This healthy pumpkin fudge is creamy and spicy, is easy to make with familiar whole foods, and has no sugar. No refined sugar. No artificial sweeteners. None. And this fudge is mostly pumpkin puree. Here I stuffed it in chocolate cups, but it’s also perfect as pumpkin fudge chunks alone. An easy, healthy pumpkin recipe to add to your fall recipe line-up!
Healthy Pumpkin Fudge Recipe
This creamy fudge recipe is a wonderful collection of fresh whole foods and, incredibly, contains no sugar. And the ingredient that is present in the largest amount is pumpkin puree! That doesn’t always happen in pumpkin recipes. Having lots of pumpkin in this treat makes it an incredibly healthy fudge.
How Healthy is Pumpkin?
Pumpkin is a powerful heart health protector. It is high in potassium, vitamin C and fiber, as well as high in potassium, vitamin C, fiber and antioxidants. Pumpkin – fresh or canned pumpkin puree – is notably high in vitamin A which is necessary in many essential body processes. Specifically, one cup of pumpkin provides more than 200 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin A.
How Healthy is this Pumpkin Fudge?
Well for one, this fudge has NO sugar. No refined sugar, maple syrup, or artificial sugar. But yet it tastes sweet. Not super sweet, but spicy and sweet. This is because of two ingredients.
1. Coconut butter, the second most prevalent ingredient in the recipe (pumpkin is the first).
2. Pumpkin pie spices, that are heavy on cinnamon, and cinnamon does a great job of giving our tongue the illusion that it is tasting something sweet.
Let’s talk a bit more about both ingredients.
Make Homemade Coconut Butter
I love coconut butter. But I don’t love how expensive a jar is. And I don’t love that some stores just don’t carry it. In so many stores, when I approach customer service with the question, “where is coconut butter?” These friendly folk trot me down the aisle and point at coconut oil.
No, I wearily say, I mean coconut butter. And then they cross their eyes in confusion.
Okay, so maybe that doesn’t happen..But to avoid the search and cost, I make my own.
I have a video tutorial in my highlights on my Instagram of me doing just that plus tips. But in general all you do is buy some quality shredded unsweetened coconut (finely shredded is best) and blend it up for a minute or so in a high-speed blender.
Depending on the brand you use, you generally need twice the amount of shredded coconut as coconut butter you want to make. In other words, try blending 1 cup shredded coconut to make 1/2 cup coconut butter. That doesn’t always work exactly though; once I blended 2 cups and only yielded 3/4 cup butter.
How Healthy is Coconut Butter
Nutritionally coconut butter is a star. One tablespoon of coconut butter has about 105 calories, 1g of protein, 3g of fiber, 1g of sugar, and 9g of fat. Coconut butter is also rich in minerals including potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
In general, coconut butter is high in fat, so should be ingested with moderation. However, there are some studies that show that coconut butter’s fat content is mostly “lauric acid” which is being tied with the ability to increase so-called good cholesterol and decrease your risk of disease.
Lauric acid has other benefits as well. It can help fight harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and infections. And is excellent with weight-control efforts, since this type of fat can help satiate, or reduce hunger.
I know loads of recipes use coconut oil, but when I can, I swap out the oil and use coconut butter instead because of the fiber found in coconut butter, as well as for the creamy texture coconut butter can provide.
Make Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice
Pumpkin pie spice is the other ingredient that brings out the sweetness in this recipe. Actually, you probably know, that pumpkin pie spice is a collection of spices, including ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice.
You can make your own or buy it ready-made. I made my own here, and leaned heavily on the cinnamon. Cinnamon is a “sweet” warm spice that, although of course has no sugar, accentuates a sweet flavor.
I probably don’t have to tell you that spices offer strong nutritional benefits, including detoxing, anti-inflammatory properties, immunity-boosting and more. So they are much more than another pretty face (taste?). Hmm..maybe that cliche doesn’t work here, haha.
How to Make Pumpkin Fudge
Super easy! Just blend up all the ingredients. Now feel free to taste-test and add some maple syrup if you want. I tend to not like things too sweet. Then pour in a mold or mini-cupcake cups or even chocolate-liked mini-cupcake cups as I did here.
Freeze about two hours and after that, it can be refrigerated. That’s because coconut butter will keep it hard.
If you like easy holiday desserts, you will love my chocolate protein bars recipe and how-to as well as my recipe for Chocolate Carmel Cakes. It has a bit longer ingredient list, and but so delicious and nutritious!
And the 3 easiest recipes on the planet:
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Healthy Pumpkin Fudge Recipe
Chocolate Shell (optional)
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Line a mini-cupcake pan with paper liners, or set out a silicon mold.
- To make homemade coconut butter, blend up 1 cup fresh shredded dry coconut (unsweetened) to create 1/2 cup of creamy coconut butter. I would actually make more if you can because coconut butter stores at room temperature quite nicely and it's easier to blend up 2 cups if possible. Add a few tsp of melted coconut oil if your butter seems too chunky.
- To use store-bought coconut butter, set the jar in a pot of boiling water and stir occasionally so the hard coconut butter turns creamy, about 3 minutes or more.
- Blend coconut butter, cashew butter, pumpkin puree, spice, water, vanilla and salt until creamy.
- Taste-test and add in a tsp or more of maple syrup if you feel you want it to be sweeter. Since coconut butter is naturally sweet, I didn't need any sweetener.
- Spoon the fudge into either lined mini cupcake pan or molds. Freeze for 2 hours before removing and setting in refrigerator.
- Store coconut butter at room temperature for a few days; or long term in the refrigerator.
To make chocolate cups (optional)
- If you want to make the chocolate cups stuffed with pumpkin fudge as I did, simple melt the chocolate chips in a microwave for 60 seconds. I use a pyrex measuring cup so I can then pour the melted chocolate.
- Pour chocolate into mini cupcake papers and use a spoon to draw a layer of chocolate up the sides and make a cup.
- Add about 1 tsp of pumpkin butter into each cup. I didn't even wait for the chocolate to harden but you can if you want. Then pour on a chocolate coating. Freeze for 1-2 hours; refrigerate after that.
Dee Dine is founder of Green Smoothie Gourmet, a plant based recipe blog, and author of the recent cookbook, Crazy Healthy with 4 Ingredients . On this blog you’ll find incredibly easy recipes with hidden veggies for anyone wanting to eat healthier, regardless of diet. Dee has graduate degrees in biology, immunology and journalism. More about Dee Dine here.