My Kind of Pumpkin

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t go nuts over pumpkin. I don’t rush to Starbucks each September for a pumpkin spice latte. I’ve been known to bypass the pumpkin pie in favor of other goodies at Thanksgiving, and while I’ll eat a piece of pumpkin roll or a pumpkin square, I don’t hide the fact that for me, those goodies are all about the frosting/filling.

We did, however, receive a couple of pie pumpkins at the end of our CSA, and since I wasn’t ready to make pie, I roasted them (per Annie’s method) and froze the puree. I figured I’d find a use for it sooner or later! I stumbled on a muffin recipe over at Smitten Kitchen, and, in spite of my ambivalence toward most things pumpkin, I will be the first to admit that these are a keeper.

First of all, they’re incredibly easy to make. In my mind, muffins should be quick and easy. If I want a breakfast with multiple steps, I’ll make cinnamon rolls or something. Since I upped the amount of pumpkin in the recipe, I figured I could also add some oatmeal (these ARE muffins, after all, not cupcakes). They’re nice and moist (thanks to all of that pumpkin!), and they go well with the handful of mini chocolate chips that just happened to find their way into the mixing bowl. 🙂


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour (I used a combination of white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour and regular all-purpose flour)
scant 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 lb. pumpkin puree (Deb’s recipe calls for 1 1/3 cups of puree, which is what I used the first time I made these. The second time, I discovered that there was just a little left in the freezer bag, so I added it all.) 
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners. (I got 24 mini-muffins and then another 10 or so regular-sized muffins out of one batch.) 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the pumpkin mixture and gently stir until almost combined. Pour the chocolate chips into the bowl and stir the batter a couple more times, until the chips are incorporated and the flour is all mixed into the batter.

Divide the mixture between the prepared muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with cinnamon sugar. Bake until muffins test done with a toothpick, about 22 minutes. (I start checking them around 18 minutes or so.) Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who got the recipe from the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, via Gourmet magazine

Click here for a printable version.


This One’s For the Girls

Every winter, Andy takes a trip with his buddies. They drive north for a couple of hours, hike into a campsite, set up tents and spend the weekend in the cold. I am never invited, and I am 100% OK with that. As much as I love camping, I have no desire to sleep in a tent (or pee in the woods) during January. Especially January in Wisconsin. Call me when the days are sunny and mild, the nights are cool (but not cold), and I don’t need to pack long underwear. Until then… you can keep your man trip. 😉

So, what’s a girl to do while her husband’s out sleeping in the woods? Get together with her girlfriends, of course! And since my friends love food just as much as I do, our evenings always involve lots of goodness. This year, our “girls night” food included:

  • Chips and guac
  • Fresh bread and garlic dipping oil
  • Hummus and chips
  • Brownie cobbler
  • Pumpkin spice latte ice cream (my contribution to the feast!)

I decided to make this particular flavor because Andy’s not a pumpkin fan, and neither is Karen’s husband. This would keep the boys’ disappointment to a minimum, I thought. (This is where I was wrong, at least as far as Andy’s concerned. While he doesn’t love pumpkin or coffee, he definitely enjoyed the ice cream he sampled. Oh well. It’s not like I sent him to the woods without cookies and steak!)

I was a little skeptical when I stirred the pumpkin into the coffee-flavored base. The pumpkin flavor was overwhelming! There wasn’t anything I could do about it though, so I put it in the fridge to chill overnight. Thankfully, everything mellowed and the flavors came together perfectly by the time I churned the ice cream. What we had was a smooth, creamy treat with just the right amount of pumpkin flavor mingled with the coffee ice cream. Yum.


Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk (I did the half and half plus some skim milk combo… how many people actually keep whole milk on hand?!)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
dash of ground cloves
1 cup whole coffee beans (Since I don’t drink coffee often, I had no idea what beans to buy. I just picked some off the store shelves – and they happened to be on sale! If you have a favorite roast/flavor/brand of beans, use them.) 
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 tablespoons espresso powder (I have yet to find this in my store – probably because I don’t drink coffee much – so I subbed instant coffee powder.) 
1 cup pumpkin puree

In a medium saucepan, stir together the cream, milk, 1/2 cup of sugar and the spices. Heat over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. When the mixture has warmed through, add the coffee beans and bring the mixture to a simmer. (This is where you pay attention, otherwise you’ll discover the pot at a rolling boil with creamy coffee beans about to go everywhere. Thankfully, the crisis was averted. Missed it by that much!) Remove the pan from the heat, cover and let sit for one hour.

In a medium bowl (I used one of my large Pyrex measuring cups with a pour spout!), whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar until well blended.

Rewarm the coffee/cream mixture on the stove. When the mixture is warmed through (but not too hot), temper the egg yolks by stirring a little of the warm cream into them. Continue to add cream, whisking constantly. When the mixtures have been thoroughly combined, return them to the saucepan and reheat over medium heat, stirring constantly. When the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl, and pour the custard through the strainer. Press on the coffee beans to extract as much of the flavor as possible. Discard the beans when finished.

Stir the pumpkin puree and espresso powder into the custard. Mix until powder dissolves. Cover the bowl and place in the refrigerator until chilled through, at least a couple of hours.

Freeze the chilled mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.

From My Kitchen Addition, as seen on Annie’s Eats, via Cook Like a Champion

Click HERE for a printable version!

Pumpkin Roll

File this one in the “Recipes I Never Thought I’d Make” category. Not because I don’t like it, or because I couldn’t make it, it’s just that someone else has always made it. 


dramatic pause

pumpkin roll!

Pumpkin roll is one of those holiday traditions in my family. It’s there every year, but this past year was the first time I was asked to make it. Imagine the pressure! (all self-induced, of course.) What if I screwed it up and was responsible for us NOT having pumpkin roll?

OK, it wasn’t THAT bad. Both my mom and my grandma assured me that I could do it. And since I’d seen Karen tackle it earlier in the fall, I felt like it might not be impossible for me. 🙂

I’m happy to report that my first pumpkin roll was a success! It both looked AND tasted like Grandma’s. (Good thing, since I used her recipe!) 

In spite of the multiple steps in this recipe (baking, rolling, unrolling and re-rolling), it’s actually easy to put together. Its one downside (and Kirsten will agree with me on this) is that it doesn’t use an entire can of pumpkin. But have no fear! I have another recipe coming soon that only uses one cup of pumpkin, so you won’t be stuck with leftovers. 🙂

Side note: I know this recipe seems a little out of place in January, but there’s really no reason why it would be. Did you put up pumpkin puree this fall? Or hit up the post-holiday pumpkin sale at your local grocery store? (No? It’s not too late! Go check, because I saw cans of pumpkin for $1 each at Walmart over the weekend.) 

Pumpkin Roll
Yes, the cake is good, but I’ll be honest… I’m here for the filling. 🙂

Pumpkin Roll 

For the cake:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground gloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped walnuts (I used about half this amount since I’d rather not have my dessert overwhelmed by nuts.) 
splash of vanilla (not in the original recipe, but I love the stuff.)
Powered sugar, for sprinkling the towel and garnishing

For the filling:
8 ounces of cream cheese, softened
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
6 tablespoons of butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 15″ x 10″ jelly roll pan; line with parchment paper. Grease and flour the parchment paper. (I actually think my jelly roll pan is 11″ x 17″. It worked fine though.) Set pan aside. On a work surface (but not where you’ll be mixing things!) sprinkle a clean, thin cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a small bowl.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla until thick. Beat in the pumpkin, then stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake for 13-15 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when touched.

Remove the pan from the oven and immediately loosen the edges of the cake. Invert the cake on to the prepared towel. (He who hesitates is lost here – take a deep breath and give it a quick flip!) Carefully peel off the parchment paper, and then roll up the cake and towel together, starting at the narrow end. Place the roll on a wire rack and let cool completely.

