My mom once told me that during her pregnancy, her cravings for ice cream were so intense that she ate it every night for months. As a kid, I would hurry through dinner, begrudgingly choking down mounds of peas at the promise of my post-meal treat. And on Halloween night, after trick-or-treating, I would separate my loot by candy type, tallying up the number of Butterfingers, Snickers and Reese’s Cups, making mental notes of the number of each. Then, I’d hide my stash in a hard-to-reach location so my candy-loving (and stealing) mother couldn’t raid my hard-earned treasure. (Except for the Dots, she was always welcome to those.) Needless to say, I’ve always had a sweet tooth.
These days, the craving remains just as strong, but in the name of #adulting, I try to keep my consumption under control. I’ve recently started purchasing medjool dates for when I’m craving a sweet snack. They have a deep, caramel flavor that I absolutely love, and au naturel sweetness that I can feel good about.
Since Halloween has always been a time to celebrate my love for sweets, I decided that this year, instead of buying bags of sugar-laden, processed candy from the seasonal aisle, I’d try my hand at a healthier version of a childhood favorite, featuring my newly beloved dates.
These Pumpkin Date Caramel Cups are filled with pumpkin puree-spiked date caramel, laden with pie spices and a touch of almond butter for nutty consistency.
They’re smooth, spicy, just a touch chewy and blanketed in a cozy layer of dark chocolate.
I used 65% dark chocolate, but you can go as dark as you’d like here, the sweetness of the dates would add beautiful balance to an extra bitter variety.
Enjoy and Happy Halloween!