Pumpkin-based recipes to try this October

Published 11:53 am Friday, October 13, 2023

October is all about pumpkins. The stores are filled with displays of all sizes and types of pumpkins and gourds. Pumpkin spice coffees and lattes are showing up at coffee shops. Grocery stores are adding pumpkin pie to their bakery displays. Trees are starting to show their fall colors and temperatures are slowly creeping downwards.

Linda: Fall might be my favorite time of year. I love the October saying, “October, baptize me with leaves! Swaddle me in corduroy and nurse me with split pea soup.” (Rowell). It brings back memories of scuffing through leaves on sidewalks, fall clothes for school and recipes changing from summer salads to apples and pumpkins.

Lucy:  Pumpkin is one of those “superfoods,” being one of the best-known sources of beta carotene, which your body uses and converts it to vitamin A. Just one cup of pumpkin provides you with more than 200% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin A. So lets dig into some pumpkin recipes. I recently discovered a soft pumpkin cookie recipe. It’s almost like a small cake.

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Linda: I offered some of those to friends that say they don’t like pumpkin, but they loved these cookies. I have a pumpkin bread recipe with an unusual addition to the bread. It calls for chocolate chips. I know it sounds strange. The first time I saw this in a bakery I was intrigued and decided to try it. Now it’s my favorite. Also, my daughter sometimes adds Craisins to her pumpkin bread. I hesitate to mention my timesaving tip, but if I don’t have time to make from scratch, or I don’t want two loaves, I have bought a pumpkin bread mix and added ¾ cup chocolate chips to the mix ingredients.

Lucy: Pumpkin muffins are always welcome for breakfast and coffee on a brisk, fall morning. Fall is a busy time of year. School begins, Halloween is on the calendar and Thanksgiving will be next. So when I found a recipe for easy pumpkin muffins, it sounded perfect. You start with a pound cake mix which saves time measuring out ingredients. The finished muffin can be served with a sprinkling of cinnamon on top or, my favorite way, with cream cheese frosting.

Linda: I think these recipes offer ways to use pumpkins in favorite tasty treats. For anyone packing lunches for school or for the office, each of these would be a fun addition. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, they could also be an addition to that special day.


Soft Pumpkin Cookies


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened

1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1 large egg

2 tsps vanilla extract, divided

2 cups powdered sugar, sifted

3 Tbs milk

1 Tbs butter, softened



Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Combine sifted powdered sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon butter and remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in small bowl until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.


Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread 

Yield: 2 loaves (16 pieces each)


3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

4 large eggs, room temperature

2 cups sugar

2 cups canned pumpkin

1-1/2 cups canola oil

1-1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips



In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, pumpkin and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into 2 greased 8×4-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.


Easy Pumpkin Muffins


1 package (16 ounces) pound cake mix

1 cup canned pumpkin

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/3 cup water

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, optional



In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pumpkin, eggs, water, pumpkin pie spice and baking soda; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full (or a little more). Bake at 350° until a toothpick comes out clean, 18-22 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Frost muffins. Sprinkle with pecans if desired. Store in the refrigerator.



3 oz cream cheese, softened

2 Tbs butter

2 cups powdered sugar

1 Tbs or more vanilla. extract

Mix together until soft and spreadable. Spread over muffins.