I love the pumpkin holidays. What do I mean by that? Well, I love Halloween and Thanksgiving. I think they’re the best holidays because, at least for Americans and Canadians, they’re both virtually all inclusive. Also, I love everything about pumpkins. I love picking them. I love carving them. I love the pie. I love having the wee little ones as a centerpiece for the dinner table.
But I’ve never liked pumpkins seeds as much as I really want to. So this Halloween week, I set out to find a recipe using pepitas, the Spanish word for pumpkin (or squash) seeds, that I might actually like. And BOY did I succeed!
I knew from eating Paleo for a while now that I would probably find a recipe I would like since a lot of Paleo recipes rely on nuts and seeds. But I didn’t know it would be this good. Not only do I get to use the pepitas, but I get my chocolate fix at the same time!
This recipe uses cacao powder, rather than something like milk chocolate. That’s because cacao seeds are the little pods from which the chocolate flavor comes. In the cacao form, the chocolate flavor doesn’t have added sugar or dairy. It’s all chocolate, all the time. They tend to have a slightly bitter taste, like really dark chocolate, and even a hint of coffee, but the dates and desiccated coconut sweeten the dough and let the real chocolate flavor come through.
So now I have one more thing to love about the pumpkin holidays. I made them on Halloween night so that I could maybe keep from eating all the chocolate for the trick-or-treaters and that sold me. Now, I plan on making them for Thanksgiving as well. And maybe even a few times between! Because, let’s face it, even though they celebrate the pumpkin seed, we need not restrict them to the pumpkin holidays.
I made mine the first time without the sunflower seeds and cranberries on top because I wanted as much unfettered chocolate flavor as possible. But I’m thinking for Thanksgiving and early winter get-togethers, I will probably add the toppings to make them look a little more festive. Besides, Thanksgiving and Christmas are the cranberry holidays (and yes, I categorize all my holidays by their food and eating opportunities), so why not add a sweet-tangy dried cranberry or two?
Although I haven’t made these for friends yet, I’m confident they will gobble them up (unintentional turkey reference there). I think they’d be great after dinner with coffee. Of course, on the big holiday days, they may be upstaged by any number of pies and cakes, but the bonus of having these on hand is that they may help you stay the course on your Paleo diet while still joining in on all the dessert eating fun.
The next time you’re looking for a little sweetness, a little chocolate, a little crunch…I totally recommend these cranberries and pepita chocolate rounds – no matter what time of the year it is!
- ¼ cup cacao powder
- 3 tbsp coconut oil
- 12 pitted dates
- 1 cup desiccated coconut
- ½ cup pepitas
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until soft dough is formed.
- Take one heaping teaspoon of dough and press each ball into a flat disk about 1/4" thick. Set aside. Repeat until all the dough is used up.
- If you want, you can decorate each round with pepitas, sunflower seeds and cranberries.
- The rounds will keep stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Want more Paleo recipes? Take a look at the Paleo Grubs Book. With 470+ easy-to-prepare Paleo recipes in 17 comprehensive categories it is the only Paleo book you will ever need.
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