*This post was created in partnership with Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker. In the below recipe Scharffen Berger’s bittersweet chocolate, with a floral brightness and a deep roasty flavor, pairs beautifully with toasted pepitas sweetened with honey to create festive and seasonal chocolate pepita butter bites. If you’re partial to a sweeter, creamier chocolate that’s fine too – check out all of the chocolate offerings on Scharffen Berger’s website.
Last year was our first year trick-or-treating with the kids the way I remember it from my childhood. The sort where the parents stay on the sidewalk bundled up with something warm to drink, chatting with the other parents while the witches, Harry Potter’s, princesses, and dragons go off to collect their loot.
As rain pelted our faces we slowly wandered down the winding streets knowing which house to knock on by the amount of Halloween flair that littered their windows and lawn. The kids, timid at first then quickly understanding the routine, would make their plea, “Trick or Treat!” and in return individually wrapped packages of childhood happiness would tumble into their pillowcase/candy receptacle for the night. On their way back to the sidewalk to meet up with us they bury their face in the bags examining their loot and confer with their siblings as they begin scheming their trades.
Batman tipped us off to where we could score the full candy bars while the adults urged one another not to miss the house at the corner where they were passing out pulled pork sandwiches for the grown ups. Rumor has it the year before the adults got shots of bourbon.
This neighborhood knows how to do Halloween.
In an ideal world these spiced pepita butter bites would be just the thing I’d like to tuck into the trick-or-treaters bags that came knocking on our door. I can just hear it now, the giddy murmuring along the sidewalk, “that house has homemade candy!” But homemade treats are frowned upon when the one passing them out is a complete stranger – I totally get that. So we reserve these treats for lunch boxes, parties, or the 3:00 pick-me-up in celebration of National Chocolate Day. I mean a day reserved for chocolate celebrating is a great day in my book. And I will gladly take any excuse to praise chocolate.
Of course these are very reminiscent of a peanut butter filled candy with the same shape but these are stuffed with a toasted pepitas that have been blended until smooth with a bit of warming spices and honey. The Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate offsets the sweetness with a good bit of brightness. A pinch of flake salt on top is never a bad idea.
With two sweet-centric holidays – National Chocolate Day and Halloween – right around the corner these are practically begging to be made.
Bittersweet Chocolate Pepita Butter Bites
Makes 3 dozen small candy cups
1 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
2 tablespoons honey
3 to 5 tablespoons neutral oil (such as canola, rice bran, or vegetable)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch cinnamon and nutmeg (optional)
In a 350°F oven roast the pepitas until golden and fragrant.
Let them cool for about 10 minutes before adding them to a high power blender like a Vitamix or a food processor.
Grind the pepitas until extremely fine. Add the honey and 2 tablespoons of the oil. Blend more until a stiff peanut butter consistency. You may need to add more oil and scrape down the sides of the container quite a bit. It should be sticky but not runny.
Finish with the salt (and please do feel free to add more if you’d like) and the spices.
Melt the chocolate with 1 tablespoon neutral oil.
Line a mini-muffin pan with candy liners. Add about 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate to the bottom of the paper cup then add about 1 teaspoon of the pepita butter. Top the pepita butter with more chocolate. Once they are all filled whack the muffin pan on the counter to help settle the chocolate and pepita butter.
Add flake salt to the tops of the candies if you’d like.
Refrigerate until set, about 10 minutes.
Repeat the process until all of the chocolate and pepita butter have been used.
Any leftover chocolate can be melted and reused as you need. I like to pour the leftover melted chocolate on a parchment lined sheet pan. Refrigerate until the chocolate is set and chop up fine to be stirred into cookies and cakes or into larger chunks to be used later.