Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Bark

Chocolate Pumpkinseed Bark-3398

Y’all, it’s Thanksgiving week, and I don’t know about you, but I have work/life/blog details piling up in my mind like stacks of leftover turkey sandwiches.

How are you guys feeling? How is life this week for you? I hope it’s been smooth as pumpkin butterscotch trifle.

I think that this year, we should make recipe planning a bit easier for everyone. This week’s Thanksgiving-themed dessert is easy-peasey- and takes a total of max 10 minutes cook time. Also, due to my lack of energy brain cells, I could not figure out what to title this post.  Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Bark? PSPS Bark? Yes, the bark is topped with pumpkin seeds, but the pumpkin seeds are pumpkin-spice flavored, which makes them even more delicious. There are also golden raisins involved, and Lord help trying to get all of that to fit in a name. But here we are, and trust me, this chocolate bark is going to be Thanksgiving hit.

This year, in my Southern family, I am in charge of desserts. And as much as I love to bake, I was eager to find a solution for the people, like me, who see a whole roasted turkey, sweet potato casserole with sugary pecans, buttered rolls and potato gratin and think- YES I WILL EAT ALL OF THOSE. And come back for seconds.

Have any of y’all taken this “Which TV Family Should You Eat Thanksgiving With?” quiz? You need to, find it here!: #gilmoregirls

So, by the time I get to dessert I am stuffed. To the brim. And despite my sister and I’s argument that yes, there is indeed such a thing as a completely separate dessert stomach, sometimes you need a breather. Or, maybe you want to space out your eating- and need something sweet to keep your energy up while you are baking your booty off for your loved ones.

I picked this recipe up from Food Networks’ awesome ratio for DIY chocolate bark. All you need is a pound of chocolate, a cup or so of toppings, and you are ready to sprinkle! Get creative, do what you feel, and I am pretty sure you will end up with a version of your own chocolate bark that will knock your guests’ socks off.

And, you only need about 45 minutes of chill time for the chocolate to set and be ready to eat (I highly recommend taking that opportunity to have someone else do your baking dishes).

Chocolate Pumpkinseed Bark-3391

Pumpkin Spice Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Bark

(Recipe adapted from this awesome post on mix-and-match chocolate bark from Food Network)

  • 16 ounces chocolate (I used a mix of milk, white, and dark; feel free to one type of chocolate, or mix types and flavors as you see fit!)
  • 1/2 cup Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • Coarsely grated sea salt

1. Chop chocolate into 1/2 inch pieces and set one cup of chopped chocolate aside.

2. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil, shiny side facing up.

2. Put chopped chocolate (aside from one cup) into a large glass bowl. Microwave chocolate for 30 seconds, then stir with fork or rubber spatula. Microwave for another 3o seconds and stir again with fork or rubber spatula (it will be chunky and that is totally ok).

3. Now that the chocolate is slightly melted, microwave for one more minute. Remove from heat and stir quickly, attempting to dissolve any remaining chocolate pieces. Now, pour about 1/3 cup of chopped chocolate and stir to combine. Repeat with the rest of the chocolate, and stir quickly until the chocolate is completely melted and the surface is smooth and glossy.

4. Pour chocolate into foil-lined baking pan, spreading with rubber spatula until about 1/4 inch thick.

5. Sprinkle evenly with golden raisins, then seeds, then coarsely grated sea salt.

6. Put baking pan into fridge to cool for about 45 minutes. Or, if your room is cool, and you aren’t in a hurry to get your chocolate on, you can let it cool at room temperature. Break the chocolate into large pieces (it is the season of sharing after all) and enjoy!

To Paris with Luv + Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies



Paris is on my mind a lot today.

I know it is for a lot of people. I can’t imagine the pain and heartache those precious Parisians, Americans, really everyone in the city- are going through. And my spirit is heavy. I mourn for the loss of life. I am angered, to put it mildly, at the way fear has attempted to embed itself in our culture. And it hits close to home, not only because a friend of our family’s was in Paris during the attacks, but also because I have had a passionate love for the city since I was 16 years old. You see, Paris is where my love of food and beauty ignited.

