Pumpkin season is in full swing, and I'm in a constant back-and-forth battle with myself over the PSL-frenzy that ensues this time of year. Seriously, is the fervor surrounding pumpkin-spiced everything extra bogus this fall, or do we simply forget the rest of the year that everyone and their mother is apparently a closet gourd-munching mongrel anxiously awaiting the return of October?
Don't get me wrong, I'm as much of a pumpkin dessert aficionado as the next basic white girl when it comes to standard pumpkin-infused baked goods like pie, cake, cupcakes, and quick bread, but--listen here--things have gone too far.
Starting this summer, and I'm talking like mid-July, our editors' mailboxes began to fill with pumpkin flavored products from food manufacturers across the country hoping to leave us swooning over their 'innovative' new fall products. Our staff has tried pumpkin-flavored hummus, moonshine, Greek yogurt, marshmallows, protein bars, crackers, bagels, tortilla chips, English muffins, and popcorn to name a few.
And while we did find a couple of them we surprisingly enjoyed, the majority left me wishing I'd saved the calories on a real slice of homemade pumpkin bread. Simply put: I'd choose the real deal any day--which is why I head straight to the grocery store and buy an excessive amount of canned pumpkin puree at the first sign of cooler temps. To me, homemade pies, cakes, cupcakes, quick breads and more that use canned pumpkin as a key ingredient infinitely outshine their store-bought 'competition' using faux flavoring.
Here are the most excellent recipes on our site using actual pumpkin purée so you can satisfy your sweater weather-loving soul any day of the week:
Seriously, the glaze on this mouthwatering cake alone is enough to make you want to lick your screen. (Please don't.) Draining the canned pumpkin before making the cake batter is a necessary step to creating the cake's perfectly fluffy, moist texture.
This top-rated pumpkin bread (I'm talking seventy-five 5-star-ratings) offers exceptional flavor while cutting down on the fat and calories that you'd have with most traditional pumpkin bread recipes. A sprinkling of chopped pecans on top adds a great toasty crunch, but feel free to leave them off if you'd rather.
You can't beat classic pumpkin pie. Or can you? The cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger streusel topping used in this 5-star pie sure gives the classic version a run for its money.
Enjoy these gluten-free pancakes for breakfast, or even dinner, topped with butter and plenty of maple syrup. Whole-grain corn flour gives the pancakes a cakier texture and adds some fiber, too.
One serving of this moist cake actually provides more than half of your recommended daily vitamin A intake thanks to the canned pumpkin. That's more than enough of a reason for me to eat pumpkin cake for breakfast.
These adorable pumpkin pops are the perfect sweet addition to any fall festivity. Not to mention, they're a great interactive food craft to tackle with the kids. Once you've given your pops their orange candy coating, use decorative icings and sprinkles to add extra autumnal flair--such as jack-o'-lantern faces and pumpkin vines.
Say hello to the star of this week's Sunday brunch. These buns are just sweet enough and super tender, plus the pumpkin gives them just a bit of a lovely orange tint.
Take canned pumpkin out of the pie shell realm and stir into tender drop biscuits. These are the perfect accompaniment to a steaming pot of soup. And they're extra out-of-this-world with a smear of honey butter.
OK, forget the pie--guests are gonna swoon over this decadent Pumpkin-Chocolate-Swirl Cheesecake.
Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Streusel Muffins were made for the perfect first bite—crumbly streusel topping paired with a rich cream cheese core. No glaze necessary here.