Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pecan Butter Cups

stacked homemade pumpkin spice pecan butter cups | food blog | hearth health happiness

Candy Time: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pecan Butter Cups

Sometimes, you just have to enjoy some candy. Since I was small, Reese’s peanut butter cups have held the top spot in my heart for candy. Every Halloween, I have to have the minis (or the full size version when I feel like indulging) and for Easter, it is a MUST to get a Reese’s peanut butter bunny cup. YUM. Lately, though, I’ve fallen in love with pecan butter and have enjoyed incorporating it into much of our diet. Therefore, these homemade pumpkin spice pecan butter cups are my homage to fall 2020 and the comfort food we all need right now. 

Benefits of homemade pecan butter cups

Some of the adjustments I made to this recipe I enjoyed because: 

  • It omits melted butter as an ingredient, something that is traditionally found in homemade peanut butter cup recipes. I added a little pecan oil as a substitute, but that is an optional step as the pure pumpkin makes the filling moist on its own merit. 
  • Pecans are a supernut and I enjoy increasing the nutritional content wherever I can get it. 
  • If you would like, you can control the ingredients by making your own homemade pecan butter. The pecan oil I used is a pure oil as well. The only real “wild card” is the chocolate, which you can pick to suit your tastes. 
  • The recipe is customizable – select a different chocolate, substitute with a coffee flavor, use a more liquid filling, top with nuts or sprinkles instead of coarse sea salt. A ton of possobilities exist! 

What does pecan butter taste like?

Why even bother with pecan butter in the first place? Well, for its unique flavor, of course! Pecans have a fascinating way of being tasty and special without stealing the spotlight. What is particularly interesting is the fact that pecans both a sweet and savory flavor that actually shares a flavor compound with the coconut. Pretty cool, huh? Most people describe pecans as having a:

  • roasted flavor
  • nutty undertones
  • slightly sweet taste 

This makes pecan butter the perfect companion for powerful flavors like chocolate and pumpkin spice. 

Pro Tip:

Once your chocolate has melted, work quickly. Yes, you can reheat it if it starts to thicken, but you want to keep things moving as well as you can. The more malleable the chocolate, the easier and more even it will be to spread on the bottom of the cups or cover the filling. 

Tips for the perfect batch

  • Use whatever flavor of chocolate you prefer, but remember that melting chocolate is temperamental. Regardless of whether you heat it in a double broiler (I used a glass bowl that rested on top of a bot with gently boiling water) or in the microwave, be sure to stir frequently and don’t overdue the heating to avoid seizing. In case you are new to the world of melting chocolate, here is a helpful article about chocolate seizing tendencies and how to avoid it. 
  • Make sure the chocolate in the bottom of the cups has set before adding the filling. Manipulating the filling will ruin the bottom if the chocolate is still malleable. 
  • Use a small spoon or your finger to mold the filling. If it is sticking to your finger – which it probably will – use a damp finger tip. Practice patience with this step! 
  • You don’t have to store these in the refrigerator, but if you do, remember that it will make the chocolate pretty hard. It helps to set them out for a bit, or just store in a cool place. They won’t last long, regardless! 

Ingredients

Semi-sweet chocolate chips: A 14-oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips measures to approximately 1 1/2 cups of chocolate chips before melting. Divide this in half for the pecan butter cups recipe because half will be used to coat the bottom of the mini cupcake liners and the rest used later to cover the filling in each cup. Note: Although you can reheat chocolate, I suggest waiting to melt the second half of the chocolate until you are immediately ready to finish the recipe. Letting it sit at room temperature invites cooling and will make it harder to mold. 

Homemade pecan butter: Obviously, this step is optional. If you do prefer to (a) control your ingredients, and (b) enjoy food that is as fresh as possible, I do suggest giving homemade pecan butter a try. In reality, your food processor is the tool that does the heavy lifting. One item of importance is that it requires more blending than you think is necessary. Does it look blended? It probably needs more. When you check the pecan butter peridically, you should see some oil separating from the pecan butter. I call this weeping – just look for a bit of a sheen and overall smooth consistency. Remember, store-bought pecan butter is absolutely fine! 

