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Pumpkin recipes will drive your guests out of their gourds

Everywhere you go, there are huge displays of locally grown pumpkins for sale.

It looks like it’s been a good year for all the farmers judging by the size and appearance of all the orange and white globes

This week we’ll take a look at a few seasonal ideas that we can make with pumpkin.

Let’s leave the carving and cooking of the pumpkin to the junior chefs and, for ease and time considerations, we’ll use canned pumpkin.

Here’s one for the breakfast table, bread basket or to sneak into someone’s lunch box.

They can be served warm or at room temperature.

Cinnamon Sugared Pumpkin-Pecan Muffins

(makes 12 muffins)

1/2cup granulated sugar, divided

2 to 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided

1 cup 100-percent bran cereal

1 cup fat-free (skim) milk

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2teaspoon baking soda

1/2teaspoon salt

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 package (2 ounces) pecan chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Coat a nonstick 12 cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. Combine 2 tablespoons of sugar and a teaspoon of cinnamon in a small bowl for topping, then set aside.

Blend cereal and milk in a large bowl and set aside five minutes to soften. Meanwhile, combine flour, remaining sugar and cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and mix well.

Whisk the pumpkin, egg and vanilla into softened cereal.

Gently fold in the flour mixture just until blended. Do not over mix. Spoon equal amounts of batter into each muffin cup and sprinkle evenly with pecan chips. Top with the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

When removed from the oven, cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing the muffins from pan.

These can be made now and frozen for up to three months.

• • •

Seeds from plants related to our common pumpkins date back to around 7,000 B.C. North American natives had been eating pumpkins for several centuries before the Pilgrims arrived. Around the time of the first Thanksgiving, it was traditional to serve pumpkin with its crown and seeds removed, the cavity filled with milk, honey and spices, then baked until tender.

Pumpkin festivals will be all around us now. Everyone will be featuring some type of cookie to satisfy all the little goblins everywhere. Here’s an easy one that will make all the troops happy. It is real easy to make, too.

Harvest Celebration Pumpkin Cookies

(makes about three dozen cookies)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon groundcinnamon

1/2teaspoon baking soda

1/2teaspoon salt

1/2teaspoon ground allspice one cup butter softened

1 cup sugar

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup chopped pecans

1 cup dried cranberries

pecan halves for garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and allspice in a medium bowl.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the pumpkin, egg and vanilla.

Gradually add the flour mixture. Beat at a low speed until well blended. Stir in the chopped pecans and cranberries.

Drop heaping teaspoons of dough, 2 inches apart, onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon. Press one pecan halve into the center of each cookie.

Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Let cookies stand on the cookie sheet for one minute, then transfer with a spatula to wire racks to cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature or freeze up to three months.

• • •

Here’s an old fashioned custard that will be a great dessert on any fall menu.

This can be made in a casserole dish for family style service, or you can make individual servings by pouring the custard mixture into six or eight ramekins or custard cups.

Place them on a baking sheet and bake as directed.

Gingered Pumpkin Custard

(makes six to eight servings)

3/4cup sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2teaspoon salt

1/2teaspoon nutmeg

1 can (15 ounces) solid pack pumpkin

1 1/4cups half-and-half

3 tablespoons chopped candied ginger

sweetened whipped cream

Halloween sprinkles or candy corn

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a 1 12 quart oval casserole dish or an 8-inch glass baking dish.

Combine sugar, eggs, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg in a medium bowl and mix well.

Add the pumpkin and cream and mix until well blended. Pour into the prepared dish then sprinkle ginger evenly over top of pumpkin mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Garnish with whipped cream, sprinkles and/or candy corn.

As always, enjoy!

David Kelly is a freelance columnist for Trib Total Media. He has been sharing cooking tips and recipes in Culinary Corner for 22 years.


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