Despite the fact that I’ve been inexplicably bought and paid for by the Son of God Himself, I feel guilty all the time. Call it a complex.

adorable napkins courtesy of sweet Erin

Sometimes it’s Byrd’s fault. She does this thing when I’m leaving for work every morning — do your dogs do this? — where she ramps up her cute factor by 200%. Suddenly she seems fluffier and snugglier. She’ll kiss my ankles and roll over for belly rubs. She’ll look up at me with eyes that I could swear weren’t that adorable yesterday.

It’s as if she’s saying, “You’re not gonna LEAVE me, are you mom? You couldn’t possibly leave your innocent wittle baby puppy, could you?”

But every morning, I break her heart by telling her goodbye and shutting her up in my bedroom. Then I walk out to my car feeling like a heel.

Other times it’s my own fault that I feel guilty. I’ll have a mile-long list of things I need to accomplish, but I’ll allow myself 5 or 10 minutes to check Facebook. And, you know, I have to check Pinterest. And what if something important happened in the world? I’ll read CNN online for just a minute or two. And what if something important happened to Reese Witherspoon? I’ll hop over to for a bit. Of course I need to check my site traffic. And gosh, it’s been forever since I’ve checked Facebook . . .

Suddenly it’s 1 o’clock in the morning and my to-do list suddenly looks a lot like an accusation staring up at me from my notepad.

Last night my guilt was even more justified. I always feed my turtle, Squirt, in a plastic storage container on the kitchen counter. I usually keep an eye on him so he doesn’t climb out and get hurt, but yesterday I was just so preoccupied. I had piles of 7th grade essays, 6th grade quizzes, and 6th grade projects to grade. Modern Family was playing in the background. Byrd was playing in the floor. My head was lost in a cloud of thesis statements and Gloria’s Colombian accent.

Suddenly, I heard a thump. I walked into the kitchen and found Squirt not in his feeding tank on the counter where I left him, but standing in the middle of the kitchen floor, looking around thoughtfully.

He had fallen off the counter.

quick, think of something happy. like pumpkin truffles.

MY BABY FELL OFF THE COUNTER BECAUSE I WAS TOO BUSY TO WATCH HIM CLOSELY. After bursting into tears, repeatedly checking all of his little turtle limbs for injuries, hugging him (much to his dismay), and investigating the scene of the accident, I sat in floor, awash in a sea of guilt. I promised myself I’d be a better mother. I thanked God profusely that he’d fallen on the carpet and not the linoleum. I called Mike and confessed my negligence.

Meanwhile, Squirt swam around in his tank and chomped at carrots, pleased as a plum to be back in the water and apparently none the worse for the wear.

The truth is, guilt is useful insofar as it leads us to make a change. The discomfort I felt after Squirt’s fall has convicted me to never leave him unsupervised again. For some people, discomfort about the way they’re living is what leads them to submit to Christ and be changed. It’s a good thing.

But beyond that, guilt is a disease. Once you’ve made a change, lingering guilt serves no purpose but to cripple you. It’s a lying voice telling you that you’re unworthy, incapable. Don’t believe it.

Today as Squirt basks under his sun lamp, I’m going to ignore the deceitful voice of guilt. I’m going to believe that I’m the best mommy for that reptile. I’m going to give myself a blank slate. And I might even try to cut down on the Facebook…

…after I post another status update about pumpkin truffles.

Since we’re on the topic of guilt, here are some truffles for you to eat way too many of — and to forgive yourself for later!

They’re worth it. In this super simple recipe, rich pumpkin cheesecake middles are coated in indulgent dark chocolate. The resulting truffles are adorable and totally poppable. Give yourself a break and make some dessert.

What kinds of things do you feel guilty about sometimes?

Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles

Recipe by: Adapted from Whole Foods
Yields: About 30 truffles

A creamy pumpkin mixture spiced up with gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs is rolled into a ball and coated with rich dark chocolate. These delectable truffles would make a lovely autumn gift since they’re so cute and poppable, but don’t feel guilty saving them all for yourself!

2 cups dark chocolate chips (see note below recipe)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
3/8 cups finely ground gingersnaps
3/8 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of orange zest (I used a dash of orange extract)
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
pretzel sticks (optional, for pops)
sprinkles or extra cookie crumbs (optional, for decoration)

Make the pumpkin middles: In a large bowl, melt the 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips according to instructions on package (usually in the microwave on half power in about 30 second intervals, stirring between each). When the white chocolate is melted, let it cool down for a bit before adding the gingersnap crumbs, pumpkin, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, extract or zest, cinnamon, salt and cream cheese. Beat this mixture until it’s completely smooth. Cover it and refrigerate it for about 2 hours until it’s firm enough to roll into balls.

