Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Cake Pops are a decadent yet healthy treat, perfect as a sweet snack or special dessert. The "cake" center is really a raw energy bite, full of nourishing ingredients and super easy to make. Plus they are naturally gluten-, dairy-, and nut-free and just so darn good!
I live with a tiny chocolate addict. My 3 year-old daughter is obsessed with chocolate in all forms. Chocolate ice cream? Definitely. Chocolate cookies? Absolutely. Anything chocolate covered? Yes and yes.
I'm fine with allowing her sweet treats here and there but I'm also always looking for ways to allow her treats that are both tasty and healthy. I had the idea to add a bit of pumpkin puree for a fun seasonal twist to our usual energy bite recipe, and then it occurred to me that we should dip the bites in chocolate.
Let's just say the idea went over very well in our house. Even my husband, who is often skeptical of the healthy desserts I push on him, declared these a winner. I mean, they are covered in chocolate, so it's really hard to go wrong.
For her part, Elle was thrilled with the results. She did, of course, eat all the chocolate off the outside and then immediately asked me to "re-chocolate" it. You can't blame her for trying.
You certainly don't have to make these into pops, they taste just as good without the stick. But it's an easy step if you want to do something a little fun and different. You can find pop sticks at craft stores or use paper straws like I did. Just a warning, the chocolate covered version stays on the stick much better than the coconut version, but a little gentle "smooshing" will keep the coconut version in place just fine.
Feel free to skip the chocolate dipping step, too, if you want to keep the recipe super simple and refined sugar-free. The pumpkin energy bites are truly yummy all by themselves. If you do go with the chocolate dipped option and want to keep these dairy-free be sure to use dairy-free chocolate chips. Otherwise you can use any kind of chocolate you like. No matter which version you make I think you're going to love these!
1 | Invite your child to the assist with preparing the cake pops by allowing him or her to dump all the ingredients into the food processor (being careful to keep little hands away from the blade) and then rolling the "dough" into balls once the mixture has been processed.
THIS RECIPE IS . . .
Naturally Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Vegetarian, and Vegan
Chocolate Covered Pumpkin Cake Pops
½ cup raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
½ cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
7-10 medjool dates, pitted (if the dates aren’t very soft, soak in hot water for 10 minutes and then drain)
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling; canned is fine)
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup dairy-free dark chocolate chips, or any dark chocolate you like*
½ cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
Cake pop sticks or sturdy paper straws
1. Add the sunflower seeds, coconut, dates, pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract to a food processor.
2. Pulse to combine, then blend on high until the ingredients are very well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally.
3. Take a tablespoon-sized scoop of pumpkin mixture, roll into a ball, then place on a parchment lined plate or baking sheet. Repeat the process with the remaining pumpkin mixture. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
4. Serve immediately, store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or proceed with instructions.
For Chocolate Dipped Pumpkin Cake Pops
1. Melt the chocolate in the microwave for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat until the chocolate is melted. If you prefer not to use a microwave, melt the chocolate in a heat-proof glass bowl placed over a simmering pot of water, carefully stirring until melted.
2. Carefully roll each pumpkin bite in the chocolate, then remove and place on a parchment-lined sheet pan. Continue until all the bites are covered.
3. Insert the cake pop stick or straw into the base of each chocolate covered pumpkin bite.
4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set. Serve immediately or store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
For Coconut Covered Pumpkin Cake Pops
1. Roll each pumpkin bite in coconut flakes, then place on a parchment-lined sheet pan.
2. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Serve immediately or store in a tightly sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
*Most chocolate on the market contains dairy, so if you want to keep this recipe dairy-free make sure to look for chocolate marked as such. I like Enjoy Life brand, which is available at Whole Foods and online.
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