In autumn, I savor the pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks. The warmth of that cup in my chilled hands. The aroma of sprinkled spices wafting from atop a dollop of whipped cream. It’s a bit of seasonal heaven.
And then there is that other autumn joy, the scrumptious pumpkin pie on the Thanksgiving table. But somewhere in between that first latte and that luscious holiday pie, the world goes mad for the great pumpkin.
Eggo pumpkin waffles and pumpkin Pop-Tarts are in the grocery aisles. Pumpkin pancakes can be had at Woodbury Café. And a variety of pumpkin martinis and cheesecakes are spotted on restaurant menus around town. I recently enjoyed some pumpkin white-chocolate cookies from Dorothy Ann Bakery. Thumbs up.
A recent pumpkin recipe fail was this pumpkin-hazelnut teacake from the Mayo Clinic. It’s supposed to be healthy. It’s probably not supposed to double as a boat anchor, which is how mine turned out.
An easy pumpkin win is mixing one can of pumpkin puree with one box of chocolate cake mix and nothing else. Plop the batter into coated muffin cups and sprinkle with ground flax seed. Bake 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Easy and delicious.
For an even better pumpkin muffin recipe, check out these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins by my good friend Brenda Score over at A Farmgirl’s Dabbles. I make mine in a mini-muffin pan with mini chocolate chips. You simply can’t walk past these delightful fall treats without popping one into your mouth.
Another friend turned me on to my most recent pumpkin fetish. Pumpkin oatmeal! She mixes a bit of pumpkin puree with water and instant oatmeal, then nukes it in the microwave. I prefer old-fashioned oats. So, for one serving, I boil a cup of water. Add a healthy tablespoon or two of pumpkin puree and stir until it dissolves. Add half a cup of oats and pumpkin pie spice.
Cook and stir for a few more minutes and voila. I add a bit of butter and brown sugar because I’m naughty. Oh my. Better than a bowl of Fiber One any day.
For your Grand Pumpkin Finale! Here’s a recipe for the most coveted pumpkin raisin bars of any Sunday social. (Submitted by my friend Rachel Symmank.)
Pumpkin Raisin Bars
- 2 c. flour
- 2 c. sugar
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1 t. baking soda
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1 t. nutmeg
- ½ t. salt
- ½ t. cloves
- 1 c. oil
- 4 eggs
- 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
- ½ c. chopped nuts (I use walnuts)
- ½ c. raisins
Heat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients except nuts and raisins. Beat at low speed until moistened. Beat 2 min. at medium speed. Stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into greased 15” X 10” X 1” pan. Bake for 25 to 30 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool completely.
- 1/3 c. butter or margarine (softened)
- 3 oz. Cream cheese (softened)
- 2 c. powdered sugar
- 1 T. milk
- 1 t. vanilla
In a small bowl combine all frosting ingredients; beat until smooth. Frost cooled bars. Store in refrigerator.
Rachel makes her cake the night before and covers it with a cloth. She makes her frosting and frosts her cake about 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!