While most of the country is enjoying the last days of summer, fall has blown into Southeast Alaska with buckets of rain and wind. After a damp afternoon, what you need is something comforting with a bit of spice.

Ingredients

3 sticks of unsalted butter
1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
2 cups sugar
4 large brown eggs
3/4 tbs vanilla
1 29oz can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 block of cream cheese
2 tbs butter
1/4 cup milk or half and half
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tbs orange zest
maple syrup to taste

How I Made It

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare 10 mini-loaf pans by rubbing them with coconut oil, or line 12 jumbo muffin tins with double liners.

Cream the butter and sugars together in a standing mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing them each in before adding the next. Mix in the pumpkin in large spoonsful (don’t just dump it in).  It will look mottled but that’s okay.  Add the vanilla.

Turn the mixer down to a low speed and add the dry mixture in small batches.  Combine the ingredients until you have a thick smooth batter.

Spoon the batter into the loaf pans/muffin tins. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until a cake tester comes away clean.  Let the loaves/muffins cool completely.

Combine the cream cheese, milk, and orange zest in a standing mixer fitted with a whisk. Add the confectioner’s sugar in small batches so it doesn’t POOF and make a mess.  Add a little maple syrup for flavor. This is icing, not frosting so it will go on soft and a little drippy, but stays where you put it.

How They Turned Out

The perfect falltime treat, great for breakfast or dessert. They turned out moist with a good crumb. The maple orange icing is a lovely combination with the spicy pumpkin cake.

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These are the perfect autumn sweet, great alone or with coffee or a little vanilla ice cream.

Ingredients

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup whole rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup organic pumpkin pie filling or 1 cup pumpkin puree plus 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup light or medium brown sugar
1 egg
1 tbs vanilla
1 cup (or more) dark chocolate chunks

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the butter and sugars together in the standing mixer.  While that goes, combine the flour, oats, and baking soda.  If you’re using plain pumpkin puree, mix the pumpkin pie spice into the dry ingredients.

When the butter and sugars are all mixed together, add the egg and vanilla.  Once those are combined, add the dry ingredients and pumpkin, alternating between the two.  When that’s all combined, remove the bowl of cookie batter from the mixer.  Fold the chocolate chunks in with a spatula.  Do not try and do this with the mixer — it will bend your beater.

Drop spoons of the cookie batter onto the prepared cookie sheets (you can make small, medium, or large cookies).  Bake the cookies for 12-13 minutes. Remove the cookies to a wire rack or counter top to cool.

How They Turned Out

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These are soft, cakey and super yummy — especially for breakfast.

Everything is better with chocolate. Including pumpkin! This recipe uses organic pumpkin pie filling to get the rich pumpkiny taste and the perfect amount of spice.

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons of unbleached all-purpose flour Pumpkin Pie Mix
1 cup of Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 cups organic pumpkin pie filling
3/4 cup of organic lowfat vanilla yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
2 1/4 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup Stevia baking blend
1 1/2 cups of dark brown sugar
5 large eggs

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two loaf pans with baking spray.

In a standing mixer, beat the butter and Stevia until fluffy.  Add the brown sugar and beat to combine.  Add the eggs one at a time, thoroughly combining in between.

In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  In another bowl, combine the pumpkin, yogurt, and vanilla.

When the butter mixture is done, add the flour mixture and pumpkin mixture in batches, alternating between the two.  You will have a dark chocolate brown batter when you’re done.

Fill the loaf pans 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out with just a few crumbs.

Serve warm with ice cream or at room temperature like pumpkin bread.

How It Turned Out:

Delicious!  Rich without being overpowering, this is great as dessert or a coffee break treat.

Why is it that we only experience pumpkin frenzy in October? Because pumpkin is yummy!  And healthy — chocked full of vitamin A and fiber and beta-carotene.  It’s like turkey, which I also tend to save just for Thanksgiving.  Silliness!!

These pumpkin spice muffins are an easy morning treat, tasty if a bit rustic looking. Definitely worth making anytime of the year.

Ingredients

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 cup whole milk

1 large egg

4 tbs melted butter

3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon salt

chocolate chips for decoration

How I Made Them

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and prepare a muffin tin with festive liners.

Combine the oats, pumpkin, milk, egg, and butter in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet in batches, combining thoroughly in between.

Fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full. (This recipe makes ten full-size muffins, not twelve.) Bake for 14 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

While the muffins are hot, stud the tops with chocolate chips.  (This was a last minute decision because of how “rustic” — i.e. ugly — the muffins looked.)  Let sit until cool.

How They Turned Out

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

I omitted the sugar on purpose, trying to boost the healthy qualities.  It made for a more savory muffin — but I think next time I’ll add some brown sugar or mix chocolate chips into the batter.

Pumpkin is good for you.  Lots of vitamin A and fiber.  So, pumpkin muffins must be good for you, too, right?  Especially with the antioxidants in chocolate added to the mix.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup Splenda+sugar blend
1/2 tsp salt
1 can organic pumpkin
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

How I Made Them:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line the muffin tin(s) with festive liners.

Combine the dry ingredients, sifting together with a fork until well combined. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl, then add the pumpkin and canola oil and mix well. Combine the dry and wet mixtures until blended and smooth.  Add the chocolate chips.

Fill the muffin tins about 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

How They Turned Out:

Moist with a lovely texture, not too dense or too crumby, these are wonderful with a glass of cold milk. The taste is complex, with chocolate the primary impression at first and the pumpkin and spices coming through underneath.  I’m wondering if some cream cheese frosting wouldn’t be a nice addition, or if it would just be gilding a pumpkin.

The usual taste of Halloween is super-sweet and sticky, so this cake is a refreshing change.

Ingredients:

2 cups organic flour
1 cup Splenda-sugar blend
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 organic or vegetarian-fed cage free eggs
1 can organic pumpkin
1 cup canola oil
6 tbs organic unsalted butter
1 package Pamela’s dark chocolate frosting mix
4 tbs water

How I Made It:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 9 inch cake pans with Baker’s Secret or use nonstick pans.

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Beat the eggs, adding the pumpkin and canola oil and mixing thoroughly.  Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix on medium-slow speed until completely combined and smooth.

Pour the batter into the cake pans and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool cakes completely. Using a serated knife, cut just enough off the top of one of the cakes to make it flat.

Make the frosting according to the directions on the package.  Spread a layer of frosting on the top of the flat cake.  Add the next cake layer and frost completely.  There will be just enough frosting for the cake, so frost carefully (don’t sneak too many tastes).

How It Turned Out:

The ginger gives the cake just a little bite, balancing the dark sweet frosting.  It’s dense, moist and full of vitamins.  Add a little homemade whipped cream if you want.