Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

 
I don’t usually post on weekends, but I just had to get out one last pumpkin recipe. : )
And then, I PROMISE I will not be posting pumpkin recipes for a good while.
This bread is perfect for these blustery days (as pooh says) and while it freezes well, ours didn’t have much of a chance to make it to the freezer.  It’s a little dense but still very moist, and I love the combination of pumpkin and chocolate.  I think next time I’ll try using mini chocolate chips so they’ll be a little more evenly dispersed.  But either way, this one’s a winner!
 
PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD
 
2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
3 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
15 oz (about 1 3/4 cups) pumpkin puree
1 cup oil, canola or vegetable
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
 
Mix flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, oil, eggs, and water until well combined.
Stir wet mix into dry mixture, just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.
Divide batter between two greased 9 by 5 loaf pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 to 70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool in pan about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
 
Recipe source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

Pumpkin Truffles

So, yes, yet another pumpkin recipe.  Just one more and then I promise we’ll return to another food group. : )
These are super quick and easy, and I love the idea of serving them with pumpkin fudge and pumpkin sea salt caramels for a little pumpkin sweets buffet this fall.
You could easily make these ahead of time and store in a container in the fridge or freezer.
They are a little softer than regular truffles, but the chocolate exterior gives a nice crunch.
PUMPKIN SPICE TRUFFLES
10 oz white chocolate chips
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
Melt the white cholcolate chips in a double boiler or microwave.
Add everything else except dark chocolate, stir until well combined.
Put mixture in the fridge to cool.
When cool, drop by spoonfulls onto a parchment or silicone lined tray.
Put in the freezer to harden.
Roll with your hands to get a smooth ball.
Melt dark chocolate, and dip bottom half of balls in chocolate.
Then drizzle the top with more chocolate.
Or, dip entire ball in chocolate.
Return mixture to fridge to cool and set chocolate.
Recipe adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Pumpkin Fudge

In case I haven’t won you over on the idea of having a little pumpkin buffet at your Thanksgiving gathering, maybe this recipe will win you over : )
This is a smooth fudge, rich without being heavy, thanks to the warm spices and pumpkin.
These were a huge hit, along with the Pumpkin Sea Salt Caramels.  Yum!
PUMPKIN FUDGE
Step 1:
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
2 T light corn syrup
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Step 2:
12 oz white chocolate chips
7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1 tsp vanilla extract
Put step one ingredients in a large pot over medium high heat and bring to a boil, stirring.
Using a candy thermometer, cook to 234 degrees, which should take about 12 minutes.
Remove from heat and add ingredients from step 2.
Stir until well blended.  Pour into 9 by 12 pan (either line with foil or wax paper and grease).
Let stand 2 hours or until cool, then cut into squares.
Variation ideas: add chopped walnuts, or dried cranberries, or both.
Recipe adapted from myrecipes.com

Pumpkin Sea Salt Caramels

I know what you’re thinking… MORE pumpkin recipes?   Or, YES! More pumpkin recipes! : )
If it’s the latter, I knew there was a good reason we’re friends.
I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving.  I’m so anxious for a relaxing holiday, and I thought a little pumpkin themed sweets buffet would be so fun for the holiday.  So I’ll be adding a few more pumpkin recipes this week for those who like that idea.  And if you don’t… well, stop by next week instead. : )
These are incredibly smooth, and the spice is a perfect touch for fall.  The pumpkin flavor is subtle, just enough to taste it without taking over that wonderful caramel flavor.
PUMPKIN SEA SALT CARAMELS
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cupos sugar (cane sugar, please)
1/2 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cups water
4 T butter, cut in chunks
1 tsp vanilla
sea salt (I used a pink salt)
Line a 9 by 13 inch pan with parchment paper, lining the bottom and sides, and butter well (I actually have a 9 by 13 inch silicone mat I fit in the bottom of a pan, it works so much better).
Combine cream, pumpkin, and spices in a saucepan.  Warm just to boiling, then remove from heat and set aside.
In a high-sided saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water.
Over medium heat bring up to 240 degrees.
Then add the warm cream mixture (this will bubble up, be careful).
Bring to 220-240 degrees using a candy thermometer, stirring pan occasionally.  (I bring mine to about 235, it just depends how firm or soft you like your caramel).
This may take up to 30-45 minutes before it reaches this temperature.
When desired temperature is reached, quickly remove from heat and add the butter and vanilla.
Stir until well incorporated, then pour into prepared pan.
Cool for 30-45 minutes and sprinkle with sea salt.  Cut into pieces and wrap in wax paper.
Recipe Source: slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I love snickerdoodles.  They remind me of being 6, helping my mom in the kitchen, and licking the beaters.  I mean, what kid doesn’t like helping roll balls of cookie dough in sugar?  I haven’t met a one.  And now it’s even more fun to make them with my girls. 
These are a yummy variation, and the pumpkin flavor isn’t so strong that kids that don’t even like pumpkin would be detered.  The spiced sugar coating goes perfect with the pumpkin. 
You aren’t sick of pumpkin recipes… are you? : )
PUMPKIN SNICKERDOODLES
3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
For the sugar coating:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
dash nutmeg
dash allspice
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl.
In another bowl, or in the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter and sugars on medium-high speed for a couple minutes, until light and fluffy.
Add in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until combined well.
Add dry ingredients while mixing on low.
Cover and chill dough for at least an hour.
Mix together sugar coating mixture in a small bowl.
Drop scoops of dough (about the size of a heaping tablespoon) into sugar coating and roll to coat, forming balls.  Place on baking sheets lined with parchment paper or silicone mats.
Dip the bottom of a glass in some water, then the spice mixture, and slightly flatten cookies.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 mintues, until just set.
Cool on baking sheets for about 5 minutes before moving to a wire rack to finish cooling.
Recipe source: slightly adapted from annie’s eats

