Creative in the Kitchen, Creative Inspirations

A nod to pumpkins

This post, that was intended for release on Halloween, missed its publication date due to the huffing and puffing of Sandy and our subsequent power outage.  As outdated as the  subject matter seems, I know my family would like to see the photos within; and the Woopie recipe at the end with all its pumpkin-spice goodness works for anytime this fall.  Thanksgiving?

Pumpkins are the excuse my family and I use for a gathering each October.  Call it our own original harvest gathering that we give thanks for one another just like the early colonists did [not with turkey, not with cranberries, not in November].  But since the founding cast of the gathering were crazy artists, our Pumpkin Carving Contest still gives a nod to the extreme ways we can celebrate the pumpkin.

In years past the pumpkins featured lots of appendeges.  My mother was the best at this.  One year she entered her Pumpskin Diver pumpkin and her Pumpkin Patch pumpkin doll.

Other years carving was most prominent (not like what people do today however).

And some years people cheated on the rules.  The rules are that each pumpkin must be lit from within.  So my mother-in-law entered her mother-in-law as the pumpkin lit from within by giving her a pop of whiskey before coming so she was lit!This year we had a fewer pumpkins carved but a more thankful gathering.  Jack and Bob are alive and we are all relatively well.Rebecca and her hamburger pumpkin.

Sam and his grand prize winning pumpkin.Still crazy.
Pot luck food was plentiful and we ended with my latest recipe, Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.I have tried many recipes through the years for chocolate cake but found this one from Martha Stewart to be a really good base for chocolate whoopies.  *NOTE:  For the 2 cups of buttermilk I substituted 1 cup lowfat milk with 1 T cider vinegar added plus 1 cup sour cream (I cleaned the frig. out).

Makes 2 dozen sandwiches

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
*2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Sift together flour, salt, cocoa powder, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. Line two baking pans with Silpats (French nonstick baking mats) or parchment paper. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Slowly add dry ingredients. Mix until combined.

2. Using a 1-ounce ice-cream scoop, place cookies onto lined baking pans, twelve per pan. Bake for 12 minutes. Remove to a rack to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

Here is my filling recipe.  In a mixer whip together the following ingredients:

  • 2 sticks room temperature sweet unsalted butter
  • 14 oz (2 jars) Marshmellow Creme (or fluff)
  • 1/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • orange food coloring till desired color (I like mine pale colored to look a little more edible)

3. Spread 2 tablespoons of frosting onto each of twenty-four of cookies. Sandwich together with remaining twenty-four cookies.  Eat at once.  Store any leftovers in the refrigerator because of the pumpkin in the filling.

Happy pumpkins.

7 thoughts on “A nod to pumpkins”

  1. Jane, I loved the pictures of past and present pumpkins – so colorful. It looks as if you had a great family gathering and before things get too busy. Thanks, Joy

  2. especially poignant to see Anne’s smiling face – that pumpkin story has always been my favorite!

  3. Thanks for the memories, Jane, and thanks for including the Balshaws in such a special event tradition…I miss them. Love from yr other Mom.

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