Fall is upon us, bringing leaves of many colored hues, crackling fires, crisp apples, and of course, pumpkins. For some reason, pumpkin spiced foods, candies, and drinks seem to fit this time of year. Whether it’s a latte or donuts, or cakes, pumpkin spice explodes during the fall, tempting us with that unique blend of pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
And lest you start to feel guilty about eating pumpkin spiced anything, you should know that pumpkin is chock full of vitamins and other things that are good for you. Of course, you should still be aware of portions; just because the pumpkin is good for you doesn’t mean you can eat an entire pumpkin roll without consequence. Still, if you’re looking to partake of the pumpkin spice medley this year, here are a few of our favorite recipes.
Pumpkin Spiced Lattes
And while you could head out to your local mermaid-themed coffee shop for an overpriced Pumpkin Spice Latte, wouldn’t you rather stay at home, curled up in your favorite robe, sipping on one that you made yourself? As an added bonus, when you make this one at home, you’re actually getting a real pumpkin, not some chemically created derivative.
While the recipe may seem like it adds too much vanilla, trust us, it’s actually a perfect amount. This recipe makes enough for 8 servings, more or less, depending on how pumpkin-spicy you like your latte.
Pumpkin Spice Latte Base:
- Put 1/2 cup of canned pumpkin, 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 tsp. black pepper, 1/2 c. sugar in a small saucepan and cook over low heat for five minutes, stirring.
- Add 1/2 cup vanilla extract (yes, 1/2 cup), and blend together.
- Refrigerate for up to 7 days.
When you want to make your latte, take 1/3 cup of the mix and add to 1 cup of milk. Use a stick blender or regular blender to mix it until it’s frothy, and then add a double shot of espresso. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice.
Pumpkin Roll or Cake
It seems that there are as many versions of the fall bake sale classic pumpkin roll as there are cultural backgrounds in the United States. Still, for that classic spicy pumpkin cake combined with sweetened cream cheese, you really can’t go wrong with the classic recipe from Libby.
Of course, if you’re like us, the thought of actually making a pumpkin roll is one that fills you with trepidation. After all, you have to take a cake and roll it in a towel, and then unroll it to fill it? It’s much easier in our opinion to just make a classic pumpkin cake (or cupcakes) and frost them with a cream cheese frosting. You get all of the flavor and only about half the nervousness.
The best pumpkin cake recipes use actual pumpkin and aren’t difficult. So ditch the flavored box mix in your hands and head to the vegetable aisle and grab a can of cooked pumpkin. And the cream cheese icing is even easier to make, so there’s no sense in dealing with canned frosting.
Savory Pumpkin Recipes
Pumpkin is a vegetable, and not everything that you make from it needs to be a cake or pie. Some of the best pumpkin recipes are savory and still pack that great pumpkin flavor you love.
For instance, this baked pumpkin oatmeal is actually sort of good for you and tastes great. Make it on a Sunday morning for the family and serve it hot out of the oven, topped with milk and a drizzle of real maple syrup for a taste treat. Toast the oatmeal beforehand in a cast iron skillet until it begins to smell lightly toasted. The resulting nuttiness adds another flavor dimension.
If you’re a fan of sunflower seeds, don’t neglect the opportunity for snacking that pumpkin seeds bring. After you eviscerate your jack-o-lanterns, set the innards aside. Clean the seeds and let them dry. In another bowl, mix about 1-1/2 cups of seeds with 2 tsp. melted butter and a little salt. Put them in a single layer on a baking sheet and put into a preheated 300 degree Fahrenheit oven. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until the seeds are golden brown.
Another terrific way to make use of pumpkin is to make it into soup. You’re probably aware of soups that make use of other winter squashes like butternut. This uses the same principle and only highlights pumpkin’s versatility when it comes to cooking. One of our favorite recipes for pumpkin soup is here. Give it a try, even in a half-batch, and see if it doesn’t become one of your favorites as well.
With pumpkin’s deliciousness and versatility, it’s easy to see why millions of us go into a frenzy every fall. Just remember that canned pumpkin is also delicious, and that means your pumpkin splurges don’t have to be limited to just a few months out of the year.