PUMPKIN GNOCCHI WITH MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to make it.  I love making gnocchi, and pumpkin gnocchi was too intriging to pass on.   I’ve included some step by step pictures so hopefully no one feels intimidated if they haven’t made it before.  Gnocchi really is incredibly quick and easy to make, easy enough so that kids can even help as well. 
The pumpkin flavor in these aren’t overwhelming, but just right to me.  We loved the combination with the mushrooms in the sauce and fresh chives.  Allthough, next time I think I’ll leave off the chives and instead add some thyme to the mushrooms when they’re cooking. 
 Happy Fall! : )
PUMPKIN GNOCCHI WITH MUSHROOM CREAM SAUCE
FOR THE GNOCCHI:
2 1/2 cups flour (plus more if needed)
1 T salt
1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
FOR THE SAUCE:
2 T unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
salt and pepper to taste
2 T fresh chives, chopped
Make the gnocchi: In a large shallow bowl mix the flour, salt, and nutmeg.
Make a well in the center and add the pumpkin and parmesan to well. 
 Using a fork to stir, start incorporating the flour to the pumpkin and cheese.
 Mix until dough gathers, then knead until smooth, about 3-5 minutes.  Add extra flour if needed.
Dough should be very soft and moist, but not too sticky, or too dry.
 Divide dough into 6 pieces. On a lightly foured counter, roll each piece into a rope about 3/4 inch thick. 
 Cut into half inch pieces and set out on lightly floured tray and cover with a tea towel.
(TO FREEZE: At this point you can lay single layer on a baking sheet or tray in the freezer and after frozen, about an hour or two, put all together in a zip lock in the freezer. Boil straight from freezer.)
Bring a medium to large pot of salted water to a boil and add a couple hand fulls of gnocchi at a time. Boil for about 4 minutes.  Drain.
Make the sauce: (I like to make this while I’m waiting for the water to boil for the gnocchi, so it has time to thicken).  Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.
Add the mushrooms and shallots, saute for a few minutes.
Add chicken stock, cream, and parmesan.  Let cook until thickened.  Toss with gnocchi and top with chives. 
Recipe Source: Gnocchi adapted from Martha Stewart, sauce by My Stained Apron

Pumpkin Spice Syrup

When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it.  While it is meant for coffee, we don’t drink coffee.
But I wasn’t about to let that stop me!  We love it in apple cider, hot or cold, and hot chocolate especially.  What are you going to try it in?
PUMPKIN SPICE SYRUP
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
In a medium saucepan combine the water and sugar.  Heat over medium high heat until sugar is dissolved.
Add remaining ingredients and whisk to combine.
Cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, stirring often.  (Just don’t let it boil).
Let cool then strain through cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer.  Store in the refrigerator.
Add 1-2 tablespoons to hot cocoa, apple cider, hot cider, milkshakes, anything!
Recipe source: Annie’s Eats

Pumpkin Pie Milkshake

Yet another pumpkin recipe! I haven’t even gotten through half my stack of recipes and scribbled ideas for pumpkin uses, but I’m having lots of fun getting through it. : )
Pumpkin is one of my hubby’s favorite foods so he makes a great test subject.  We really loved the fall flavors of this shake, and while we don’t usually have many milkshakes in the fall and winter in particular, these were a very fun fall treat.  In fact, I think we’ll be making these again soon and trying them with a little extra pumpkin puree and maybe a drizzle of caramel sauce.
PUMPKIN PIE MILKSHAKE
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch ground nutmeg
2 T brown sugar
2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 graham cracker, crushed

Combine everything but graham cracker in a blender until smooth.

(Add more milk to desired consistency and thickness)
Pour in glasses and top with crushed graham cracker.

