It just does. As soon as the weather turns chilly, we start to see pumpkin patches, and pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. Every year this beautiful gourd gets its moment in the spotlight. Luckily, in the past few decades we have seen pumpkin extend past the obligatory pie and into breads, pastries, and savory dishes.
Flavor-wise pumpkin is a blank canvas; I don’t mean that in a bad way – it’s actually a very good thing. Its mild flavor means it can play nicely with lots of other ingredients. It is a fairly easy ingredient to use, and highly nutritious. Plus, pumpkin just has this vibrant, fall-vibe hue that brightens any dish. What more can you ask?
Annnd that’s why I created the pumpkin cream cup. You’ve heard of peanut butter cups, almond butter cups, even coconut cups. Now I bring you pumpkin cream cups. The slight bitterness of the dark chocolate coating balances the spiced, aromatic pumpkin and coconut cream filling. It tastes like chocolate-covered pumpkin pie. A dessert/snack/whatever you call it that will wake up your tastebuds on any fall day.
4 ounces dark chocolate, unsweetened: has a significant amount of fiber;
2 tbs. pureed pumpkin: loaded with vitamin A for immune health;
2 tbs. coconut cream*: filled with vitamin E to combat free radical damage;
¼ tsp vanilla extract: contains vanillin which can lower inflammation;
¼ tsp cinnamon + a pinch: anti-inflammatory;
¼ tsp. ground ginger: contains gingerol to reduce inflammation;
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg: has antibacterial properties;
1/8 tsp salt, + a pinch: rich in various minerals;
1 tbs. coconut oil: contains MCT’s that may boost brain function;
4 tsp. monk fruit/erythritol sweetener (or sweetener of choice) divided**: has been shown to not affect blood sugar levels;
Line a strainer with a coffee filter or cheesecloth. Scoop pumpkin into lined strainer and using a spatula, gently press pumpkin to remove excess liquid. Let strain for at least two hours or up to overnight. In a double boiler over medium-low heat melt chocolate, a pinch of salt, coconut oil, 2 tsp. of sweetener, and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir regularly to ensure chocolate doesn’t scorch. Take off heat once chocolate has melted completely. Meanwhile scrape the solid cream from the top of the can of coconut cream (a little liquid is okay). Using an electric beater, whip coconut cream until creamy. Add vanilla and mix until cream is smooth and vanilla is well incorporated. Set aside. Next, place strained pumpkin, ¼ tsp of cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, and 2 tsp. of sweetener in medium bowl. With an electric beater (no need to clean the beaters) beat pumpkin mixture until fluffy. Gently fold in whipped coconut cream until no white streaks are visible. Set aside. Line muffin tins with 6 cupcake liners. Using a spoon or pastry brush to evenly coat chocolate on the bottom of each liner and 1/3 of the way up the sides of each cup. Tap muffin tin a few times on a flat surface to get rid of any bubbles.
Place muffin tin flat in freezer for 10 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Remove from freezer and scoop ½ tsp. of pumpkin mixture, making sure to spread evenly.
Set tin back in freezer for about 20 minutes or until pumpkin mixture is firm. Remove from freezer. Spoon chocolate on top of pumpkin mixture (note: the temperature of the pumpkin will harden the chocolate fairly quickly) making sure to completely coat the pumpkin mixture. Set back in freezer for at least another 10 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.
Can be kept in freezer until ready to eat or stored in refrigerator for up to one week (if they last that long).
– Progress, Not Perfection –
*refrigerate can of coconut milk for at least four hours to solidify cream.
**The amount of sweetener will depend on the type used. Check instructions on sweetener package for conversion.