Confectioner’s sugar: AKA, powdered sugar. Check the label to make sure the brand is gluten-free, if that is something that is a concern for you. 

Pure pumpkin: Since this just calls for 1/4 cup, you don’t need much – the pumpkin spice offers the most robust hint of fall. If you’re used to making homemade peanut butter cups (or pecan butter cups), you will notice that the amount of pecan butter is decreased to allow for some of the pumpkin texture and flavor. 

Pumpkin spice: Use homemade pumpkin spice or a batch from the store. 

Pure vanilla extract: Vanilla extract offers a subtle hint of sweetness that isn’t overpowering. 

Pure pecan oil: OPTIONAL. I added this to make the consistency of the filling a little more smooth and make the pecan flavor slightly more rich. Again, if you are familiar with other homemade recipes, you’ve probably noticed how many recipes call for melted butter as an addition in the filling. Pecan oil is a 1:1 butter substitute – and healthier. 

Kosher salt: I used pink Himalayan in the filling to maintain an even consistency. 

Coarse sea salt: For sprinkling before allowing to set while cooling in the refrigerator. This is an aesthetic addition, primarily. 

Recipe

homemade pumpkin spice pecan butter cups | Food blog | hearth health happiness

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pecan Butter Cups

Melanie Lorick
Why make homemade peanut butter cups when you can create decadent pumpkin spice PECAN butter cups combined with delicious pure pumpkin? It's easy when you melt chocolate chips and you can even use fresh pecans to make your own pecan butter. The only problem? These are mildly addicting.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 24 mini cups

Ingredients
  

Homemade Pecan Butter

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh pecan halves I used Mammoth pecan halves
  • pinch kosher salt

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pecan Butter Cups

  • 14 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup pecan butter stirred to mix any separated oil evenly throughout butter
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon confectioner's sugar
  • 1/4 cup pure pumpkin
  • 1 1/4 tablespoons pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 tablespoon pecan oil optional
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch coarse sea salt for sprinkling over the finished product

Instructions
 

Homemade Pecan Butter

  • In a skillet over medium heat, roast pecan halves for about 5 minutes. Shift the pan a few times to keep the pecans from roasting in one spot.
  • Add pecan halves and the pinch of kosher salt to a food processor. Grind for 15 - 20 minutes, stopping a few times to incorporate anything sticking to the side into the butter. The butter has reached the appropriate consistency when it is smooth throughout and starting to "weep" oil.

Homemade Pumpkin Spice Pecan Butter Cups

  • Melt 3/4 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips in a double broiler, stirring consistently. If using a microwave, cook in 30 second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.
  • Line a mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.
  • Using a small (1/2 tsp) measuring scoop or brush, evenly distribute the chocolate throughout each cup. If needed, make flat using the back of the spoon, or gentle strokes of the brush until the chocolate is about 1/8 inch thick and covers the entire bottom of each cup. Let sit in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  • While the first chocolate cools, combine pecan butter, pumpkin, confectioner's sugar, pumpkin spice, pure vanilla extract, salt, and pecan oil (if using) in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. Add to Ziploc bag and squeeze out air before closing.
  • Cut a small hole in one bottom corner of the bag and pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 tsp of the pecan butter pumpkin mixture into each cup. Using your finger (slightly dampen it, if needed) or back of a small teaspoon, make the filling the size of a disc with a flat top and round edges. Keep it from touching the sides of the cupcake liners.
  • Melt the remaining chocolate. Using a small teaspoon, scoop the chocolate over the filling until it fills in the sides and thoroughly covers the top. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt, if desired, and let it sit in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Keyword candy, chocolate, entertaining, pecan butter, Pecans, pumpkin, pumpkin spice
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Favorite Fall Sweets

In case you have a craving for every fall sweet treat under the sun – like I do – here are some of my favorite fall sweets right now: 

I think we should pick a weekend to make these at once and just splurge a little. I joke, of course. Maybe. Until next time, friends, cheers to your hearth, health, and happiness! 

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