Recipe source: very slightly adapted from our best bites

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies

What is it about homemade whoopie pies?   I love all the variations and flavors they can take on, and these were a perfect pumpkin fix.  They have a great spicy flavor, balanced with the milk cream cheese filling.  In Martha’s original recipe it states it makes a dozen whoopie pies (or 2 dozen cakes before assembling), I thought little miniature ones would be fun, and it turned out to make quite a bit!
But they whip up so easy, I think I’ll be making these for potlucks and parties, so the larger amount will come in handy.  Stay tuned for lots more pumpkin recipes every day this week!
PUMPKIN WHOOPIE PIES
Makes 4 1/2 dozen miniature whoopie pies (about 9 dozen cakes)
Whoopie cakes:
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 T ground cinnamon
1 T ground ginger
1 T ground cloves
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
Cream Cheese Filling:
4 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 oz cream cheese
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 T milk
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a large bowl.
In another large bowl, whisk together brown sugar and oil until well combined.
Whisk in pumpkin until combined.
Add eggs and vanilla, mixing well.
Add flour mixture and stir in well.
Drop by heaping tablespoonfulls onto baking sheets lined with parchment or silicone mats.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes.  Let cool before removing from pan.
(OR make large whoopies using a large scoop or ice cream scoop to measure them. Bake for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in their centers comes out clean.)
Make filling:
Cream butter and sugar together until smooth.  Add in powdered sugar until combined.
Add vanilla and start with 1 T milk.  Mix for about 3-5 minutes until creamy.  Add more milk if needed to make spreadable.
Assembling:
Spread half the whoopie cakes with filling, top with other halves.
Recipe slightly adapted from Martha Stewart

Homemade Pumpkin Puree

I’ve been going a little nuts experimenting with pumpkin recipes around here lately.
It started innocently enough, with our all time favorite pumpkin bars, and then it got a little crazy from there. : )  So I hereby declare next week….
PUMPKIN PALOOZA!
I know, i know, you can’t stand the excitement can you? : )  I thought so.
I’ll be sharing all sorts of pumpkin recipes with you all week long next week, so make sure to check back!  But for today, I wanted to share the base with you.  Now, you could just go out and buy cans of pumpkin puree, but I much prefer homemade if I have the option.  I stocked up my freezer with it and I know it will save me quite a bit of money going that route.  I bought my pumpkins for 19 cents a pound, and about 2 lbs will make one container.  I don’t recall the last time I saw a can of pumpkin for 38 cents, do you?
My mom canned alot when I was a kid, pumpkin included.  I’ll never forget one year the pumpkins from our garden covered our entire porch.  I was about 10 and my mom announced in a cheery voice after breakfast “It’s time to can the pumpkin today!”  “Who’s going to help?”
It was like someone had just announced there was a gas leak.  All of a sudden my 4 older siblings were flying out the door, citing something or other they HAD to go do.
I was left staring at my mom.  (Okay, I may have been too busy reading my book at the breakfast table to respond quickly). 
And so it was me. And my mom.  And the pumpkins.  Soooo many pumpkins.
Do you know how sticky pumpkin is?   It wasn’t pretty people, trust me.
But I survived, and here I am making pumpkin puree myself. Voluntarilly even. : )
More recent canning guidelines have shown that pumpin puree cannot be safely canned at home, so I suggest freezing it in 15 oz amounts (about 1 3/4 cups) so you can easily swap them out for the canned option without having to measure out.
Make sure you start with sugar pumpkins, not carving pumpkins.  They are less stringy and sweeter.
PUMPKIN PUREE
Sugar pumpkins
1 T vegetable oil per pumpkin
Quarter pumpkins and scoop out the seeds and pulp. (See below how to treat the seeds).
Rub the insides with a little oil.  Place on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees until soft, about 1 hour. (This will depend on your size, but you want them thouroughly cooked to get a nice smooth puree.  Let cool slightly. 
 Remove outer peel and puree in a food processor or blender, working in batches. (You could also use a food mill, but I don’t have one of those so I don’t).
You can add water if it’s too dry, but I have never needed to do that.  I would suggest you might need to work in smaller batches if you aren’t getting a smooth puree.
I package mine in 1 3/4 cup amounts in pint freezer containers.  These are equal to a 15 ounce can.
About 2 lbs of pumpkin raw will make one of these finished containers.
 PUMPKIN SEEDS
Remove the majority of pulp (If you have kids, put them to work)  : )
Throw seeds in a large bowl with water.  Swish gently then let sit for 15 minutes.
The remaining pulp should sink and the seeds float.
Gently scoop the seeds off the top without disturbing the pulp and give a final rinse in a colander.
Lay out on tea towels and pat dry before using.
I roast mine: Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, spread in a single layer on a large baking sheet and sprinkle with kosher or sea salt. Bake at 375 degrees for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy.
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