As you know, I love pumpkin. It embodies fall to me and all that I love about the season. We looked at great meals you can make with pumpkin and there is obviously the ever popular pumpkin pie in the dessert category. However, there are lots of other great treats that you can make with this vegetable and since it is a vegetable I’m declaring them at least semi-healthy. Here are 4 great easy pumpkin treats to make.
You can make most of these recipes at any time of year if you use canned pumpkin but, during the fall, you can cook up fresh pie pumpkins to get your own cooked pumpkin for recipes. If you want to make your own puree, preheat your oven to 300 F. Cut the pumpkin into manageable pieces, removing the seeds and pith. Place the pumpkin, skin side down, in a large roasting pan along with about ¼ inch of water. Bake for an hour or until the flesh is tender. Remove it from the oven, allow it to cool, remove the skin and puree the flesh and you have fresh pumpkin puree.
With the exception of two recipes, the ones we look at today all come from the Brown Eyed Baker Blog. This is one of my favourite baking blogs and I have never made anything here that didn’t turn out divinely tasty.
Remember, pumpkin is much more than just pumpkin pie.
1. Pumpkin Dump Cake
This one is among my favourite easy pumpkin treats. It’s delicious and easy to make.
- 4 eggs
- 1 large can evaporated milk
- 3/4 C sugar
- 2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 1 t cloves
- 1 t ginger
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
- 1 1/2 C+ chopped pecans
- 1 box yellow cake mix
- 1 C margarine , melted
Mix first 9 ingredients and pour into greased 9 x13 pan.
Sprinkle 1 box yellow cake mix over pumpkin mix. Drizzle melted margarine over cake mix. Cover with chopped pecans. Bake at 350o for 1 hr. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
2. Cranberry Pumpkin Loaf
This recipe comes from The New American Plate Cookbook: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life (2005) by the American Institute for Cancer Research. It’s very moist and flavourful while still being somewhat healthy. Quick breads are an ideal hostess gift for the holidays.
- ½ cup each: whole wheat pastry (soft) flour, unbleached all-purpose flour, ground flaxseed
- 2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup each: canola oil, apple juice
- ½ tsp each: ground cinnamon, ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 cup dried cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, flaxseed, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together. Mix in all remaining ingredients except cranberries. Mix thoroughly. Stir in cranberries and add wet ingredients to dry and stir until just mixed. Do not overmix as this will result in a tough bread. Pour the batter into a greased loaf pan and bake for approximately 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Then cool for 15 minutes in pan and then remove from pan to complete cooling. Enjoy easy pumpkin treats whenever you can because they are super delicious.
3. Pumpkin and Cream Cheese Muffins with Pecan Streusel
These come from the Ezra Pound baking blog and they’re a little more work than most quick breads but totally worth it.
Filling (Double this amount if you really love cream cheese.):
- 8 oz softened cream cheese
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 1 Tb vanilla
- ½ cup flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ¼ cup finely chopped pecans
- 3 Tb melted butter
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 ½ Tb pumpkin pie spice2 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 ¼ cups pumpkin puree, drain off any excess water
- 3 lightly beaten eggs
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- ½ tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 24 muffin cups with paper or parchment (preferable) liners. In a bowl, beat together cream cheese and sugar for filling. Stir in vanilla. Form it into a log, wrap with plastic wrap and freeze for about an hour. This prevents the cream cheese from leaking everywhere when it is baking.
In a separate dish, mix together all the streusel ingredients and set aside, and combine all dry ingredients for the muffins in a large bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the wet components. Add wet to dry and mix until just combined. Again, do not overmix. Remove cream cheese mixture from the freezer and slice into 24 slices. Divide half the batter among the cups. Place a slice of cream cheese mixture on each cup of batter. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle each cup with pecan streusel mixture. Bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes.
4. Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing
For the Cookies:
- 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1¼ teaspoons ground ginger
- ¾ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cup (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2¼ cups light brown sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1½ cups canned pumpkin
- ¾ cup half-and-half
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the Icing:
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
This is one of my favourite easy pumpkin treats.
Preheat oven to 375 F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper. In a medium sized bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the cookies. In a separate bowl using an electric mixer beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 3 min). Beat in eggs. Reduce mixer speed to low and add in remaining ingredients. Gradually add in dry ingredient mixture to wet while keeping the mixer on low.
Roll batter in balls and place on baking sheet leaving about an inch and a half between cookies as they will spread a bit. Bake 12-15 minutes until the centres spring back when touched lightly. Remove and cool on pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack.
For the icing
Place powdered icing sugar in a heat proof bowl. In a small skillet over low heat, melt butter. Cook it, swirling it around the pan occasionally until it is golden brown in colour and smells slightly nutty. Watch it carefully as you do not want it to actually burn. Once the butter reaches that point, pour it into the icing sugar. Add remaining ingredients and stir until smooth. Ice your cookies and enjoy!
How do you like these easy pumpkin treats? Which one do you prefer?
Cover photo: www.lifetasteslikefood.com