No-bake chocolate pumpkin cake pops? Get 'em right here. Yes, they're a treat, but a healthy treat at that. I conjured up this recipe while trying to think of something that my kids would enjoy eating around Halloween that didn't involve high fructose corn syrup, trans fats or flour. These bad boys are grain-free, fairly simple to make and contain no refined sugar.
I picture these little nuggets of awesomeness making their way to a dessert table for either Halloween or Thanksgiving.
Now, I have to give myself a little pat on the back. I don't fancy myself much of a photographer and I'm hardly a food stylist, but most of the pictures for this recipe turned out really good! I took them with my iPhone and have spent far too much time geeking out with the different ways I can use light, or focus in on specific objects in the frame. I have something like 10,000 photos on my phone right now. About 40% are of my kids, another 40% are of food that I've made and 20% are random photos that my kids take when they hijack my phone....like the one below. Why they felt the need to take a picture of chalk is unknown...and why I still haven't deleted it is an even greater mystery.
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Pops
For this recipe, I opted to go with a can of pumpkin puree. If you've got a sugar pumpkin in your kitchen, bake or steam it and use that instead!
If you have an intolerance to nuts, this recipe isn't a complete bust. You could try substituting coconut flour instead. In my experience, coconut flour is a little drier, so you may need to add more pumpkin to compensate.
If you want a richer, less sweet pumpkin ball, omit a *little* bit of the honey. If you're like me and don't eat a lot of sugar, you'll have no problem picking up the sweetness...even if it contains less honey.
The pumpkin balls should be slightly smaller than a golf ball. What would that be? A ping pong ball? Yes, I think so. The pumpkin balls should be right around the size of a ping pong ball.
I added the cacao powder to make the flavor a little bolder. This is an optional step. If you can't get your hands on cacao powder, don't worry about it.
The thing that I like most about this recipe is that it's really just a little bit of chocolate. The taste of the dark chocolate complements the sweetness of the pumpkin mixture really well. Using milk chocolate would be overkill in the sweet department...and kind of defeat the purpose of making a healthy recipe in the first place!
It's time to let the dipping begin.
If you're interested in the type of cacao powder I used, here it is.
How to Make These Cake Pops
Chocolate Pumpkin Cake Pops
yields 20 pops
1 1/3 c. almond flour
1/2 c. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 c. honey (or agave nectar)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. all spice
1 1/4 c. dark chocolate chunks
1 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. cacao powder (optional)
Lollipop sticks: You can find them at any party goods or craft store.
1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
2. Mix together almond flour and all spice in a medium-size bowl
3. Add pumpkin, honey and vanilla to almond mixture. Mix well.
4. Using a melon baller, or your hands, make small lollipop-size balls from the mixture.
5. Place balls on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze for one to two hours. They'll be firm, but manageable.
Just before you take the balls out of the freezer, get your chocolate sauce ready.
6. Double boil the chocolate and coconut oil.*
7. Remove chocolate from heat when it's nearly completely melted.
8. Add in cacao powder.
9. Transfer melted chocolate to any tall glass. This will come in handy when dipping the pops.
10. Remove balls from freezer and insert sticks.
11. Immediately dip balls into chocolate sauce and replace on parchment paper to set.
If your kitchen is warm, it would be a good idea to keep these refrigerated as the chocolate can melt. If it's cool enough (anything below 75 degrees or so), the pops should be fine left out.
*I love using coconut oil. It's loaded with healthy medium-chain triglycerides that get converted to energy much quicker than just about any other fat. The bonus when it comes to baking or cooking is that it turns to solid at 76 degrees. This means your chocolate sauce will harden!