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Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Stack of Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups arranged on a white plate. One of the cups is cut in half to show the filling.
Recipe At-A-Glance
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free45 minutes
Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups are a breeze to make, and the perfect entry point into candy making.

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If you have never made your own chocolate nut butter cups at home, you have to promise me you’ll try it. It’s a fun and easy entry point into candy making—and seriously, who doesn’t love a chocolate nut butter cup? This recipe is a great way to spend a few minutes on a fall weekend afternoon!

These chocolate nut butter cups are made without refined sugar or gluten. Depending on the chocolate you choose to use, they can be completely dairy-free and paleo. I use cashew butter here because I love its mild flavor and creaminess, but you can easily swap in sunbutter if you’re looking to make a nut-free treat. Removing all those allergens makes these cups a great treat for a crowd of mixed dietary preferences! In fact, I’m packaging these up to donate to our school’s fall bake sale this year.

Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups arranged on a white plate on top of a plaid background.

What goes into these Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups?

This recipe clocks in at just six ingredients: dark chocolate, cashew butter, pumpkin pie spice, salt, honey, and vanilla extract.

Pumpkin spice and dark chocolate: a match made in fall heaven

I used to be hesitant to mix classic pumpkin spice with chocolate because the chocolate always seemed to overpower the flavor of the pumpkin spice. A few years ago, I finally landed on the key to a great pumpkin spice and chocolate combo—don’t go too dark with your chocolate! I love a deep, rich, dark chocolate bar, but here, that bitterness can quickly overpower the mild-mannered pumpkin spice. I like to opt for chocolate with slightly lower cacao percentages here. I found a 70% bar worked perfectly to balance the flavors.

Plate of chocolate cups, with one broken in half to show the nut butter filling.

Tempering chocolate—AKA: a fancy word for a super easy task!

Many homemade chocolate nut butter cup recipes out there call for coconut oil (kinda like my coconut oil fudge), which is healthy, tasty, and gives you a great texture, but it requires the chocolate nut butter cup to be chilled to be solid. I wanted a chocolate nut butter cup that would hold up at room temperature, so out with the coconut oil and in with tempered chocolate.

Tempering chocolate sounds fancy, but it’s really just a (ever so slightly) more complicated method for melting the chocolate so it is a good texture at room temperature. True candy-making professionals temper chocolate using a thermometer, but since we’re all home cooks here, I prefer a thermometer-free method. It’s as simple as melting 2/3 of the chocolate over low heat in a double boiler, and then removing it from the heat, adding in the remaining chocolate, and stirring until it is melted. Voila, tempered chocolate!

Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups arranged on a white plate on top of a plaid background. One of the cups is split open to show the filling.

Cashew butter is queen in these chocolate nut butter cups!

You could honestly use whatever nut butter (or sunbutter) makes your heart happy here, as long as it is free from added sugar. But I really love cashew butter in these chocolate nut butter cups! The cashew butter has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the pumpkin spice—which is a problem I had when I tested this recipe with peanut butter—and the creamy texture is thick enough to hold up when you bite into it, without being so hard that you feel like you bit into cement. You can purchase cashew butter or make your own at home.

To buy or to make your own pumpkin pie spice? It’s up to you.

And that’s the same story with pumpkin pie spice. Most major grocery stores carry pre-mixed pumpkin pie spice blends right in their spice aisle, but you can also whip up your own batch. Make your own pumpkin pie spice by mixing together 1 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves. Feel free to tweak those amounts to suit your personal preferences.

A dark chocolate cup split in half to show the nut butter filling inside.

Thinking of swapping out the honey in these chocolate nut butter cups? Proceed with caution!

I know some of you are thinking, I can make these vegan if I swap out the honey for maple syrup! And yes, you are right, that would make these chocolate nut butter cups vegan, but you might not be happy with the results! Maple syrup has a high water content, which can lead nut butters to seize up when mixed together. If you want to use maple syrup, add it in at the very end of stirring the cashew butter mixture, and only mix as much as you need to get it just incorporated. It still might seize up a bit, but the taste and texture will be fine in the finished nut butter cup—just don’t overmix! I haven’t tried it, but you might have better luck with brown rice syrup or molasses (although the latter will make your filling much darker in color).

Ready to make Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups? Let’s get started.