Roll ’em: Roll the pumpkin mixture into balls and place them on a wax-paper lined baking sheet. Refrigerate them for another hour to let them firm up. When you’re ready to make your truffles, melt your dark chocolate according to the instructions on package (usually in the microwave on half power in about 30 second intervals, stirring between each).

Insert the pretzel sticks: (Obviously skip this step if you’re making truffles and not pops!) Take a few pumpkin balls out of the fridge at a time. Poke the end of pretzel sticks into the melted chocolate and stick one in the center of each pumpkin ball, placing them back in the fridge to set. Repeat with all of the pumpkin balls.

Dip ’em: Take out a few pumpkin pops at at time (if you just inserted pretzel sticks, use the ones that have been chilling the longest) and carefully dip the balls into the melted chocolate while holding the pretzel, using a spoon to help you coat them. Gently bounce and turn the pop (while supporting the whole pretzel stick) to let the excess drain off. Sprinkle on some sprinkles, graham cracker crumbs, or gingersnap crumbs if desired, and then stick the pop into a foam block in the fridge to dry. Alternatively, if you’re making truffles instead of pops, use two forks to dip the pumpkin ball into the chocolate and pass it between the forks to drain the excess. Roll it carefully onto a sheet of wax paper in the fridge to dry. Chill the pops about an hour, until they’re completely dry and set.

NOTE ON COATING CAKE POPS OR TRUFFLES: When it comes to coating cake pops or truffles, there are several options. My favorite coating is usually Candiquik or candy melts, because they have a lovely texture when melted, dry quickly, and don't melt if they sit out of the fridge. In this recipe, though, I chose to use plain dark chocolate to coat my truffles. Though it takes longer to dry and can get melty in your hands even once it's set, I wanted the taste of rich dark chocolate to contrast with the pumpkin. My chocolate of choice is always Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips — they are seriously delectable.

– If you need to thin your chocolate or candy melts, stir in a scant spoonful of shortening until it’s melted. Add more as needed until desired consistency is reached.
– Don’t ever put water or water-based substances in chocolate or candy melts, or they’ll seize and become unusable.
– Keep your bowl of melted chocolate or candy melts inside of a larger bowl filled halfway with hot water. The heat from the water will keep your chocolate liquid while you’re dipping all of your truffles, so that you won’t have to keep reheating.
– See this video for a visual of how to dip cake pops and truffles.

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66 Comments on Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Truffles

  1. Mom
    October 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm (11 years ago)

    Look delicious!! Squirt probably loved the adventure of it all!

  2. Megan
    October 25, 2011 at 8:47 pm (11 years ago)

    Aw. Glad Squirt is okay! These truffles look incredible!!

  3. Maggie @ A Bitchin' Kitchen
    October 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm (11 years ago)

    Aww, I’m glad Squirt is ok. I feel so guilty any time I inadvertently hurt a pet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve accidentally stepped on my poor cat’s tail. Just last weekend I bonked my boyfriend’s dog square in the nose with the refrigerator door and still feel guilty.

    These truffles look awesome…So often pumpkin is paired with cream cheese or white chocolate, and I think the pumpkin/dark chocolate combo is completely underrated!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 25, 2011 at 9:23 pm (11 years ago)

      Oh, yes! I’ve totally stepped on Byrd’s little paw before, and OH THE GUILT. I even feel guilty when I’m not involved — every now and then she’ll be playing fetch and run straight into the wall and I feel so bad!

      I agree re: pumpkin and dark chocolate. Love them together! Thanks, Maggie 🙂

  4. Lisa
    October 25, 2011 at 9:34 pm (11 years ago)

    These look delicious! I may have to make them for halloween. I always feel guilty for sleeping in or sitting around on the weekend, but I manage to hide it pretty well…at least for a while. My husband, on the other hand, does not feel any such guilt. So when I finally snap and yell, “We have to do everything right NOW!!” and start running around the house, picking stuff up and throwing it everywhere, it freaks him out a little. Oh well, such is life 🙂

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 25, 2011 at 9:35 pm (11 years ago)

      LOL! We are so much alike! I’m the same way — I can laze around for a bit, but then I start to feel awful and have to make up for it! 😉

      Thanks, Lisa!

  5. bonnie
    October 25, 2011 at 9:37 pm (11 years ago)

    I love your blog! today was a harrowing day for me, and when I read the intro for this recipe it just made me laugh! “Despite the fact that I’ve been inexplicably bought and paid for by the Son of God Himself” hahahha! Perfect! I will definitely make your dark chocolate pumpkin truffles, Jesus would want me to.

