Creamy Pumpkin Fudge Cups (Paleo & Vegan)

Early last week, I awoke to a familar crackling sound. It was quiet, but close, and resembled the cracking of ice. I listened for a minute, still unable to place it. The sound was oddly comforting, though I sort of wished it hadn't disrupted my half-conscious dreams. In a moment it fell into place: it was the clink-clink of metal changing temperature. The heater was turning on for the first time in months. 

The seasons move more quickly the older I get--summer begins only days before it ends, I don't quite get my fill, and fall breezes in but only for a few days before it's time to start thinking about hats and gloves and boots. The first snow almost always comes in October around here, covering every resemblance of fall as it hits the ground. The leaves come off of the trees, the grass dies back, and people of all ages gawk at the white stuff.

And then? I realized the the first week of October was already gone, and the probability of it snowing soon (very soon, in the next few days soon,) was getting higher by the day. Leave it to the Coloradan forces of nature to whip fall right out from under you when you aren't looking.

Clearly I needed to get my fall rolling. Clearly I needed to make the Pumpkin Spice Fudge I'd been dreaming about, or it's seasonality would pass. Trying to reincarnate fall, I would make it the recipe anyways and it would be like that time I made Eggnog Macadamia Butter in July

With all signs pointing straight to fudge, I grabbed the blender, and a big (big) bag of shredded coconut. Winter isn't going to wait around for me to get my fall on, so I had better start now! And hey, it won't wait for anyone else either, so if you want to bask in the glory of pumpkin fudge while it's still fall, you had better join my crusade, like, today. 

Why this fudge? Well, it's totally creamy and perfectly pumpkin. But it's also a quick fix, requiring no cooking, and only a short set-time. It's main ingredient is coconut butter, so it's extra melty on your tongue, but solid at room temperature. (If you aren't on the coconut butter train yet, you really need to try these. YUM!) Unlike traditional fudge, this recipe is high in healthy MTC fats and low in sugar, leaving you satisfied and energetic. And it's a whole food, with calcium, iron, fiber, and even a bit of protein. This recipe is dairy- and nut-free! To make it AIP-friendy, just skip the nutmeg and allspice. 

Paleo Pumpkin Spice Fudge

1 cup coconut butter or roughly 4 cups finely shredded coconut (Not coconut oil!)

1/4 cup pumpkin puree (canned)

2-3 tablespoons honey (depending on preferences)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 scant teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 scant teaspoon ground nutmeg

pinch ground cloves

pinch ground allspice

pinch salt

Optional for decorating: freshly grated nutmeg

 

1. If you are making your own coconut butter, prepare it first. Put 4 cups of shredded coconut into a high-speed blender, and blend on high until a paste is formed. The paste should be mostly smooth, buttery, and liquid. (Don't eat it all right now). If you are using store-bought coconut butter, heat it gently until it liquifies.

2. Pour 1/2 of the coconut butter (about half a cup) into a small mixing bowl. Move quickly, especially if it's cold in your kitchen. Whisk in the pumpkin, spices, honey, and salt.*

3. Shape the mixture into miniature muffin cups (liners) or a candy mold, leaving about a 1/4 in of space at the top of each cup/mold. Pour the plain coconut butter, still in your blender, over each of the candies for the white coating. Sprinkle with freshly grated nutmeg. 

4. Place mold in fridge until solid (15-20 minutes is plenty). Enjoy! Store in airtight container in a cool place. (Coconut butter melts at around 76°F.) 

*Note: If you're like me, you probably got to step two and thought, "I'm just going to put it all in the blender at once!". I tried, and I don't recommend it. If you put water-based ingredients in the blender with the coconut shreds, they will not turn into the smooth cream butter you want, and will congeal into a clumpy mess. Butter first. Pumpkin second.