My Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark is a good seasonal snack or treat that is sure to satisfy you with nutrition and healthy fats.
I really like this recipe for Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark because it is healthy, easy and it has a short list of ingredients. Change the ingredients to suit the season. This recipe is all about autumn, with cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin seeds.
I am a mom to four kids, so there has to be snacks around our house that can sustain us through school days, outside chores with our animals, craft projects, running around and playing outside…. and the list continues. The pumpkin seeds and good fats really help to keep brains and bodies going around here!
This Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark has a nice chocolatey flavor, as cacao butter is the primary ingredient in chocolate. Cacao butter has antioxidants, including polyphenols which improve skin tone and elasticity! So this is a great treat for us mamas!
I like to soak a larger amount of pumpkin seeds overnight in salt water, and then drain, rinse, and toast in a very low temperature oven until they are crunchy and roasted. The toasting time usually takes a good 4-5 hours. I check them every couple of hours and I remove them when they are crunchy and a little toasted looking. These extra steps make them easier to digest and increases the amount of nutrients our bodies can absorb.
Pumpkin seeds are full of antioxidants, like vitamin E, and they are a good source of magnesium and zinc. They are also a source of tryptophan, which improves our sleep
The coconut oil in the Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark contributes to the silky texture and delicious flavor of the bark. Coconut oil is another great source of high quality fats. It contains lauric acid which is a virus and bacteria killer.I use an organic, unrefined coconut oil which has a coconut flavor . If you prefer a neutral flavor you could use a refined coconut oil and it still contains the same health benefits.
Tips For Making Beautiful Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark:
- I pour the melted ingredients onto a parchment paper lined dinner plate, but you can also use a small quarter sheet pan. I like the thickness of the bark on a dinner plate, it keeps it on the thicker side, for more of a snap when bitten into.
- After I pour the melted ingredients onto the parchment lined plate, I use a spoon to push the parchment paper down around the edges to allow the melted mixture to make its way evenly around the edge.
- I allow the Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark to set for 12-15 minutes in the freezer before I sprinkle the last half of the pumpkin seeds and spices across the top, this helps the ingredients to be more evenly dispersed.
- Before I carry the plate or sheet pan to the freezer, I open the freezer door and rearrange my freezer to make space so that it doesn’t tip and spill. I have had quite a few precarious moments by not seeing to the space in the freezer first!
- 1 1/2 cups raw organic cacao butter chunks
- 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil ( or choose refined for a neutral flavor)
- 1/2 cup soaked and roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 tsp. good quality salt ( like Redmond Real Salt)
- 4 mini scoops pure stevia extract powder ( Stevia Select brand) or 2 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. nutmeg (Yes, I meant to repeat these!)
1. In a saucepan, add, cacao butter chunks, coconut oil and stevia extract powder or maple syrup and melt over a low heat, stirring every couple minutes to help it to melt more quickly.
2. As this melts, prepare the other ingredients.
3.When cacao butter and coconut oil are liquified, remove from heat and add stevia or maple syrup, 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Stir well to combine.
4. Pour onto parchment lined plate or small baking tray. With a spoon, push down the edges of the parchment paper. This allows the melted mix to spread closer to the edges.
5. Place plate in the freezer on a level surface, so it doesn't spill.
6. Leave in the freezer 12-15 minutes. Remove when it is still partially melted.
7. Sprinkle pumpkin seeds, salt, remaining 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, and remaining 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
8. Return to freezer for 15-20 minutes more to allow it to solidify completely.
9. Slide Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark onto cutting board, and cut into pieces.
Pumpkin Seed Cacao Bark can be stored in the freezer in a lidded plastic or glass container. It will stay fresh for a couple of weeks, but it never lasts that long at my house!
- You could substitute 1/2 cup chopped almonds, 1/2 cup dried cherries, and 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract.
- Cinnamon and raisin is always a good combination- 1/2 cup raisins, 1 tsp. cinnamon
- You could substitute 1/4 cup coconut and 1/2 cup chopped cashews
- Feel free to experiment!
What are other additions or variations you can you come up with to try?
If you are looking for something else that is sweet and healthy, you could try my No-Bake Dairy-Free Pumpkin Custard!