Halloween pumpkins are given new life

Don’t throw out those pumpkins — roast them and turn them into tasty meals and desserts

Cathi Litzenberger

Morning Star Columnist

It’s the season of pumpkins! We have so many choices to find the perfect ones for Halloween here in the Okanagan. There are farms with fields of pumpkins, fruit stands and farmers’ markets, but it always surprises me how many pumpkins are left over come Nov. 1.

To use fresh pumpkin, roasting is the way to go; cut the pumpkin in half or in quarters and clean out pulp and seeds. Brush a little oil on cut sides and place cut side down on parchment-papered cookie sheet. Roast in oven at 325 to 350 F until very tender. Scoop pulp out and measure for your favourite recipe or try one listed below.

Let’s use up some of those unchosen pumpkins!

Pumpkin Sheet Cake

1 (15 ounce) can of pumpkin purée

2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese

5 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 teaspoons milk

1 cup chopped walnuts

In a mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, 2 cups white sugar and oil. Add eggs, and mix well.

In another bowl, combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add these dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture, and beat until well-blended.

Pour batter into a greased 15 x 10 inch baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake tests done. Cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter or margarine, and vanilla until smooth. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar, and mix well. Add milk until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cake, and sprinkle with nuts.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1/4 cup water

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.

Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water.

In separate bowl mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Roasted Pumpkin Soup with Ginger

2 small sugar pumpkins or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks (about 8 cups)

4 shallots, quartered

4 cloves garlic, halved

1 piece (1/2 inch) fresh ginger root, sliced

2 tbsp canola oil

1 tsp. ground cumin

3/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 carton ready to use beef or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).

Toss together pumpkin, shallots, garlic, ginger, oil, cumin, salt and pepper; arrange in even layer on baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes or until very tender.

Transfer to blender with broth; purée until very smooth. Pour into large saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes or until heated through.

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 box carrot cake mix

3/4 cup (175 mL) canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

1/4 cup margarine or butter, melted

1 egg

1 container cream cheese frosting

30 candy pumpkins

Heat oven to 350 F (325 F for dark or nonstick pans). Grease cookie sheets.

In large bowl, mix cake mix, pumpkin, butter and egg; stir until well-blended.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheets.

Bake 11 to 14 minutes or until puffed and set in centre. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes. Frost cookies with cream cheese frosting. Press 1 candy pumpkin onto each cookie. Store covered.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

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