Of the things in life I love most, chocolate and caramel are pretty high on the list. But, unfortunately for me, consuming inordinate amounts of chocolate and caramel isn’t exactly the healthiest decision ever.
Enter these raw pumpkin spiced caramel cups. I ate four in succession without any hesitation or guilt. I also ate one as part of my (balanced?) breakfast today. All of this to say that these rule and my addiction to chocolate and caramel can live on – and be seasonally inspired by pumpkin! Hurrah, hurrah!
Guss and I were left to our own devices this weekend while Lawrence served groomsman duties for a wedding in Houston, and boy, did we party hard making these luscious cups.
They are crazy easy to put together, and use a minimal amount of ingredients. No refined sugar. Completely vegan and gluten-free. Gooey and chocolate-y. Delicious times a million. AKA everything you could ever want for in an indulgent treat.
Tip: if you have leftover pumpkin puree from a can, throw it in ice cube molds and freeze to add to smoothies. Like I said, Guss and I partied hard. Also, if you don’t care about these being vegan, you can sub in honey for maple syrup. You could also melt down your favorite chocolate, but this coconut oil method is what keeps the cups “raw.”
And that’s it. So easy to make and even easier to enjoy. In fact, I think I’ll head back to my fridge now and sneak a few more of these before the weekend comes to an end. Because what is a weekend without lots and lots of chocolate and caramel?
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3/4 cup pitted soft Medjool dates (about 9-10 dates)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- Line a mini muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.
- Whisk together coconut oil, cacao powder, and maple syrup. Pour one teaspoon of chocolate into each muffin liner, and tilt them to coat the sides. Place in the freezer for 15-20 minutes, until frozen solid.
- In a food processor fitted with the s-blade attachment, process dates until they form a ball. Add coconut oil and process for about 15 more seconds.
- Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula and add remaining ingredients. Process until combined — the caramel will be thick, so be sure to stir with the rubber spatula after to fully combine everything.
- Evenly distribute caramel into each of the cups (about a teaspoon each) and use your finger or a spoon to flatten the caramel into a layer. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- Pour remaining chocolate over top of the caramel (about a scant teaspoon per cup) and tilt the cups to make sure the chocolate covers the entire caramel surface.
- Freeze until ready to serve, or serve and enjoy immediately.
Let’s expand. Out of my immediate family, I have the most pronounced accent. A heavy user of “y’all” and “goodness gracious,” I’ve always been happy to have my little bit of twang. “Justified” has since changed my perception of twang, though. Based for the most part in rural Kentucky, the show sure doesn’t mess around with its lingo — we even have to use subtitles.
And while I may not use phrases like “horn-tossing mood” or “don’t rile the wagon master,” as soon we finish watching a couple of episodes, I feel my drawl expanding. And I kind of like it. (Hint: here’s a list of “colorful” Texas sayings that will give you something to yeehaw about).
You’re probably here for these pretzels, though. As you should be. I think pretzels can be a bit intimidating for people and leave them staying in the shadows of their mama’s apron (see what I’m doing here?). But, they’re really so easy, and once you put them in the oven, you’ll be chomping down in no time.
Even if this isn’t your first rodeo, keep a few things in mind. Be sure to use good, coarse salt – in the dough and for sprinkling. What is a pretzel without salt? No good. Also, be careful not to over-knead your dough or work it too hard when you’re rolling it out.
So, go on now, ya hear? Get all gussied up, throw your hat over the windmill, and eat these glorious pretzels. You’ll be happy as a hog in the mud.
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups hot water (about 110 degrees)
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 3 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt + more for sprinkling
- 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
- 1/4 cup baking soda + 8 cups water
- Place water, yeast, and honey in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Let sit for 10 minutes.
- Add bread flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and rosemary. Knead with the dough hook attachment for several minutes until all ingredients come together to produce a smooth dough. If your kitchen is hot, you will likely need the extra 1/2 cup of water.
- Place dough in a lightly greased mixing bowl and cover with dishtowels. Let rise for about 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
- Divide dough into 12 equal pieces, then roll each piece into a long rope (about 14-16 inches long). Twist each rope into a small pretzel and place on the prepared baking sheets. Let sit.
- Bring baking soda and water to a boil in a large pot. Using a small strainer or slotted spatula, drop 3 pretzels in the water at a time. Cook for 30 seconds, then flip each pretzel and cook the bottom side for 30 more seconds.
- Remove from water and place back on the prepared baking sheets, topside up. Let cool slightly (about 30 seconds) before generously sprinkling each pretzel with salt.
