The Red Kitchen Recipes: The Return of the Pumpkin

With the holidays fast approaching and autumn well under way that can only mean one thing in the Red Kitchen, it's pumpkin time. The incredible, edible squash of choice is perfect for breakfast, snacking and (the most important meal of the day) dessert.

We know its been awhile since the last edition, but never fear, the ladies from the Red Kitchen are back and, in even better news, so is Pumpkin Season.

Entry Three: The Return of the Pumpkin

When mid-September rolls around, the coffee shops and bakeries begin their autumnal tease by spicing up their pastries and desserts with nutmeg and cinnamon. Honeycrisp and Empire apples are ripe for picking and bottled apple cider sits ready to percolate on the stovetop. 

But nothing is more enchanting than the return of canned pumpkin to the grocery’s forefront.

Canned pumpkin. Whole pumpkin. Roasted seeds. Lattes. Coffee. Pies, crumbles, streusals, pancakes—anything, everything, becomes pumpkin-flavored. Toss in some pumpkin pie spice—that excellent blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves—and the year’s most wonderful season comes rolling in.

Pumpkins are a squash, and are native to North America—a true blue American food if there ever was one. They’re also multifunctional: they are great for eating, baking, carving, and décor.

Let us reiterate: they are great for eating.

Because when we only have a few months to enjoy winter squash in its many forms, it’s imperative to enjoy the orange vegetable in all of its autumnal goodness. And following below are our favorite pumpkin treats.

Pumpin Cream Cheese Muffins (via Annie’s Eats)

Jillian’s notes: These muffins are on the heavy side, but are moist and filling. A delicious morning treat!

What you need (for the filling):
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ cups vegetable oil

For the topping:
½ cup sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

What you do:

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours.

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and oil. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

Pumpkin Roll Bars (via The Recipe Critic)

Jillian’s notes: These are easy to make and incredibly moist. Proceed with caution—you might eat the whole thing!
What you need:
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin
1/4 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
Cream Cheese Filling
8 oz.cream cheese, softned
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg

What you do:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and 1½ cups sugar until smooth. Beat in 2 eggs, pumpkin, 1 teaspoon of vanilla and water until well blended.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin/butter mixture and combine until well blended.

Spread about ⅔ of the batter evenly into the prepared pan.In a bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, 1 egg, ¼ cup sugar, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla until smooth.

Spread cream cheese mixture evenly over the pumpkin batter. Dollop the remaining pumpkin batter over the cream cheese batter and spread out as evenly as possible. Use a table knife to swirl together the cream cheese and top layer of pumpkin batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the center of the pumpkin batter springs back when touched. Cool completely in pan, then cut into bars.

Pumpkin Streusel Bread (via Lilluna)

Jillian’s notes: Be careful to avoid overmixing the streusel—when I made this, it was too runny, and the texture (though not the taste) suffered as a result.

What you need:
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
4 eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)
What you do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, Mix flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves; set aside.
In a large bowl, or in your mixer, combine oil and apple sauce. Stir in sugars until combined, add eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg. Stir in pumpkin until combined. Add water. Sprinkle half of your flour mixture over the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Add the remaining flour mixture, and mix until just combined. Pour batter evenly between the prepared pans and set aside.

Streusel: In a bowl, Whisk the sugar, flour, and cinnamon until combined. Stir in the nuts. Drizzle melted butter over the mix and stir with a spoon until your mixture is like lumpy wet sand, be sure to leave clumps.

Sprinkling streusel over the top of each bread batter and cover completely.

Bake mini loaves for 20 minutes, three at a time on a rimmed baking sheet. Rotate the pans, front to back, and bake for another 20 to 22 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. If making large loaves, bake on a rimmed baking sheet for 25 minutes. Rotate the pans, front to back, and bake for another 25 to 27 minutes. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before you serve.

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Jillian’s notes: get creative with the flavor! For sweet seeds, use brown sugar and butter. For Italian seasoning, use oregano and Parmesan. Indian? Add some curry spice.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Take dried, de-pumpkined seeds and spread them out in a single layer (this is important) atop aluminum foil on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and bake until golden-brown (or darker, depending on your taste) and crisp, about 25-35 minutes.


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