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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Bean-Free Spiced Pumpkin Hummus

pumpkin hummus 2With the arrival of fall, I am turning more toward squashes and harvest produce for inspiration. As I said last week, I’m still not quite ready to dive into pumpkin spice everything, but I’m inching my way into the season with touches of cinnamon and winter squash (check out my harvest bowl recipe from last week if you haven’t). This recipe features both flavors, and makes for a lovely autumn twist on my original bean-free hummus recipe. Speaking of my other hummus recipe, I had been making repeated batches of it, but now, I’m switching it up and putting this one on repeat. It is incredibly tasty, though the other one is too!

Enjoy this hummus with veggie slices, plantain chips, grain-free tortilla chips, mixed into salads, on top of eggs, etc. There are many possibilities, so eat it however you like!

Cheers and enjoy!

P.S. I went back on KATU Afternoon Live on Tuesday, September 26 and made my harvest bowl recipe that I mentioned above. Watch the replay of my segment HERE.

pumpkin hummus

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 1 cup zucchini, diced
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Raw pumpkin seeds to garnish, if desired
  • Extra drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to garnish, if desired

Directions:

Place all ingredients except the garnishes in the food processor or blender. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides and blending again, as needed. Pour into bowl and garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and pumpkin seeds, if desired.

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

“Peanut Butter” Pumpkin Brownies

Brownies title shot

It’s been a while since I shared a treat recipe and truthfully, I try not to indulge in “paleo treats” too often. But, it’s just necessary sometimes, especially during pumpkin season.

Anyway, if you want the details of my “peanut butter” pumpkin brownies, go check out my guest post today over at Craving4more.

Cheers!

PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.

Pumpkin Caramel Bars

Pumpkin and winter squash are among my favorite fall foods! They taste great savory and sweet, and can be made a variety of ways. They are actually starches I can eat right now too, as I currently need to steer clear of any sort of yam, sweet potato or regular potato to continue healing.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this tasty fall-inspired dessert. Let me know know what you think, especially about the date caramel!

October 12, 2016 update: watch this replay of me making these bars on KATU Afternoon Live here in Portland!

For the pumpkin layer:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree (canned or fresh)
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened sunflower seed butter or unsweetened almond butter
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (I like this brand)

For the caramel layer:

  • 10-12 medjool dates, pitted and soaked briefly in boiling water
  • 3 Tbsp water
  • 4-5 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash of sea salt
  1. Mix coconut oil, honey, pumpkin and spices together in a small saucepan on the stove over low heat.
  2. After several minutes, once the ingredients are mixed together well, remove from heat and mix in the sunflower seed or almond butter and vanilla. Stir until everything is combined.
  3. Pour into an 8×8 pan or an 8 or 9-inch round baking pan. Place in the freezer to set.
  4. Meanwhile, get going on the caramel. Add the softened dates to the food processor, along with the water, 4 Tbsp of the coconut milk, sea salt 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. Please know, it’s not going to have the same texture as traditional caramel.
  5. Take your pumpkin layer out of the freezer after 45-60 minutes and top with the date caramel. Place back in the freezer to set further. Store in the refrigerator (or freezer if you like a more solid/frozen bar – it’s good either way!)

10 Fall-inspired Recipes

Autumn Leaves
Autumn Leaves (Photo credit: blmiers2)

As you may have noticed, I didn’t do a post yesterday. I actually had the time and intention to while I was at school (during some downtime, not during class of course), but the wifi was being wonky and I couldn’t get online the majority of the day. I did forewarn you that I may be posting one or two days less per week though, so hopefully it didn’t come as much of a surprise … or who knows, maybe you didn’t even notice. To be honest, it felt kinda good to have a day off from blogging, and midweek too.

The days have been long this week, especially yesterday. I was grateful to come home to a lovely grass-fed roast in the Crock Pot, similar to what I made a few weeks ago (see it here). Thank the universe for slow cookers … I loved mine before, but now with school and a more hectic schedule, I love it even more. I threw the roast in the slow cooker in the morning, after I got home from Recreate and while cooking breakfast. I prepped the veggies the night before and then browned the roast in a pan that morning, before putting everything in the Crock Pot together. I already know this, but for any of you with hectic schedules (as I’m sure many of you have), preparation is key. It will safe your butt big time!

Anyway, onto some stellar looking recipes. With autumn finally here, I thought I’d share these fall-inspried recipes that I came across recently. Hopefully, I’ll get around to trying them all at some point this fall, as they all look worthy of attention. These can all be found on some of my Pinterest boards, but you can easily get to each recipe by clicking on the photo as well.

'Real Pumpkin' Spice Steamer from The Urban Poser
‘Real Pumpkin’ Spice Steamer from The Urban Poser.
Grain-free sausage and apple stuffing from Balanced Bites
Grain-free sausage and apple stuffing from Balanced Bites.
Bacon acorn squash patties from PaleOMG
Bacon acorn squash patties from PaleOMG.
Creamy coconut pumpkin fudge from Tropical Traditions.
Creamy coconut pumpkin fudge from Tropical Traditions.
Butternut squash fries from The Urban Poser
Butternut squash fries from The Urban Poser.
Cinnamon-braised beef cheeks from The Paleo Mom
Cinnamon-braised beef cheeks from The Paleo Mom.
Grain-free pumpkin pie bars with creamy frosting from Spoonful of Sugar Free
Pumpkin pie bars with creamy frosting from Spoonful of Sugar Free.
Apple butter from morethanpaleo.com
Apple butter from morethanpaleo.com.
Butternut Squash Au Gratin with Crispy Shallots from Destiny In Bloom
Butternut Squash Au Gratin with Crispy Shallots from Destiny In Bloom
Acorn squash with chili lime vinaigrette from Smitten Kitchen
Acorn squash with chili-lime vinaigrette from Smitten Kitchen.