All Things Pumpkin

October is finally here, and what better way to celebrate than carving pumpkins and making delicious things. One new tradition that we have recently taken up is making pumpkin brownies. Pumpkin brownies are moist, wonderful morsels of gold sent directly from the heavens. They remind me of Lay’s potato chips because you can’t just eat one. Everyone who was given the privilege to eat from the most recent batch did not have one bad thing to say. My best friend, Mckenzie, gave the best description. She said “These taste like pumpkin candles!” They do, in fact, taste like an edible pumpkin candle.  Alyssa, my sister, found this recipe on Delishhh’s blog, and we have been using it since.

Pumpkin Brownies
Yields: 12 brownies | Prep Time: 30 minutes| Cook Time: 40-45 minutes

¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¾ cup butter (melted)
1 ½ cups white sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
¼ cup cocoa powder
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup pumpkin puree’
½ cup walnuts (chopped)
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
½ tsp. nutmeg

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9×11 inch baking dish.

In a bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl mix together melted butter, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in the eggs (one at a time). Add in the flour mixture, a little at a time and stir until the batter is evenly moistened. Divide the batter in half evenly into 2 separate bowls.

In one of the bowls blend in the cocoa powder and chocolate chips. In the second bowl of batter stir in pumpkin puree’, walnuts, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

Spread ½ of the chocolate batter mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Pour ½ of the pumpkin batter mixture over that. Repeat the layers, ending with a pumpkin layer. Drag a kitchen knife or spatula through the layers in a swirling motion creating a marble appearance.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

ImageImage

The only thing that we did to tweak the recipe was skip the nuts, add a little more cinnamon, and make our own pumpkin puree’ (the instructions follow). Tweaking these little things didn’t change the great taste of the brownies.

As an added bonus to our celebration, Alyssa decided to make homemade pumpkin puree’ from a roasted pumpkin. This really isn’t as hard as it sounds. With the help from Elana’s Pantry, this process was made even easier.Image

How to Roast a Pumpkin

Start out with a pie pumpkin. These are the best for roasting, but any kind of pumpkin can be roasted.  Pie pumpkins are the smaller ones, and they are usually also the cheapest.

p4

Using a sharp knife, cut the pumpkin down the middle, splitting it into two equal halves on a cutting board.

pumpkin halves

After splitting the pumpkin, scoop the orange strands and seeds out of the halves. Don’t throw the seeds away! They can be used for roasting.

pumpkins in water

Once the pumpkin has been cleaned, put the two halves in a baking dish with ¼ inch of water in the bottom. (¼ is about the length of the very tip of your finger)

pumpkin in oven

The halves will bake on 350° until tender. This is about 50-60 minutes.

After the roasting is done, all you have to do is scoop the mushy contents out of the pumpkin skin into a bowl, and make sure that it is thoroughly mashed together for your puree’.

sraping pumpkin

While the brownies were in the oven, Alyssa and I did another project to celebrate October’s arrival. We carved pumpkins! Carving pumpkins in this house means we will also be having pumpkin seeds. I have found that roasting the seeds is uncommon, but not impossible. The seeds are very similar to sunflower seeds, but you can eat the whole seed if you want too. We used these instructions from Oh She Glows.

Roasting Pumpkin Seeds

1) Clean the seeds. Yes, this task is annoying and particular, but necessary. After you’ve picked most of the lovely orange strands of goo out of the seeds, rinse the seeds GOOD with water. Your mission in this step is to get the seeds as clean as possible.

washing

2) Boil for 10 minutes in salt water. Add the pumpkin seeds to a medium-sized pot of water along with 1 tsp. salt. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes over low-medium heat. This method supposedly makes the seeds crisper, and easier to digest.

boiling seeds

3) Drain the seeds in a colander and dry lightly with a paper towel or tea towel. The seeds will stick to the towel, but I just gently shook them off. The seeds don’t have to be completely dry.

washed seeds

4) Spread seeds onto a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil (I only needed to use about 1/2-1 tsp.). Massage oil into seeds and add a generous sprinkle of fine grain sea salt. Try to spread out the seeds as thin as possible with minor overlapping.

dry seeds

5) Roast seeds at 325F for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and stir.
Roast for another 8-10 minutes. During the last 5 minutes of roasting,
remove a few seeds and crack open to make sure the inner seeds are not burning
(you
don’t want the inner seed brown). They are ready when the shell is super crispy
and easy to bite through. The inner seed should have only a hint of golden tinge to it. They should not be brown.

cooked seeds

6) They are done! All of the hard work is done. Now just let the seeds cool for a few minutes and enjoy!

Alyssa and I lined our pan with parchment paper to make cleanup easier, and we also sprinkled some seasoning salt on with the sea salt. The seasoning salt just adds a little pizzazz to the seeds. The seeds will become stale after being left out for too long, so be sure to store them properly. We put ours in a little sandwich bag.

special seeds

To finish out our very eventful evening, Alyssa and I enjoyed a brownie, a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks, and lit our lovely pumpkins!

latte

carving pumpkin

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