Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Truffles
Last week my roommate had his company holiday party, which just so happened to be a New York City pizza tour.
First of all, snaps to the genius that came up with this glorious idea. I can’t say for sure because I’ve never been to an office holiday party (#selfemployment), but I imagine spending an evening with coworkers on a party bus that makes multiple stops at New York’s finest pizza joints > drinking eggnog in an office building.
Wait, should I throw a Domesticate ME! holiday party? Maybe?? I do have a sequin dress that reads as “boss with her hair down.” Nevermind, we can talk about that later.
Anyhoo, what I found most intriguing about Logan’s enthusiastic recap of the pizza tour extravaganza was the story of its fearless leader, Scott. Scott is a “pizza expert” and is renowned in the international pizza community not only for his extensive knowledge of all things ‘za, but also for his Guinness World Record-holding collection of pizza boxes. (I like to picture Scott living in an apartment containing exclusively pizza box furniture. Logan says that is not the case and the boxes are stored in a single room of the home, but we shall never know for sure…)
Scott has built a thriving career around his pizza obsession, and part of his success is due to the careful protection of his passion. While he’s perpetually tempted to eat multiple slices per day, Scott only allows himself 15 pieces of pizza per week to ensure that he never, ever gets sick of it. If he exceeds said limit (he’s human, after all), he will sacrifice two slices of pizza the following week for every one that he went over. This system has worked remarkably well so far, and Scott’s love of pizza is as strong as ever!!
While I too enjoy pizza, all I could think about while Logan was telling me about Scott’s food fetish was how eerily similar it was to my own love and carefully regulated consumption of “energy bites.” If you’ve been hanging around these parts for a while, you may have noticed my obsession with various forms of these nutrient-dense treats. They blew up on the healthy food scene a few years ago, but unlike most food trends, energy bites have truly stood the test of time in my kitchen. I happily make some variation of them weekly, so I suppose you could call me an “energy bite expert.”
Just as Scott is tested on each of his pizza tours, having these bites in my freezer at all times makes it very tempting to spend my days gleefully inhaling the things. In fact, I did for a brief period in 2015 while testing the Chocolate-Almond Cookie Dough Bites for The Dude Diet. ‘Twas a disaster. I couldn’t look at an energy bite for months afterward, which as you can imagine, was rather devastating. Thankfully, Lemon-Coconut Bites lured me back aboard the bandwagon, but I’ve been very careful not to overindulge since, lest I become dispassionate about my beloved balls ever again. (I’m not giggling, you are.) Like Scott, I now enforce a strict two-a-day maximum.
I’ve been pretty good about it, but then these Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Truffles came along. They’ve really been testing my willpower, dammit…
I know I say this about all my energy bites (and quinoa bakes), but I think these may be my best yet. Imagine the gooey texture and caramel flavor of pecan pie filling but kicked up with pumpkin spice and a hint of dark chocolate. Sweet, sweet magic, friends. I once said that I would never refer to an energy bite as a “truffle” because the moniker is misleading, but I feel confident that these dense, sticky-sweet ballz are worthy of the title.
In other exciting news, these beauties are actually decent for you! Naturally sweetened with dates, they’re loaded with healthy fats, omega-3s, antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals, making them a responsible snack/dessert. They also happen to be vegan, gluten-free, and Dude Diet-friendly, which gives the bites major crowd-pleasing potential. HALLELUJAH.
While slightly non-traditional, these truffles would be an excellent addition to your holiday partays and cookie swaps, and they make a fabulous food present. And since they involve only a handful of ingredients and zero baking, even the most domestically challenged individuals will be able to pull them off.
Trust me. I’m an expert.
Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Truffles: (Makes roughly 18-20 truffles)
2 packed cups pitted Medjool dates
1¼ cups raw pecans, divided
¼ cup pure pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons hemp or chia seeds
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
¼ cup chopped dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
Preparing your Pumpkin-Pecan Pie Truffles
-Place the dates, 1 cup of the pecans, pumpkin puree, hemp or chia seeds, oats, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Process until all the ingredients are well combined, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple times if necessary. (I have also done this successfully in my Vitamix!) Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
-Chop the remaining ¼ cup pecans and fold them into the truffle mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic and pop it in the freezer for 20 minutes. (This step is optional, but it will make your truffles significantly easier to roll, so I’d just do it.)
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. With damp hand, roll heaping tablespoons of the truffle mixture into balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
-Place the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave in 15 to 20 second intervals, stopping to stir the chocolate between each one, until the chocolate is completely melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the truffles. (This is your chance to be artistic!)
-Transfer the baking sheet to the freezer for 20 minutes to allow the chocolate to set.
-Store the truffles in an airtight container in the freezer or refrigerator for whenever a craving strikes. (I much prefer the freezer, but that’s just me.)
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