remove popsicle.

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

Dairy-Free Banana Almond Butter Popsicles

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have more popsicle recipes for you all. I’m gearing up to do a popsicle segment in a couple weeks on KATU Afternoon Live and need to have a few options to present. So, this is the second recipe of three or four. Luckily, they’re all different, but hopefully, you don’t get sick of my sharing recipes for frozen treats on a stick!

Meanwhile, this combo is incredible in a classic kinda way and SO creamy. Like, insanely creamy. No sweetener of any sort is needed either, as the banana adds enough on its own. I think these are sure to win over kids and adults alike. Between these and the chocolate mint popsicles, I’m in popsicle heaven. Each day, I look forward to grabbing one out of the freezer and enjoying it out on the deck in the sunshine. Feels good and tastes good, too.

I used these molds, which yield six popsicles, but there was enough mixture for seven (I actually have two sets of the molds too, so no issues for me there). I recommend the following options if you have extra, but are out of molds: 1). drink it, 2). pour it into a little dish or jar and freeze (then scoop out and eat like ice cream), or 3). pour into a paper cup and add a popsicle stick mid-way through freezing.

Cheers and enjoy!

UPDATE: watch the replay of my KATU Afternoon Live popsicle segment HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut cream (I like this brand, which has no gums)
  • 2 just-ripe medium bananas, peeled and cut in half or into thirds
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond butter
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed.
  2. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze for 6-7 hours or overnight. Once ready, rinse mold under hot water to remove.

Yields: 6-7 popsicles

Chocolate Mint Popsicles

These chocolate mint popsicles are creamy and full of mint chip flavor. Not only that, but they’re dye-free, have no refined sugar, include a dose of protein and probiotics, and have vitamins and minerals from the spinach (and natural light green color to boot). They are not your average popsicle. They’re the perfect healthy treat on a hot day and I’ve definitely been enjoying my fair share. I went through two rounds of experimenting with this recipe, so I’ve had a freezer full. No complaints on my end!

In the directions, you’ll notice that I don’t add the chocolate pieces to the blender. It doesn’t work all that well if you do and I know since I tested it this way on my first trial run. The chocolate pieces break up a bit more, but then sink to the bottom, which means you then have to scoop them out by hand.

Meanwhile, I’ll be making these popsicles on KATU Afternoon Live at the end of the month, along with two other flavors (one of which will be for adults only). Stay tuned for those recipes!

Hope everyone had a happy Fourth of July! Cheers!

UPDATE: watch the replay of my KATU Afternoon Live segment HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups coconut cream (I used this brand, which has no gums)
  • 3/4 cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt, preferably grass-fed (I used this brand)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (use more if you want it sweeter)
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh spinach
  • 3-4 drops high-quality, dietary-safe peppermint essential oil OR 1/2 tsp peppermint extract (learn where to get therapeutic-grade oils here)
  • 2.5 oz good-quality dark chocolate bar, finely chopped (I used this one, which is lightly sweetened with coconut sugar)

Directions:

  1. To a high speed blender container, add all the ingredients, except the chocolate. Blend on high until smooth.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds, leaving a little space at the top of each mold. Then, disperse chocolate evenly among the molds. Top off with more of the mixture and stir a little with popsicle stick, if desired (chocolate will distribute a bit during freezing though).
  3. Freeze for 6-7 hours or overnight. Once ready, rinse mold under hot water briefly to remove popsicle.

Note: I used these molds, but the Dixie cup & popsicle stick method will do the trick as well. Just put the stick in halfway through freezing. This way, the sticks will stay centered.

Yields: 6 popsicles

 

Fourth of July Panna Cotta

Fourth of July is only five days away! Can you believe it? I’m never totally ready for it to come because summer always seems to fly by in the blink of an eye after the Fourth is over. We don’t have any plans other than working a little that morning (I am anyway — not sure about Jesse) and keeping our kitties company in the evening. Our cat, Frankie, is terrified of fireworks and loud noises in general, but our other cat, Dutch doesn’t seem to mind much. Anyway, we want to be there for Frankie since she gets so stressed out. Poor kitty. During the day, maybe we’ll go for a bike ride or something. We’re playing it by ear.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a festive, healthy, and patriotic dessert to make, look no further. I’ve got you covered with this non-dairy Fourth of July panna cotta featuring coconut milk, blueberries, and raspberries. It has a hint of lemon flavor thanks to the lemon essential oil and tastes wonderful with the fresh berries.  If you don’t have access to the lemon essential oil, you can substitute lemon extract instead (1 tsp is probably enough, but it depends how lemony you want it). Strawberries would also be a great addition to this dessert if you want to add some extra red color and more berry flavor.

On another note, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live yesterday and made my summer “grain” salad with lemon tahini dressing. Watch the replay of the segment HERE.

Ingredients:

  • 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (this brand is great and has no gums)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp cold filtered water
  • 1-1/4 tsp gelatin powder, preferably grass-fed (I recommend this one or this one)
  • 1-2 Tbsp raw honey, or more if you want it sweeter
  • 4 drops high-quality, dietary-safe lemon essential oil (learn where to get therapeutic grade oils here)
  • Fresh blueberries and raspberries or strawberries, for serving
  • Toasted slivered almonds, for serving
  • Unsweetened coconut flakes or chips, for serving

Directions:

  1. Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle in the gelatin powder, allowing it to bloom. Set aside.
  2. Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan and heat on the stove over medium heat. Whisk in the vanilla and honey. Once the honey is fully dissolved, add the gelatin mixture and whisk until dissolved. Remove from heat and whisk in the lemon essential oil.
  3. Divide mixture equally among three individual size glasses or small bowls (small mason jars also work well). Place in fridge to set for at least 4 hours.
  4. Once set, top with desired amount of fresh blueberries and raspberries. Garnish with the slivered almonds and coconut.

Yields: 3 servings