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

Advertisements

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)

Cacao Surprise Truffles

IMG_4085

I made these kinda last minute for Jesse and me to enjoy on Valentine’s Day and we ended up eating the whole batch that night. I figure, it’s a half an avocado each, so why not? Plus, these are perishable and best not to store in the fridge for too long. And, there’s also the part about these being incredibly delicious and decadent.

Anyway, since I wasn’t able to get any snapshots the day I made these, I had to make them again in order to do so (bummer, I know). Jesse and I weren’t too disappointed about it, to say the least.

Make sure you use a ripe avocado, otherwise they’ll taste kinda green. It doesn’t have to be overly ripe, but ripe enough and ready for eating.

Also, as some of you know, Jesse and I floated in a sensory deprivation tank yesterday evening. I will be recapping about this experience. Cheers!

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • 1.5 Tbsp raw honey
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 ripe medium avocado
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut and cacao powder for rolling, optional

(Note: cacao nibs, crushed nuts, goji berries, etc. would all be great options for rolling the truffles as well).

photo(3)

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the raw honey, cacao powder, cinnamon and cayenne. Once honey is dissolved and mixture is combined, remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  2. Peel and pit the avocado, and add to a food processor or blender. Process until nearly smooth. Then, add the chocolate mixture and process again, until smooth. Scrape down the sides and re-blend as needed. Alternatively, you can mash the avocado by hand with a fork (get all the lumps out) and then stir in the chocolate.
  3. Scrape chocolate avocado mixture out and into a bowl (unless you made it by hand, then you can keep it in the same bowl) and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 25-30 minutes.
  4. Once chilled, scoop out tablespoon-sized balls and roll between your hands to form a truffle (note: this part is messy and sticky!). Place each truffle on a foil or parchment paper lined plate. Chill in the refrigerator about 5-7 minutes.
  5. Remove from fridge and smooth out any rough/fuzzy looking spots on the truffles with your fingers. Then, roll half in cacao powder and half in unsweetened coconut shreds, or other toppings of choice.
  6. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Yields: about 13 truffles