- Bake pretzels for 8-10 minutes, until they are a deep golden brown and cooked throughout. Let cool on the baking sheets for 1 minute before removing to a wire rack to cool further. Serve warm and enjoy.
This was supposed to be a frittata full of all sorts of fun veggies. But things happen, and somehow fun veggies end up being roasted for dinner after you realize that two people probably couldn’t down a whole frittata all by themselves.
Right around the same time, you also realize you caught “pumpkin fever” and just have to go to find some pumpkin puree and do super fun things with it immediately.
I would say a browned butter graham cracker crust and swirls of quality dark chocolate are particularly fun. Wouldn’t you? Oh, and I guess I should mention that there’s browned butter in the pumpkin base also. Like I was saying…FUN.
If you think you know how to make the best funfetti cake around, you’re probably wrong. Unless you’re Molly Yeh. Go read about her extensive testing with funfetti and how to get the best results. She made homemade sprinkles, y’all.
Lawrence doesn’t love peanut butter quite like I do, but he might after he tries this three-ingredient peanut butter fudge. Only five minutes of cooking time and no processed ingredients. All the yum.
Brussels sprouts and I are in a very committed relationship, and these tart cherry glazed B-sprouts just cement that love even further. Thank you, Love & Olive Oil.
You know those roasted veggies I was talking about earlier? This makes me want to toss them in some really tasty quinoa, pack it up, and take it to my office for a healthy meal.
And here’s some chocolate for you, because it just wouldn’t be a good weekend without an extra dose of the good stuff. Salted chocolate macadamia apricot bites. Yum.
Anyway, I hope you’ve all caught pumpkin fever, too. Turns out being “sick” can be quite fun.
- 1 1/3 cup unsalted butter, browned
- 12 graham crackers
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- One 15 ounce can of pure pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 6 ounces quality dark chocolate (72-78%)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a food processor fitted with an s-blade attachment, grind graham crackers into a very fine crumb. Pour 2/3 of a cup of the melted browned butter into the food processor with the graham crackers and process until incorporated. Reserve the rest of the butter in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Evenly spread the graham cracker mixture into the bottom of the 8×8. Use the back of your hands to flatten it properly.
- Bake for 5 minutes, then remove from oven and let cool while you assemble the filling.
- Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
- In the large mixing bowl with the reserved browned butter, add the pumpkin puree and sugars. Stir with a rubber spatula until thoroughly combined. Add egg and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
- Add flour mixture to the pumpkin base in increments, stirring thoroughly to rid the batter of any lumps. It should be thick, but smooth.
- Melt the chocolate in a microwave and let cool slightly.
- Add half of the pumpkin filling on top of the cooled graham cracker crust and spread into an even layer. Drizzle half the melted chocolate over top, then use a knife to swirl the chocolate and pumpkin together. Repeat.
- Bake for 28-32 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Let cool in the pan before serving and enjoying.
Guess what? I wrote a guest post! This beautiful, crunchy granola is over on A Cup of Jo right now as part of their delicious food series.
The granola is part of an apple-themed series, and it was so tasty to test recipes and be a part of this. I’ll show you a couple pictures here, but head over to Joanna’s site for the full recipe, more photos, and other tasty apple dishes coming soon.
A few hints at how awesome this recipe is: you don’t need to peel any apples and everything comes together in one baking sheet. Yep. You read right. You mix all the goodness up on the baking sheet that you then slide into the oven.
So, to review, you’ve got lots of apples, glorious maple flavor, and about 5 minutes of prep. You want the recipe, right? Go visit Joanna’s blog for all the good stuff.
There’s really nothing more to moments like that, except how fantastic you feel when you finally bite into that buttery biscuit. It melts in your mouth while your worries melt away.
Aren’t those some biscuits you want? Yes. The answer is yes.
And you know what the good news is about these biscuits? You only need one bowl — everything is mixed together in under 5 minutes. And then they bake for 15 minutes. Super quick, no-knead biscuits. Filled with bacon and sharp white cheddar cheese. Yum.
Do you need to know anything else about these biscuits? I don’t think so. Basically they are all of your biscuit dreams in one easy recipe.
Don’t wake me up. I’ll be eating biscuits.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 cup bacon, cooked and diced
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in cheese and bacon.
- Using your hands, cut in the butter until only a few pea-sized pieces remain. Pour in heavy cream, and mix together the batter with a rubber spatula until all ingredients are fully incorporated.
- Using a 1/4-cup scoop, drop dough onto the baking sheet and slightly reshape and flatten each scoop to be more like discs.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool slightly, then serve warm and enjoy.
I try not the be too over-the-top here when I describe recipes and how much I like them. But summer is leaving us, and I got a craving for some peach coffee cake….and ended up making the best coffee cake you will ever eat.
