Hack Into The Pumpkin Patch

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If you ask someone what their favorite season is, chances are good that they will reply, without hesitation: “Fall!” There are many things that make autumn the best time of the year: brisk walks in the crisp, fresh air, colorful leaves adorning the trees, cozy sweaters and boots, and curling up in front of the fire with a good book. Chief among the pleasures of the season, though, are the fall foods we cherish, year after year. Perhaps no food is as closely connected to fall in our imagination as the venerable pumpkin! If you love pumpkin and want to get creative in the kitchen, here are a few ideas to get you beyond pumpkin pie and help you hack into the pumpkin patch!

pumpkin muffin

1) This fall, spice up your breakfast with a special pumpkin-rich treat: pumpkin muffins. Of course, they’re great for breakfast, but also for weekend brunches and afternoon snacks. You can even add a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an easy but decadent dessert!

Pumpkin Muffins

1 and ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a twelve cup muffin tin or line with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add the pumpkin, oil, milk, molasses and vanilla and whisk until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, filling each cup ¾ full. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

2) For a hearty snack, or as a gift for friends and neighbors, this spicy, moist pumpkin bread can’t be beat. This recipe makes three loaves – perfect for sharing!

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Spicy Pumpkin Bread

 15 oz canned pumpkin

4 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup apple cider or orange juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 1/3 cups sugar

3 ½ cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 ½ teaspoons salt

1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

1 teaspoon ground ginger

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7×3 inch loaf pans. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, salt and spices. Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar, then add juice, oil, and vanilla. Gently fold flour mixture into wet ingredients until just combined. Divide batter between loaf pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

3) This fall, why not try an alternative to boring old jelly? This luscious pumpkin butter makes an ideal spread for toast, biscuits, bagels, or pancakes. Best of all, your whole house will smell like warm fall spices!


 Pumpkin Butter

 15 oz canned pumpkin

3/4 cup apple cider

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon*

1 teaspoon ground cardamom*

¼ teaspoon ground cloves*

¼ teaspoon ground allspice*

½ teaspoon ground nutmeg*

½ teaspoon ground ginger*

Pinch salt

*You can also substitute 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice for the individual spices.

 Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring often, until mixture thickens and starts to brown. Remove from heat, cool and store in a jar in the fridge until ready to use.