Fall whispered in my ear the other day. The humidity broke just enough to make a walk outside bearable. The direction of the light shifted ever so slightly. The breeze took a different turn, and I knew right then that Fall was on its way.
The next day, the weather promptly returned to the swamp-like swelter characteristic of mid-Atlantic summers. But at least we got that tiny taste of Fall.
Speaking of tiny tastes, let me introduce you to one of my favorite autumnal treats: pumpkin chocolate cream cheese truffles.
Dark chocolate meets creamy pumpkin, tangy cream cheese, and that “pumpkin spice” that everyone sniffs out this time of year—otherwise known as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
I’ll be the first to admit that the whole pumpkin spice craze has gotten seriously out of hand. I’ll also be the first to admit that I freakin’ love it, though I think it needs a new moniker—after all, there’s no actual pumpkin in “pumpkin spice.” What if you use those spices in a dish that doesn’t have pumpkin? What do you call it then?
But let’s get back to dessert.
These delightful little bite-sized treats are a cinch to make, and give you just enough warm Fall flavor without going overboard (I’m talking to you, pumpkin spice pasta sauce). They’re a great addition to a Halloween potluck or Thanksgiving dessert spread.
- 1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup confectioner's sugar
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ⅛ tsp ground cloves
- ⅛ tsp ground ginger
- ⅛ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
- 1 bag dark chocolate chips (I used Godiva)
- Using a standing mixer, thoroughly combine all of the ingredients except the chocolate. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator.
- Melt the chocolate in a heat-safe glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring frequently and nearly constantly at the end. When the chocolate is smooth and completely melted, turn the heat off.
- Take the chilled pumpkin mixture and use your hands to form it into small balls, about ½ - ¾-inch in diameter. Place the balls on a Silpat liner or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Put in the freezer for 5 - 10 minutes to firm up again.
- Meanwhile, pour the melted chocolate into a pastry bag or other piping tool. With one hand, pick up one of the pumpkin balls and put a dollop of chocolate on the liner then place the pumpkin ball back on top. Drizzle more chocolate on top to create a shell (it's okay if some of the pumpkin mixture peeks through). Repeat this for the rest of the balls. Or, grab the nearest Sous Chef and divide up the work.
- After the truffles have been covered in chocolate, return them to the freezer until they are completely set. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Best served chilled, after a day or two of "marinating."
- You can also melt the chocolate in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until it's completely melted. Don't over-nuke it!