Everything about it is A+. Times a million. The sweetness of the roasted peaches and raspberries pairs with the tanginess of the sour cream cake in wondrous fashion. The crumb on top is so delectable, and the toastiness of the almonds brings every bite together.
I feel like I’m in Ratatouille, waxing poetic about all the cheeses, but this coffee cake is just such a winner. And I know you’re saying “Elisabeth, peaches are almost out of season!” Have no fear, because you could use any combination of berries and this would still be stellar.
That’s enough of my raving, though. Here are some Guss Links to get you through the weekend. Woof!
This cacao avocado smoothie with raspberry jam looks out of this world. Y’all know I love my smoothies, and this one is definitely going in my arsenal.
Millet is a grain that I really enjoy, but typically only in savory forms. This sweet baked millet with berries might just change that. Wow.
Five words. Oatmeal chocolate chip breakfast cups. Half Baked Harvest routinely has amazing recipes, and this one is no exception. And the gif in this post is everything!
And to end with a bang, molten chocolate banana bread. The photos alone are absurdly delicious. All the yum. You must click.
Have the most wonderful weekend, y’all. And make some coffee cake!
- 1 medium yellow peach, sliced
- 6 ounces raspberries
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2/3 cup sour cream
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and place peach slices and raspberries on top. Pour coconut oil over the fruit and stir to coat.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the peach edges start to crisp and the raspberries slightly blacken and release juices. Remove from oven and let cool 15 minutes before proceeding. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cinnamon, and the chopped almonds. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Cut in butter with your hands, until only pea-sized pieces remain. Take one cup of the mixture and mix it into the brown sugar almond mixture. Set aside.
- In the large bowl, stir in baking soda, baking powder, sour cream, the egg, and vanilla extract with a rubber spatula. Mixture will be very thick, and will take several minutes to mix thoroughly until smooth.
- Spread 2/3 of the batter on the bottom of the springform pan. Flip the fruit and their juices onto the batter and spread evenly. Spread remaining batter over top the fruit. It will not cover everything. Pour crumble mixture on top and lightly shake pan to spread the crumble.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack, with the outside of the springform removed. Let cool completely, before serving and enjoying.
California treated us well, especially when we loaded my purse with bread, avocados, hummus, and grapes, and then proceeded to find that perfect shady spot in a park to picnic and then nap. Vacations are wonderful like that.
And then there was our great search for the best cold pressed juices in San Francisco. Tough life. Happy Moose Juice had the cutest packaging, but I think Pressed Juicery won us over with their chocolate almond milk. And their location in Palo Alto had a healthy soft serve bar that was out of this world. Move to Austin, Pressed? Please?
We also stocked up on lots of snacks to get us through our adventure-filled days, so some variety of nuts and fresh produce and energy bars were always in my purse at the ready. We basically went on a tour of all the grocery stores in the Bay Area. It was fun, but it did make us miss our Whole Foods and the tacos that are a staple of our diet.
In terms of macarons, we ate a lot. I’m talking all the flavors. Cherry bourbon! Peanut butter and jelly! And then the Miette macarons were stellar, of course. There was also a bag of local granola I bought to bring back to Austin that was somehow eaten two days before we left. Weird how that happened…
But then we came back to Texas, the heat hitting us hard, and we had to settle back in to our little corner of the world with the basset. And I made this bread with lots of hatch chile spice to help us acclimate. And everything felt right.
California was good to us for a week, but Texas is good to us forever.
(Bread notes: The amount of water you need depends on how hot your kitchen is when you’re making the dough. I needed two cups, but most of you with cooler kitchens could probably go with one and half cups. You’ll know. Use most, but not all, of the seeds from the 2-3 chiles you chopped, unless you want things extra spicy.)
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon yeast
- 1 cup hatch chiles, chopped with seeds
- 1 1/2 – 2 cups water
- In a mixing bowl, combine bread flour, salt, and yeast. Stir in hatch chiles with a rubber spatula, then add water, until no flour remains and the dough is wet and sticky.
- Place dough in a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm, draft-free place for 12-14 hours. The dough should have expanded and become even more sticky.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees and place Dutch oven, with the lid, inside.
- Place dough onto a heavily floured work surface and shape it into a loaf. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until it has spread out and risen, about 30 minutes.
- Remove Dutch oven from the oven and carefully flip dough into it. Shake the Dutch oven slightly to spread the dough if it doesn’t flip properly.
- Bake for 30 minutes with the lid, then remove lid and bake for 15 more minutes. The bread should be golden brown when removed from the oven and sound hollow when tapped. Place bread on a wire rack to cool completely before serving and enjoying.