  6. Finny
    October 25, 2011 at 9:46 pm (11 years ago)

    The truffles sound yummy. And now you’ve got me wanting pictures of Squirt. We had a turtle once, by the name of Toby. So cute.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 25, 2011 at 9:52 pm (11 years ago)

      Aww, Toby! I keep meaning to take a photo of Squirt now that I have my new camera — I’ll have to do that soon! 🙂

      Thanks, Finny!

  7. Kelly
    October 25, 2011 at 9:49 pm (11 years ago)

    I lost my red eared sliders due to neglect so I definitely understand this guilt. I would make these tonight if I hadn’t eaten all my candy melts. I was having a chocolate crisis and they were the only chocolate in the house.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 25, 2011 at 9:53 pm (11 years ago)

      Aw, Kelly, I’m so sorry to hear about your babies 🙁

      …and on a different note, about your candy melts! I’m trying to keep a straight face, but that is too funny!

  8. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust
    October 25, 2011 at 10:13 pm (11 years ago)

    Wow, those look awesome! I love the pretzel sticks.

    I often feel guilty about all my blogging. I love reading and writing and baking and doing all that goes into this blogging thing that I feel like I am not as present as I should be. But I’m working on it!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm (11 years ago)

      Oh this one’s a GREAT one, Dorothy! I know just what you mean. I’ve started to make myself put down the camera and just enjoy things more often for that very reason. It’s kind of like this comic, for me:

      Sometimes I find myself thinking about blogging the experience instead of LIVING the experience 😉


  9. alisa beth
    October 26, 2011 at 7:57 am (11 years ago)

    Hello there! I think this is my first time commenting, though I’ve been reading or a couple of years! I just made one of those 101 in 1001 lists and on it was, “Make 5 fun recipes from Willow Bird Baking.” Though my start date was October 1, I wasn’t even going to THINK about which amazing recipes of yours to create until after my move back to the US where I can finally unpack my still-brand-new-boxed-up-Kitchen Aid from our wedding 3 years ago AND where I can enjoy things like an oven and stove and familiar ingredients (currently I’m living in the UK for just 3 more months in THE smallest flat EVER — complete with NO oven!). But then this post caught my eye and I thought, “Could it be? Maybe there is no baking or real cooking required!” And how my heart is soaring now as I’m planning to make these in just a few short weeks. My mom is coming for my son’s first birthday, which happens to be Thanksgiving week. We won’t be able to enjoy a pumpkin pie this year, but these pumpkin truffle pops? They’re on the menu! So, many thanks for the beautifully, inspiring recipes, photos, and stories you post on this space. I cannot wait to try these…and to select my other WBB recipes to conquer in a few months.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 26, 2011 at 8:20 am (11 years ago)

      Aww, my heart is soaring too! What a sweet comment — I’m so glad these will be feasible in your flat! And so glad you’re already planning on more kitchen fun. Thanks so much for reading — you’re just the kind of reader I’m so glad I have <3

  10. Amanda (onceuponarecipe)
    October 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm (11 years ago)

    I think that as women, we tend to become consumed by our guilt much too easily. Sometimes I just need to give my head a good shake! And I’m pretty sure that eating these dark chocolate pumpkin truffles wouldn’t hurt either. 😉

  11. Lauren at Keep It Sweet
    October 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm (11 years ago)

    I would definitely use these to make myself feel better when feeling guilty! They look great.

  12. Mary Claire
    October 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm (11 years ago)

    What kind of turtle is Squirt? I’m in the planning stages of acquiring a shelled-friend, and I’m still trying to decide what kind. I have a small furry pup, as well, so they’ll have to be good buddies.

    The truffles look Ah-mahzing!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 26, 2011 at 2:29 pm (11 years ago)

      Hi Mary Claire,

      He’s a red eared slider. I’m so glad you’re doing the planning and research first! They’re really a handful (and quite expensive — huge tank, huge filter, sun lamp with UVB, food, water bill!) and so many folks just “impulse buy” them off the street and let them die. It’s really sad. Squirt’s been with me for about 6 years now, and I hope he’ll be with me for LOTS more! Since he’s aquatic, he and Byrd don’t spend too much time together. She’s very interested in him; he’s not so keen on her. LOL. A good source of info about them is

      Thanks 🙂

      • Mary Claire
        October 27, 2011 at 10:48 am (11 years ago)

        Thanks so much for the info! I’ve been debating the merits of slider vs. box. This will definitely be a long-term process for me. I’m dying to add some more pets to my menagerie – but their health and well-being comes first!

