PUMPKIN is having its moment right now. Every October, 80% of the country’s pumpkin crop is ready to be picked, according to the University of California. That’s a whopping 800 million pounds of pumpkin.
Many pumpkins will be turned into jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. But if you’re looking for a few ways to pumpkin spice up your life instead, I put together a few dishes to try.
This year all the dishes I made were baked goods, no doubt influenced by recent chilly, stay-inside-and-bake kind of fall weather.
One of my favorite creations is a quick, three-ingredient pumpkin spice cake. All you need is pumpkin puree, a spice cake mix and buttermilk. You mix them together, pop the cake in the oven for about a half-hour and you are rewarded with an incredibly moist and delicious cake with minimal work.
Because I made the tomato rolls a few weeks ago (see https://bit.ly/3AAoyVy), I wanted to make pumpkin cinnamon rolls, too. I put together a pumpkin dough and smothered it with brown sugar butter, rolled it into a log and cut it into rolls (you could also sweeten up some cream cheese instead of butter.)
My final pumpkin creation this year was gluten-free chocolate, pumpkin and peanut butter brownies.
Instead of using egg in the recipe, I used flax seed soaked in water, which makes for an excellent egg substitute in baked dishes. That means the recipe is also dairy-free. The chewy and decadent brownies will impress your friends and family.
Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup butter, plus 3 tablespoons softened butter, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
2/3 cup, plus 1 teaspoon sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
Add the milk, 3 tablespoons of butter and one teaspoon of sugar to a saucepan and set over medium-low heat.
Heat until the butter is melted and the mixture is warm, then transfer to a mixing bowl and sprinkle yeast over the top. Let sit until frothy.
Add flour, remaining sugar, egg, pumpkin and salt. Mix with a spatula until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Lightly butter a large bowl. Set the dough in the bowl, then cover with plastic and let the dough stand for about 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.
Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper and set aside. In a medium bowl, add remaining butter, pumpkin pie spice, salt and brown sugar. Cream together then set aside.
Flour a clean workspace. Transfer the dough to the workspace and use a floured rolling pin to roll the dough into a rectangle about 16x12 inches.
Spread the butter and sugar mixture over the dough leaving a border of about 1/2-inch. Roll the dough into a log. Use a sharp knife to slice the into pieces about 1 1/2-inches thick.
Set the rolls in the prepared dish and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 90 minutes or until it is almost doubled in size.
Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. After removing plastic wrap, set the rolls in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until they are slightly golden brown. Remove from oven, brush with additional butter and top with additional pumpkin pie spice before serving, if desired.
Pumpkin Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies
2 tablespoons flax seed
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup, plus 4 tablespoons peanut butter
1/4 cup agave (or rice or maple) syrup
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
Add flax seed to a small bowl and stir in the water. Let sit for about 15 minutes or until thickened.
Add pumpkin puree, peanut butter and agave syrup to a bowl and stir until smooth and creamy. Stir in the flax mixture.
Sift cocoa powder, then add to the mix along with the baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt. Stir well to combine. Mix in the chocolate chunks.
Line 8X10 inch baking dish with parchment paper and transfer the batter to the dish. Spread in an even layer and dot the top with remaining peanut butter. Use a toothpick to create a swirled design.
Transfer baking dish to a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 25 minutes or until the brownies are set in the middle.
Easy Pumpkin Spice Cake
15.25-ounce package spice cake mix
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1/2 cup buttermilk
Powdered sugar, for garnish, if desired
Add all ingredients to a bowl and stir until smooth. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper, then spray the sides with cooking spray. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and set in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes before releasing the form. Garnish with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.