Vegan Pumpkin White Chocolate Cups aka "Eclipse Cups"
Ah, the ever elusive vegan white chocolate. It's a tough one to nail down. But I think I've got it well within my grasp these days.
The trick is in proportions. You don't want too much cocoa butter. You need some sort of nut/seed/coconut butter involved. And you have to use a dry, crystallized sweetener.
Otherwise? You end up with something kin to a skin care product... or your ganache will simply never set up. And then we'd all be sad and heart broken for you and the $10 you just wasted on white chocolate sploosh.
My vegan white chocolate is made with cocoa butter, cashew butter and powdered coconut sugar. It's really important to powder the coco sugar because otherwise your white chocolate is hella grainy. Again, good for body scrubs. Bad for something you want to put in your mouth.
I made it pumpkin spice-ish by adding hawaij (a Yemeni spice blend which is like pumpkin spice amped up with cardamom and ginger). If you prefer cinnamon-heavy pumpkin spice, it's an easy 1-to-1 substitution. I just like hawaij better these days.
Oh, and I added pumpkin puree of course!
The result: creamy, fall-flavored, melt-in-your-mouth white chocolate ganache!
It makes for divine little candy cups, no bells and whistles required. You could just pour the ganache into moulds, chill and nosh.
But let's be real. What's life without a little bit of pizzaz / moxy / hutzpah / glitter / funfetti / fleur de sel?
Sort of depressing, that's what it is.
These "eclipse cups" are dark chocolate on the bottom and pumpkin white chocolate on top. A handful of buttery chopped pecans adds crunch to each bite. A pinch of fleur de sel over top highlights the caramel notes in the white chocolate and the fruitiness in the dark chocolate.
I don't know why they remind me of a Fall eclipse. Perhaps it's the hidden darkness of that layer of dark chocolate. The golden glow of silky pumpkin white chocolate. Like a low-hanging harvest moon, big-bellied, caressing the sky with pulsing light. Existing in perfectly strange harmony. An awe-striking dance between light and dark.
Every October since I've started this blog I get this pang of panic about all of the vegan-ish Halloween I should be developing. And then October rolls around and I remember that I don't even effing like candy. And I say to myself: Renee, you don't even eat that BS why are you sitting here spinning your wheels about how to make plant-based candy corn. CANDY CORN IS LITERALLY THE WORST.
And then I wake up out of a day-dream stupor and go make myself some of Laura's buffalo chickpeas & cauliflower (stuffed in a squash). Or Lindsay's brown rice pilaf with roasted grapes and fennel. Or this dope butternut squash soup with coconut bacon Molly posted.
Because when it comes down to it, all I care about is real food. Real food that is easy and fun to make and that tastes fabulous and that's full of nourishing ingredients.
That being said, these Eclipse Cups are not candy. Not really.
I am always one to argue that chocolate is food, of course.
Cocoa (or cacao) butter is one of those foods that gets a really bad rap. WHY???
I mean, I know why. People are still really afraid of consuming fats. That whole "fat-free" rag we were all inundated with growing up is the source of the problem (it's been disproven).
So let's just set the record straight.
Cocoa butter is a natural, plant-derived saturated fat! It's amazing! It's high in antioxidants, just like the whole cacao bean from which it is pressed. It's a good source of omega's 6 and 9, oleic acid (the good fat in olive oil) and theobromine (the stimulating bliss chemical that gives chocolate it's beloved heart-opening quality). It's an incredible moisturizer for your skin (and makes you smell so damn sexy). And it crushes cravings and helps to quell your appetite.
One Eclipse Cup goes a long way. I usually eat about half of one at a time. They're very rich and decadent. Logan goes completely nuts over them! He ate about 6 of them today! My band mates loved them as well. There were many expletives of joy expressed upon first bite.
Eclipse Cups aka Vegan Pumpkin Spice White Chocolate Cups
Created by Renee on October 21, 2016
As always when working with chocolate, make sure all of your implements (bowls, blender cup, spoons) are free from water. Chocolate and cocoa butter hate water and will seize up when combined. Even a drop makes for a lousy ganache!
- Prep Time: 10m
- Total Time: 1h 10m
- Yield: 24 chocolate cups
- 1/3 cup coconut sugar (60 grams)
- 1 cup cold-pressed, food-grade cocoa (cacao) butter (120 grams)
- 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped of its seeds
- 1/2 cup smooth, runny cashew butter (100 grams)
- 1/2 teaspoon hawaij, pumpkin spice or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon + 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 3 tablespoons 100% pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips (65% or darker)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
- pinch sea salt
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped roughly
- Powder the coconut sugar: grind the sugar in a high powered blender until powdery soft, scraping down the edges of the blender as needed. Sift the sugar through a fine mesh sieve (I used a large tea strainer) to ensure no large, gritty pieces of sugar make it into the white chocolate. Discard any bits that won't reduce to a powder, it shouldn't be more than 1/2 teaspoon in the end.
- Place the cocoa butter and powdered coconut sugar over a double boiler or a large glass bowl set over a pot of water. Turn the burner to low heat. Keep over the heat, about 5 minutes or so, until the coconut sugar is melted. You can test this by checking the grittiness of the white chocolate between your fingers.
- Add the vanilla bean, cashew butter, spice mix and pumpkin puree and stir to combine.
- Add the white chocolate back to your blender cup and blend on high until everything is emulsified and combined. Set aside.
- Melt the dark chocolate along with the coconut oil in the same method, in a double boiler or in a bowl set in a pot of water. Set the burner to low and melt everything together until the water just begins to hit a rolling simmer. Store, cut off the heat and let the chocolate melt, untouched, for another minute or two.
- Fill two 12-serving mini muffin tins with parchment cupcake liners (24 total). Fill each liner with 1- 1 1/2 teaspoons dark chocolate. Tap the tins on your work surface to evenly spread the chocolate on the bottom of the liners. Chill for 20 minutes. Then fill the cups the rest of the way up with the white chocolate ganache. Sprinkle chopped pecans over top. Optionally, sprinkle fleur de sel or a fine quality sea salt over top. Set in the fridge to chill and solidify.
- These set up to a soft ganache within an hour or so. But for a chocolate cup with really defined edges that pull completely away from the candy cup liners, refrigerate for 6+ hours or overnight.