        Say hello to Squirt and Byrd for us!

        • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
          October 27, 2011 at 10:55 am (11 years ago)

          Will do 😀 I think Box are definitely simpler in terms of setup — I kind of secretly want one of those, too, but Mike kind of looks at me sideways when I talk about getting another pet!

          I know I’m gonna cave someday and get another animal anyway! haha.

  13. daisy
    October 26, 2011 at 7:41 pm (11 years ago)

    This will be great for the holidays! Sounds really good.

  14. GourmetChocolatesCentral
    October 26, 2011 at 9:21 pm (11 years ago)

    Hey! You just made the the coolest, yummiest, and healthiest recipe for a dark chocolate..everybody must try this at their own kitchen!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 26, 2011 at 9:24 pm (11 years ago)

      Why thank you! Wish I could take total credit, but it’s mostly Whole Foods’ recipe — I DID add the dark chocolate, though 😉

  15. Courtney
    October 26, 2011 at 9:46 pm (11 years ago)

    Aw, I just love your blog. This post was a great reminder to me of God’s love. I think it is wonderful about how open and honest you are about your faith…and your ability to connect that to turtles and truffles is fantastic haha! Looks delicious!

  16. Serena
    October 26, 2011 at 11:51 pm (11 years ago)

    LOVE this recipe – I absolutely love chocolate and this is perfect for the holidays! Thanks for sharing! x

  17. DessertForTwo
    October 27, 2011 at 5:34 pm (11 years ago)

    I loved reading this. I love your thoughts on guilt–you are so right!

  18. lynda
    October 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm (11 years ago)

    Be sure to keep chocolate away from animals, in a safe container. A friend’s cat died from getting into chocolate.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm (11 years ago)

      Thanks, Lynda 🙂 Neither of my animals eat “people food” treats, especially not chocolate. Byrd in particular has a sensitive stomach, so she’s on a strict diet 😉

  19. Amber
    October 28, 2011 at 9:51 am (11 years ago)

    Love your photos! So, I tried making these and the pumpkin mixture wont set up enough for me to roll into balls. Any thoughts?

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 28, 2011 at 10:05 am (11 years ago)

      Hi Amber,

      Thanks! The pumpkin mixture never gets hard/firm, but should be the consistency of loose cream cheese — it IS a little sticky and messy to roll, but you should be able to kind of get it in acceptable ballish shapes without too much trouble. And then you should be able to chill/freeze them so that they firm into their ball shape a little better before dipping.

      I just checked and I think I ended up adding about 3/8 c of each type of crumb rather than 1/3 or 1/4 — thanks for bringing this to my attention! I changed it in the recipe. This should only be a couple of tablespoons’ difference, so I’m not sure if it could be the issue, but try mixing in some more crumbs to make up the difference and see if that helps. Please let me know!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm (11 years ago)

      Also, the original recipe had it chilling for longer — 2 hours. I know I didn’t leave mine in the fridge that long, but you could try that.

  20. lebrilettes
    October 28, 2011 at 10:17 am (11 years ago)

    You’re an amazing writer! I only need to read the first sentence to be completely immersed in your story. I’m sure the recipes are great, too, but I haven’t tried any yet. I’m planning on making the pumpkin braid for church this weekend. I found you on facebook after seeing you on several of my friends’ pages (all from church, all Rubles) and have enjoyed you ever since. I’ve always meant to ask their connection to you but keep forgetting.

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 28, 2011 at 10:24 am (11 years ago)

      Aw, thank you! I hope you love the braid 🙂 What church do you go to? I’m a Ruble — Rick Ruble’s daughter, specifically. He’s Mabel Clark’s son (brother to Jack, Pete, Keith . . . and lots more Rubles!) We live in Charlotte, so no longer in Missouri. We can still appreciate a Cardinals win, though 😉

      • lebrilettes
        October 28, 2011 at 10:31 am (11 years ago)

        🙂 I haven’t kept up with baseball in years, but I did watch a few minutes last night…well, I woke up when I heard all the noise from the television. I go to Harvest Baptist where Jack is my pastor and Debbie is my Sunday School teacher! I love Mabel, and I love her chicken n dumplins, too. 🙂

        • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
          October 28, 2011 at 10:35 am (11 years ago)

          Love it! I hate that Debbie is going through such a trial right now — we’re praying for her in Charlotte.

          And oh, how I miss Grandma Mabel and her chicken n dumplins 🙂 I need to visit soon. We were toying with a Thanksgiving trip, but not sure if it’s gonna happen!

