Pumpkin Puree

So I had this great idea to make pumpkin scones.  R and I walked to the store to get a can of pumpkin puree, and the store was out.  Seriously HT, why do you have shelves of butternut squash puree but no pumpkin puree.  Ok, maybe not shelves, but it did seem like a lot of squash.

Instead we got a baking pumpkin.  I still am making scones and need pureed pumpkin, R and I are now making our own.  So now I will help explain how to make pumpkin puree from an actual pumpkin.



Maple Peanut Butter Granola Bars

It’s a beautiful spring day.  The kind that makes me want to go to the beach, but I know it’s still a little to cold for that.  Instead I’ve been domestic and have been continuing spring cleaning.  A few days ago I had picked up a box of Kashi cereal that was on sale with the intention of making snack bars, and today seemed like the perfect day to try it.

The recipe is a conglomeration of several I’ve found, a lot of the ingredients can be substituted for whatever you want in the bars.  The nut and seed mixture especially can be almost any combination of seeds and chopped nuts.

A small bar goes a long way.  The maple syrup adds natural sweetness and the peanut butter gives it some oomph.  Chewy, peanut buttery, and delicious.  This is finger-licking good, which is a good thing because it is a little sticky for a bar.  They keep their shape, but be gentle with them.  As soon as you pop one into your mouth it begins to melt.  All the flavors remind me of fall in Michigan with maple trees and camp fires.  Wrapped up in parchment paper these little bars are going to be great pick me ups at work and while I continue spring cleaning.

Maple Peanut Butter Granola Bars (no bake)

1 cup Maple Syrup
1 cup Peanut Butter (smooth)
1 cup Craisins
3 cups Puffed Cereal (I used Kashi 7 whole grain puffs)
2 cups mixture of Raisins, Sunflower Seeds, Cashews, Almonds, and Pumpkin Seeds (your choice on quantities of each)

Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with parchment paper, allowing a few inches to use as “handles” to lift the bars out of the tray.

In a large sauce pan heat the syrup and peanut butter together until smooth.  Heat until bubbles form.  Remove from heat and quickly stir in craisins, cereal, and nut/seed mixture. (I found it easiest to mix the craisins, cereal and nut/seed mixture in a separate bowl while the syrup and peanut butter heated up and then dump the whole thing in at once)

Press the mixture into the prepare pan with a spoon or spatula.  Allow to cool completely.  Cut into bars.  Enjoy!

Pumpkin Chai Muffins

For our most recent designer run (the rehearsal run that the designers and show staff attend to see the show before we move into tech) I made two types of muffins.  One of the cast members is a vegan and our director is following a gluten-free diet so I decided to try out a Bittersweet recipe.  I did not know where to get persimmons, so I substituted pumpkin instead and altered a few other things.  They came out looking amazing, something you would find at a corner coffee shop along side espressos and lattes.  The crumbly muffins were excellent paired with tea or coffee, the spice gave them a little kick and were savory more than sweets.  Here’s the recipe:

Pumpkin Chai Muffins

1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
3 Tablespoons Canola Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Soy Flour (or All Purpose for non-gluten-free)
1/2 Cup Chopped Hazelnuts
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Instant Coffee Powder
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
3/4 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
Pinch Salt

6 Teaspoons Granulated Sugar, for Topping

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, oil, vinegar, brown sugar, and vanilla until smooth.  In a separate bowl mix the flour, hazelnuts, baking soda, coffee, spices, and salt.  Combine the wet ingredients into the dry, stir.  Don’t thoroughly stir, just until a few lumps remain.

Distribute the batter in greased muffin tins and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.  Then enjoy!