While the cake is cooling, prepare the filling. Beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth. (I used my hand mixer for this part, since the bowl for my stand mixer was dirty…)

When the cake has cooled, carefully unroll it. Remove the towel from the cake and spread the cream cheese filling over the cake. Re-roll the cake. Wrap the cake in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.*

Cut chilled cake into pieces about an inch thick. If desired, sprinkle slices with powdered sugar before serving.

*Have pumpkin roll, will travel! Want to take this bad boy on the road? Simply wrap the cake in plastic wrap, then foil, and place in the freezer. Bam! Pop the frozen roll in the cooler with an ice pack or two, and you’re good to go for at least eight hours. 🙂 

From my Grandma

Click HERE for a printable version!

Pumpkin Persuasion

Andy and I have an ongoing debate about pots and pans. Specifically, the number of pots and pans that should live in my kitchen cabinets. Since he puts the clean dishes away, he battles the stacks of skillets, saucepans and stock pots. (Shameless brag here… how awesome is he? I HATE emptying the drainer and putting clean dishes away. Gotta love him!) So, the last thing I need, in his eyes, is another pan perched precariously on the shelf. Especially a pan that can be used for only one thing.


there are DOUGHNUTS to be made. (Yes, I realize that I could make yeasted doughnuts and skip the whole “buy a doughnut pan” issue. But that requires much more time – these cake doughnuts baked up in under an hour, start to finish – and deep frying, which I’m not a fan of.) Enter the doughnut pan debate.

Me: Oooh, look! A doughnut recipe! If only I had a doughnut pan…
Andy: You don’t NEED a doughnut pan.
Me: But you like doughnuts! Don’t you want homemade doughnuts?
Andy: Not really. And not if it means getting another pan to fit in the drawer under the stove.
Me: *sigh* Another dream bites the dust…

Thankfully, I don’t give up easily. And I have connections. My friend Emily was willing to let me borrow her doughnut pan, and I figured that if I could whip up the world’s tastiest doughnuts, I’d convince Andy to let me add a doughnut pan of my own to my collection. (Me? Scheming? Never…) 

I saw a pumpkin doughnut recipe on Milk & Honey, and it seemed too good (and too easy!) to pass up. They were moist and full of fall flavor. They came together in a snap. I made 12 full-sized doughnuts and nearly 24 doughnut “holes,” using my mini muffin pan. They were everything I’d hoped they would be… except for the fact that they did nothing to change Andy’s mind. According to him, they were just cake baked into the shape of a doughnut. Hmm. Guess that means I need to try again!


Pumpkin Doughnuts

1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
15 ounces pumpkin puree
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
cinnamon-sugar mixture (I simply mixed some sugar and cinnamon together until it looked like a good ratio.) 

Preheat oven to 350. Coat a doughnut pan (or a mini muffin pan, if you’re making doughnut holes) with non-stick spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the oil, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking powder. Beat on medium speed until smooth. Add the flour and mix until just combined, being careful not to overmix the batter.

Fill each well in the doughnut pan about two-thirds of the way full. (I would err on the side of “less is more” with these guys. I found that overfilling the wells caused them to look less doughnut-like.) Bake doughnuts until they test done with a toothpick (somewhere in the 15-20 minute range). Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes in the pan on a wire rack.

Place the cinnamon-sugar mixture in a large Ziploc bag. Before the doughnuts are completely cool, flip them out of the pan and place them, a few at a time, in the bag with the cinnamon-sugar. Seal the bag and shake to coat the doughnuts. Remove from the bag and allow to cool completely on a wire rack. Repeat the process until all doughnuts are coated.

Serve immediately. (These will get slightly soggy after a day or so, but I found that keeping some extra cinnamon-sugar on hand to toss on a day-old doughnut helped them immensely.) Store any leftover doughnuts in an airtight container.

From King Arthur Flour, via Milk & Honey