  21. Vegetarian in the City
    October 28, 2011 at 10:47 am (11 years ago)

    loved this post!!

    i have a very fat cat named Eloise. I adopted her about a year & a half ago when I moved to New York City. Every time I leave for work in the morning I feel terrible about leaving her. Each meow (cry) at the door as I walk down the 4 flights of my apartment breaks my heart bit by bit.

    i’m glad to hear your little guy was okay after falling off the counter 🙂

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      October 28, 2011 at 11:03 am (11 years ago)

      Isn’t it hard?! I HATE the pitiful face Byrd makes when I’m leaving. And when I’m carrying her into my room to close her in, she just turns to a snuggly sack of flour in my hands. It’s as if she’s saying, “pleeeease don’t put me down!”


  22. Erin Brooks
    October 28, 2011 at 3:28 pm (11 years ago)

    Those look fantastic! I can’t wait to make candy with my daughter when she’s older!

      • emily eats
        November 10, 2011 at 7:01 am (11 years ago)

        I saw this! So cool, I definitely I want to! Just getting started with my blog so could use some pointers for sure, your blog is awesome.

        • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
          November 10, 2011 at 7:25 am (11 years ago)

          Aw, thanks! Your blog is looking great!

          We’re doing a Thanksgiving Redux potluck on 11/28 — I’ll send you the info! Hope you can join us!

  23. Cassidy Bohan
    November 1, 2011 at 5:43 pm (11 years ago)

    oh my god, these look amazing! will HAVE to make this asap.

  24. kyra boyd
    November 2, 2011 at 11:11 am (11 years ago)

    I made these for today! They turned out amazing!!! I used bittersweet chocolate chips for the coating, and it blended so great! Thanks for the great recipe! My husband is in the military and we live in England..Every week on wednesdays, some of us military spouses get together for tea at somebody’s house….we all bring treats to share. Today I brought these, and everybody LOVED them!!!

    • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
      November 2, 2011 at 11:21 am (11 years ago)

      Yayyy! I’m so glad to hear they were a hit, Kyra! Thanks for your comment.

  25. Sue
    December 15, 2011 at 2:43 am (11 years ago)

    So I come to you for basically everything regarding technique I haven’t done before. I found a recipe for oreo cookie truffles and they were all like “roll them into balls! Dip them in the chocolate!”
    So I did that and I was like, “Something isn’t right. Should it be that squishy?”
    “I know! I’ll check out willow bird baking because I remember she had a pumpkin truffle recipe a while ago!”
    After searching for a bit (because the layout changed and I have to re-learn how to find everything) I find this recipe “Score!”
    And I was like, “I KNEW IT!” Nowhere in that crap recipe I got did it say I should refrigerate before coating in chocolate. 🙁 Stupid Kraft foods….
    Anyway, then I saw your helpful comment about adding shortening to the chocolate to thin it out. I melted two bags of nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips in a bowl over hot water and when I tried dipping the squishy oreo balls in it the coating was pretty thick and I didn’t think it would last for the rest of the recipe. So, taking a wild guess, I think “well I don’t have shortening… how about butter?! This can’t go wrong!”
    FAIL. So much fail.
    It seized.
    So then I’m like “I have to fix this now! No time for the internet to find out what to do!”
    I remembered that something similar happened on Chopped during the dessert round, and the person added cream and it got better, so I add skim milk (it was all I had!) and it was kind of working, but still really hard to incorporate. The milk kind of just sloshed around and got all chocolatey, but I wasn’t looking for hot coco. I busted out my electric hand mixer and that seemed to smooth it out, but it was still kind of thick. I added more milk, blended a bit more, and voila! Chocolate… something.
    I’m writing this as the truffle balls chill and I’m going to roll them in a little while so I’ll see if I added too much crap to the chocolate for it to cool and harden again.

    • Sue
      December 15, 2011 at 4:13 am (11 years ago)

      So I think I made ganache….
      How did you get such a nice thin layer of chocolate to coat the truffles? It seems like my truffles were extremely goopy and covered with about 4 inches of chocolate. :-/

      • Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
        December 15, 2011 at 12:06 pm (11 years ago)

        Aw, I’m sorry Sue — yes, it sounds like you made ganache. I’m afraid if you need to thin out the chocolate, shortening is your best option — and use it sparingly, stirring well, until you reach a good consistency. Anything with water (like butter) will cause the chocolate to seize, and any liquid (milk, oil) might prevent the chocolate from hardening into a coating.

        I hope they still tasted yummy at least? Best wishes for more luck next time!!


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