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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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.