Friday, October 3, 2008

A Little Pumpkin Baking!

'Tis the season for holiday treats of the orange and black variety, and since my return from Minnesota I thought all of you would enjoy some fall baking ideas.

I was inspired by the beauty of St. Paul, the crisp, clean air, and the apple orchard down the road as well as the abundance of pumpkins.

When I was a little girl, my mother made these muffins that became an autumn hit.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (a Mimi Pat classic!)

1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs (brown or white, doesn't matter! Keep it organic if you like)
1 cup plain pumpkin (half of a 1lb can, but if you want you can try using the natural stuff after a carving with your kids!)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup chocolate chips (but I like to use the whole bag :-D)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly mix the dry ingredients in one large bowl and the wet ingredients in another. Pour the wet into the dry and add the chocolate chips, folding the ingredients in with a spatula until all the dry ingredients are moist.

Bake 20-25 minutes (time various with each oven) until the tops are springy to the touch.

These have been a party favorite amongst my friends. My friend Lyz has been making these for her cousin's Thanksgiving dinner since I met her, almost 8 years ago! Every year she asks for the recipe, so just in case I put it online for her :-).

When my mom started Weight Watchers, she began using all low fats and Splenda, and made them mini sized with a mini-muffin pan and mini chocolate chips. When wrapped up nicely they make the best housewarming gift.

Next on my autumn agenda is pumpkin seeds! When I was in college last year, my roommate and her fiance carved pumpkins and I took the seeds, soaked them in water to get rid of the pulp and baked them up to perfection.

Kaitlin Adele's Pumpkin Seeds

As many pumpkin seeds as you can find
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or melted butter in a spray bottle)
garlic powder
a little cayenne pepper

Lay pumpkin seeds in one layer on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with EVOO (thanks Rachel Ray!) and however many spices you think you need. I usually put a little garlic powder on one half, and cayenne on the other. Bake at 350 degrees until golden brown and crunchy. If you use butter, be careful as the seeds have a tendency to burn. You can use pretty much anything in your pantry to garnish your seeds, but if you just like them simple, a bit of sea salt makes them delish!

These were a great snack during my five class days, especially since they were all film classes. They're a great alternative to popcorn or sugary snacks at the movie theater or in your own home!

I am taking suggestions for more Fall treats and will feature a really good one up here on my blog for all to see, so please email me suggestions at and I'll make a post all about my attempt at baking your dish (pictures too!)

Thanks so much and Happy Baking!

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