Happy Fall Equinox!! It’s here, my most favorite time of the year. So much change is in the air right now as we are moving from the busy, summer months of being outside and going non-stop, into the cooler, slower months of comfort and cozy. Staying in, watching movies, cuddling up with a hot mug of homemade soup and of course, pumpkin spice everything!
I returned, this past weekend, from my travels to the east coast, where it was cooler, the leaves were changing color and the crisp bite of autumn was definitely in the air. Unfortunately, I returned here to Southern California’s 100º temperatures and raging summer vibes. Apparently the west coast hasn’t quite gotten the memo yet that summer is over. Even with the hot, summer weather, I had been dreaming of homemade pies, pumpkin spice lattes, apple crisps and hot apple cider. So, I improvised.
I made a batch of my homemade pumpkin butter in the crock-pot, to get the house smelling like fall, without the heat of the oven. I came up with these delicious Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Butter Cups to highlight the homemade pumpkin butter and combine two of my most favorite things in the world, dark chocolate and the flavors of fall!
With the warming spices of the homemade pumpkin butter and the cool, chilled dark chocolate surrounding it, these simple, sweet and spiced chocolates are basically perfection in two bites. An incredible way to usher in and celebrate the Autumnal Equinox and the best way to prepare for the cooler weather that lies ahead (hopefully). The addition of the chia seeds not only keeps the filling thick and easier to work with, but it also brings the superfood status of this dessert to the next level, which I can always get behind! Oh and for those that are into Halloween, these would make for an awesome homemade Halloween treat.
These chilled pumpkin filled chocolate treats embody everything that is so great about fall, without having to endure the heat of the oven while making a pie or sipping on a scalding hot pumpkin spice latte. Bite into the hardened dark chocolate outside and you are met with an oozy, gooey, spiced pumpkin filling on the inside.
- 8-9 ounces of dairy-free, dark chocolate*
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ½ cup chilled spiced pumpkin butter
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- pinch of fine grain sea salt
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, all-spice, etc)
- couple pinches of sea salt
- Start by making the pumpkin butter filling, to give it time to thicken up. Add the pumpkin butter, chia seeds and a pinch of sea salt to a small bowl. Mix very well to combine and allow it to sit in the refrigerator, while you prep the chocolate.
- Line a 12-cup mini-muffin pan with paper liners. If not using liners, with a little coconut oil on some wax paper or a paper towel, very lightly grease a non-stick mini-muffin pan. You could also use a silicon candy mold. Set the pan aside. Melt the dark chocolate with the coconut oil, either very carefully in a double boiler setup on the stove top or in small increments in the microwave. After the chocolate and coconut oil is melted, whisked together and well combined, remove from the heat (if you melted it on the stove).
- Using about 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate per cup, add to each cup of your mini-muffin tin. Grabbing either side of the tin, swirl the pan around to start moving the chocolate up the sides of each cup. Try to get it all the way up if you can. You can also use a pastry brush or spoon to push it up the sides. Just don’t add too much chocolate on this first go, you need to save room for the filling and top. Place the muffin tin into the freezer to allow the chocolate to set.
- Once the chocolate has hardened about 15-20 minutes, pull the muffin tin out of the freezer and add about another ½ - 1 teaspoon of melted chocolate to each cup, to make sure the side walls of the cup are thick and sturdy enough. Place back into the freezer to set up. After about 15-20 minutes, remove the pan from the freezer and spoon about 1 teaspoon of the pumpkin butter filling to each cup (it should be nice and thick at this point). Place back into the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Then take the remaining melted chocolate and evenly distribute it amongst the cups. Pouring it over the pumpkin butter filling and ensuring it fills the entire cup. You can smooth the tops with the back of a spoon, if necessary. Place the muffin tin back into the freezer to allow the chocolate to harden. This will probably only take about 30 minutes, total.
- Once hardened, remove the muffin tin from the freezer and carefully pop or slide each chocolate mini-cup from the tin and peel off the paper liner, if used. This should happen very easily. Sprinkle the spiced sugar topping on each cup. Store these in the fridge or freezer or they will get pretty soft and melt, if hot enough. Enjoy!