Pumpkin brownies are one of my favorite fall treats to bake because I am a huge pumpkin pie fan and like just about any dessert that gets those delicious pumpkin spice flavors into it. I first make Pumpkin Brownies with Pecans a couple of years ago, and I’ve been making them ever since. Unlike regular brownies, these don’t have any chocolate in them. What they do have a chewy, fudgy texture that is a lot like that of brownies or blondies, and a great pumpkin flavor. The brownies use canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree) to provide a moist, dense base for the bars, and are seasoned with cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Chopped pecans add some texture and crunch to the bars, and contrast well with the pumpkin. They’re faster and easier to make than pumpkin pie – not to mention that they’re more portable and easy to share – so they’re a great snack to whip up on a fall day.
The bars are easy to make, but since it’s an unusual recipe, I’ve put together a step-by-step video (that I hope will be one of the first of many to come) showing the process of how to make Pumpkin Brownies from start to finish. Don’t forget to check out the full recipe from the original post so that you can try baking a batch yourself, too!
As a pumpkin fan, things that call for pumpkin pie spices always catch my eye, though I am always surprised to see the wide variety of foods that get an infusion of fall flavor through pumpkin spice flavoring. These Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows were no exception. The jet puffed marshmallows are made by Kraft and appeared on the shelves in the baking aisle at stores in my area just a couple of weeks ago. Pumpkin pie spice is made with cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, and this combination of spices is so closely associated with pumpkin pie that it will give just about anything a dose pumpkin pie flavor. When I picked up the marshmallows to give them a try, I wasn’t sure how the flavor would come through, but the marshmallows actually tasted great. They had a distinct pumpkin pie spice flavor without being too strong, and they had a nice sweetness to them that actually made them turn out to be a pretty good snack. The marshmallows were smaller than your typical jet puffed marshmallows, and were shaped like little orange pumpkins, too.
I’ve made homemade marshmallows with a variety of different flavors and typically have very good results. These are probably the most successful commercially available flavored marshmallows I’ve tried – and because of that, I’m glad that I did! These are great in hot chocolate and other pumpkin spice coffee drinks, and I suspect that they might make a good marshmallow topping for that classic marshmallow topped sweet potato dish that is a Thanksgiving staple for many, too.
As much as I love a classic pumpkin pie, I am always on the lookout for ways to spice it up. Pumpkin pie can get boring after a while, particularly if you have a dozen of them in just a couple of weeks during the fall pie season between Halloween and Thanksgiving. Fortunately, pumpkin goes with all kinds of different flavors and just by tweaking the spices here and there – adding cardamom along with pumpkin pie spice, for instance – you can have a whole new pie experience. Here, I was inspired by the Salted Caramel Sauce from Trader Joe’s and incorporated it into a Salted Caramel Pumpkin Pie.
This pie uses salted caramel sauce as both a sweetener and a flavoring for the pie filling. The salted caramel adds a lot of flavor but, unlike simply adding more sugar, the fact that it has salt in it keeps the pie from seeming too sweet. The pumpkin flavor comes through very well and the pie tastes slightly more complex than your standard pumpkin pie. I used a homemade pie crust and added a touch of cinnamon to highlight some of the spices in the pie. Some salted caramel drizzled on top of some lightly sweetened whipped cream finished off this pie perfectly.
If you can find salted caramel sauce in a grocery store in your neighborhood, feel free to use it in this recipe. If not (which is more likely), you can use homemade caramel sauce or regular store-bought caramel sauce and add a generous pinch of salt to it to get that mouthwatering sweet-savory flavor.
I love a good pumpkin pie and, while I will always make the classic recipe in the fall, I like the flavors enough to want to experiment with them. Sometimes, this means putting a twist on the pie by adding other elements and turning it into something like a Chocolate Pumpkin Pie. Other times, this means taking those pie ingredients and putting them in a different form entirely, like I did with this Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream.
This homemade ice cream really captures the flavor of pumpkin pie. The ice cream includes pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spices and vanilla extract. The ice cream has a custard base, meaning that it is made with egg yolks and cream that are cooked together before freezing. This means that you’ll have to prepare the base in advance and chill it for several hours (preferably overnight) before making your ice cream, but it also means that the finished product has a richer, smoother consistency than most ice creams made with other methods. You’ll also get a good-sized batch of ice cream from this recipe (1.5 qts), so although there is some chilling time, you’ll have plenty to enjoy in the long run.
You’ll get the best results with this ice cream by using an ice cream maker. If you don’t have one, you can pour the ice cream into a loaf pan or bowl, freeze it and vigorously stir it (an electric mixer works well, as does transferring it to a food processor) every 30-45 minutes until it has frozen. But you will definitely get the best results with an ice cream maker and if you like to make ice cream at home, it is probably worth investing in one. Serve this ice cream in mini graham cracker crusts for more pumpkin pie flavor, or just top it off with some whipped cream and serve it in a nice dish.
Why wait around until dessert to have pumpkin pie, when you can have it for breakfast, too? Pumpkin pie is a custard-type pie with a filling made with pumpkin puree, eggs, milk, sugar and spices. French toast also has a custard base, made with milk and eggs. It is not a big leap to convert one into the other – and that is exactly what I did to make Pumpkin Pie French Toast.
I started with a mixture that I would typically use for french toast, added pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spices and vanilla to it lots of flavor, and dipped thick slices of challah bread into it. Unlike pumpkin pie filling, I didn’t sweeten the french toast dip because I always serve french toast with plenty of maple syrup, so there is no need for any additional sweeteners. I used a homemade pumpkin pie spice blend, which you can make yourself or buy from the market, but you can substitute your own combination of ground cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg instead, if you prefer.
If you like pumpkin pie, all you need to know is that you’ll like this french toast a lot. The consistency of the just-cooled french toast is a lot like that of pumpkin pie: creamy, tender and with a good pumpkin flavor. Maple syrup, or powdered sugar if you prefer, is a must, but this dish is definitely going on my weekend breakfast rotation this fall!