Like cranberries, pumpkin rates really high on my list of favorite Fall/Winter treats. When given the choice of pumpkin pie, mince pie or cherry pie at Grandma's table, pumpkin won hands down! Whipped cream? Yes, please!!
After I got married, and decided being domestic meant making more stuff from scratch (whaa??), I started making my own pumpkin pie filling. No canned shortcuts for me! I baked many a whole pumpkin in the oven, reserving the seeds to make my own salted pumpkin seed snacks. Those never worked out well. And, truly, the early pumpkin pies I brought to my sister's Thanksgiving Day table were...well...earthy!
Time marches on, and I've discovered a few tips since the earthy days. I cut the pumpkin first and boil it rather than baking a whole pumpkin. Seeds and strings are removed before baking and it's a much easier (and probably more energy-efficient) method. My husband bought me a ricer several Christmases ago. It really makes a difference when you rice your cooked pumpkin. Puree with the quality of a fine mashed potato!
Unfortunately, my house is not big on pumpkin pie. But, with pumpkin's delicious nutrients, I can't let the opportunity to give the girls something tasty and healthy pass by. For them, pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins, and they eat them any time of the year (and I even buy canned pumpkin in the summer!).
For the grown-ups (and RJ2, who loves cake in general), Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip cake! My thanks to Chatty Kelly for sharing her recipe, which she, and now I, credit to the folks at Taste of Home publications.
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
- 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 squares (1 oz each) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- 3/4 cup finely chopped pecans, divided (optional)
- In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon; add to the creamed mixture alternately with pumpkin. Fold in chocolate chips.
- Divide batter in half. Stir melted chocolate into one portion. In a well-greased 10-in. fluted tube pan, sprinkle 1/2 cup pecans. Spoon chocolate batter over pecans; top with pumpkin batter. Sprinkle with remaining pecans.
- Bake at 325° for 65-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. Yield: 12 servings.