Paris is a gloriously cultured, epicurean city. It’s hustle, it’s sounds, it’s smells- revolve around a lifestyle of perfect taste and high expectations. It is a city of textured pastry, divine fillings, buttery croissant and dark chocolate pot de creme. It is light meringue and mise en place. It embodies transcendent beauty and architecture and style- beauty at a height that steals your breath away.

Paris in the Afternoon

Notre Dame in the morning light

I’ve been to Paris twice, once as a sophomore in high school, and another as a sophomore in college. In fact, the second time I went, I was so swept up by the Eiffel Tower, alight and glittering in the cool of the evening, that I vowed to take my husband there. The romance of the city wooed my heart and at the same time opened me up to possibility. I knew from that moment on that I was made to be a lover and defender of the arts, of beauty, and of a crusty French baguette with salty ham and creamed fresh butter.

The Parisian ham sandwich turned how I thought about convenience and eating on its axis. It was the best sandwich, and one of the best foods, I had ever tasted; classic in it’s simplicity and sublimely rich and salty. It was awakening and made me feel like a true Parisian; I yearned for more.

Young ZTAs in Paris
My young self in college, with my friend Maeci, on top of the Eiffel Tower.

This yearning- this longing to experience food, and really taste it, how do you put that moment into words? I wasn’t eating this bread and butter and ham like I was used to- in a hurried American way, with a sinking suspicion about calories or how knocking back four of them would make my jeans fit. It transcended that. It was about the way the Lord uses food to nourish and comfort and sustain us. And I will always, always be grateful to Paris for that. For making me feel like it was ok to be who I was and fully enjoy it.

Which brings me to this week’s cookies. To be honest, I aimed to post them a few weeks ago, right when pumpkins were hitting their peak. But I’m so glad I waited; the timing is right now. They are epitome of fall comfort. Hearty but healthy, with a nice chew from the oats; warm, with pumpkin and cinnamon for flavor. And slightly sweet with the hit of cacao nibs or semi sweet chocolate chips. They are perfect for breakfast with a warm cafe au lait (a favorite of mine in Paris, made with dark French roast coffee) or an afternoon tea. Or even dessert after an indulgent main course.

At the end of the day, like I told a friend of mine recently- sometimes all I know to do when people are hurting, or are in need, is to bring them something to eat. I rack my brain to find a solution-the perfect healing answer-but this is always where I land. Food is where my passion is and this is where I can contribute. This is where we all can contribute.

So, I send this recipe with love to the city where beauty and food are held in high esteem. To where my creative heart began to beat deeply. To Paris with luv, always.



Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Cacao Nibs (Recipe adapted from Food.com and Scone head’s substitutions)

These cookies smell lovely, bake up nice and fluffy, have less butter than those of their same type and are also delicious topped with peanut butter. This recipe yields about 28 cookies.

What You Will Need

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3⁄4 cup cacao nibs or semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 3⁄4 cup golden raisins

What You Will Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Beat softened butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and fluffy (about a minute or two).
  3. Add pumpkin puree and beat for one minute more. Use a spatula to wipe the bowl to make sure both butter and pumpkin are beating together. It’s ok for there to still be lumps of butter in the pumpkin (totally normal!)
  4. Add both sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix lightly to combine.
  5. Add cinnamon; then eggs, one at a time. Wipe the bowl with a spatula to make sure again that no ingredients are building up at the bottom of the bowl. Finally, add vanilla extract until mixed in.
  6. Add one cup of the flour. Beat to combine.
  7. Beat in the remaining 3/4 cup flour until combined. Wipe the sides of the bowl to stir all of the flour in.
  8. Add pre-soaked oats, cacao nibs or chocolate chips, and golden raisins and gently mix together until a dough-like consistency forms.
  9. Drop by rounded tablespoon on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  10. Bake at 375 degrees for 14-15 minutes or until edges of the cookies are golden brown. Cool on wire rack.