Desserts

Chocolate & Caramelized Pecan Cups

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These are little bites of heaven. I can’t get enough of them. Neither can anyone who’s tried them. Homemade chocolate is incredibly delicious and packed with all the goodness of raw cacao (think dairy free, refined sugar free). But let’s face it- just chocolate per se, is a little “boring”. I’ve tried a variety of things to bring out different flavors; initially just small tweaks like adding peanut butter, almond butter or sunflower butter for good, healthy fats. I also tried adding sliced, roasted almonds and that made for a nice crunch and some good protein.

Until I had an epiphany while pulverizing pecans for a crust and started smelling (more like yoga-style deeply inhaling) that caramel-like smell that always rises when they’re in the food processor. How good would caramelized pecans be in chocolate? And what if I caramelize them with honey? I headed to the bulk section of my local health store and looked for pecans. Not only did I find regular pecans, I found honey roasted ones. I bought a little bag full and eagerly ate them on my way home, studying them with each bite. That’s what cooks do. You try something & you start working a recipe in your head, substituting things that might not suit your diet while emulating the flavors that are worth attempting to replicate. It sounds confusing, but it’s such an easy brainstorm- and it doesn’t even happen on paper. It’s all a conversation between my taste buds & my brain. Yep, just those two. They always have a good way to work it out. And then off to the kitchen I go…

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Chocolate & Caramelized Pecan Cups

Ingredients: Makes 12 

  • 1/3 cup of good quality coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup of raw cacao
  • 3 tbsp of pure maple syrup (to start, do a little taste test & you can decide on adding more)
  • 1 tbsp of almond or sunflower butter
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1-2 tbsp of sesame seeds (optional)

Chocolate Making

  1. Bring a pot to low heat and melt the coconut oil on the stove.
  2. Once melted, slowly whisk in the maple syrup & add the almond butter.
  3. Finally, add the raw cacao and whisk well until smooth.
  4. Do a quick taste test and determine whether it needs more sweetener to suit your palate.
  5. Allow the mixture to cool. It should look like a glossy, uniform paste. It will thicken further once it cools.

Honey Roasted Pecans

  1. Turn the oven on to 350 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a saucepan in medium to low heat, combine the pecans & honey.
  3. Allow them to simmer & foam. This takes about 5 minutes, stir often.
  4. Place them on the baking sheet and try to separate them for even roasting.
  5. Sprinkle the sesame seeds evenly. I love the crunch these give!
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Allow them to cool.

Assembly

  1. Using a mini cupcake-sized silicone mould (makes it easier to pop/out remove the chocolates) add individual cupcake liners. If you don’t have silicone moulds, mini-cupcake moulds will do.
  2. Pour the cooled down chocolate mixture into each liner & top with honey roasted pecans.
  3. Put them in the freezer and allow them to set overnight. I always cover them with aluminum foil to prevent frost from accumulating on the tops. 🙂
  4. Thaw at least 10-15 minutes before serving.

These cute little treats will be on my Halloween spread for the kids this Saturday night! All it takes to adapt them to a different audience are these adorable monster toothpicks! If you’re thinking about them for Christmas or Valentine’s, all you need is a little seasonal decor change. These are from my local dollar store.

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