You’ll find these chocolate nut butter cups are a breeze to make. Check out the full recipe and tutorial video below and get to melting. Enjoy!

 
Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups

Yield: 12 full-size or 24 mini cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Pumpkin Spice Dark Chocolate Nut Butter Cups are a breeze to make, and the perfect entry point into candy making.

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces chopped dark chocolate or dark chocolate chips, divided (dairy-free if desired, see notes)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew butter (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (or make your own, see notes)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons honey (see notes)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Flaky sea salt, for the top, if desired

Instructions

  1. Line a regular muffin tin with with 12 paper or silicone liners, or a mini muffin tin with 24 liners. Set aside.
  2. In a double boiler (or a small bowl fitted to a saucepan filled with 1" water) over low heat, place 2/3 of the dark chocolate or chocolate chips. Melt over very low heat, stirring frequently, until the chocolate is glossy and most of it is melted. Remove from heat and add in the remaining chocolate, stirring until all is melted.
  3. Spoon about 1/2-1 teaspoon (for mini cups) or 1 1/2-2 teaspoons (for regular cups) of chocolate into each of the spots in the muffin tin. Using the spoon, push the chocolate up the sides of the muffin liners about 1/3 of the way to create a chocolate “wall.” Place the muffin tin in the freezer to solidify the chocolate, about 10 minutes.
  4. While the chocolate is hardening, combine the cashew butter, pumpkin pie spice, fine sea salt, and honey in a medium size mixing bowl. Mix until smooth.
  5. Remove the muffin tin from the freezer, and grab a level teaspoon of the cashew butter mixture (for mini cups) or a heaping teaspoon (for regular cups) and press into the center of each muffin cup, flattening down with a spoon.
  6. Spoon remaining chocolate, about 1 teaspoon per mini muffin cup and about 2 teaspoons per regular muffin cup, over top of the cashew butter.
  7. Once all muffin cups are filled, vigorously shake or drop the muffin tin on the counter to remove any air bubbles and allow the chocolate to settle. Chocolate will harden at room temperature within an hour, or place in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to speed up the process. If desired, top the cups with flaky sea salt after the chocolate has set up, but isn’t completely solid—about 15 minutes at room temperature and 5 minutes in the freezer.

Notes

  • I love a good dark chocolate, but in this case, a chocolate with a medium-high cacao percentage will give you the best flavor. I’d recommend something around 70%. Higher than that, and the chocolate flavor overpowers the pumpkin spice. Make sure to grab dairy-free chocolate if you want these to be dairy-free.
  • Cashew butter is a breeze to make at home if you have a food processor. Just add two cups of raw, unsalted cashews to a food processor along with 2 tablespoons coconut oil. Process on high until the mixture comes together into cashew butter, scraping along the sides as needed. Depending on your food processor, it can take anywhere from 10-20 minutes. 
  • You might be tempted to swap out the honey here for maple syrup, but be careful—maple syrup has a high water content, which can lead nut butters to seize up when mixed together. If you want to use maple syrup, add it in at the very end of stirring the cashew butter mixture, and only mix as much as you need to get it just incorporated. It still might seize up a bit, but the taste and texture will be fine in the finished nut butter cup—just don’t overmix!
  • Because you tempered the chocolate, these cups will be solid at room temperature. You can keep them out in an airtight container for 2-3 days. For longer term storage, I recommend storing them in an airtight container in the freezer, where they’ll last for up to six months.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 192 Total Fat: 12g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 6g Cholesterol: 2mg Sodium: 129mg Carbohydrates: 20g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 15g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 2g
DISCLAIMER: At Wholefully, we believe that good nutrition is about much more than just the numbers on the nutrition facts panel. We encourage you to embrace viewing what’s on your plate with a holistic mindset. Please use the above information as only a small part of what helps you decide what foods are nourishing for you.

Cassie is the founder and CEO of Wholefully. She's a home cook and wellness junkie with a love of all things healthy living. She lives on a small hobby farm in Southern Indiana with her husband, daughter, two dogs, two cats, and 15 chickens.

Leave a Reply

3 Responses
    1. Julie Grice

      Like dairy butter? No, that won’t work for the filling. If you don’t have cashew butter, you could also use any other nut butter – peanut butter, almond butter, etc.

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