Saturday, November 02, 2013

It's Still Pumpkin Season

All Hallow's Eve, better known in the USA as Halloween, has always been one of my favorite holidays. Perhaps it's because it is one of the biggies of fall and because we get to dress up if we want to and be, there is candy!

This past weekend my talented daughter came over and we invited a neighbor and her niece, too and had a pumpkin carving party. I'd never tried using those carving designs, but K showed us how to use them and punch dots to show where to carve,

and even the trick of cutting out the bottom of the pumpkin instead of a top hat, both to remove the seeds and stringy bits, but also so you can just pop the carved pumpkin over a candle or tea light. It was more challenging than I thought it would be, but the results were amazing! The pumpkin above has a leaf design that goes around the stem carved into the pumpkin, but not all the way through. I used some wood carving tools for that...very cool.
Here are some more:

Katia's Elmo...isn't he fun?

AM's howling wolf, carved on a green winter squash, which added depth and was harder to do.

K's scary jack o'lantern. Don't you love those curlicues at the top of the eyes?

And a wolf for J.

Plus a witch on a tall pumpkin.

This one K carved at home on Halloween, but it is a beauty, so I had to include it.

In keeping with the pumpkin theme, I made pumpkin muffins. They had a cream cheese/ricotta cheese filling and were delicious! We also had chili, mini carrots and crackers. Good times.

On Halloween I went to K's house and we decorated the front walk with the pumpkins,

 had more chili, and watched Wallace and Gromit and the Curse of the Wher-Rabbit. Followed by a Warriors game. I was pretty tired on Friday, so it's taken until today to post all this. Hope YOU had a great Halloween. She was costumed as an awesome cat woman.

Spicy Pumpkin Muffins with Creamy Filling
started with basic muffins in Joy of Cooking, then went wild

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs ( or ½ cup egg substitute)
1 cup canned pumpkin – not pumpkin pie filling
¼ cup vegetable oil
¼ cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
¼ cup sour cream or plain yogurt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 oz. softened cream cheese
4 oz. ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
Sparkling sugar (sanding sugar) for garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease and flour (or use baking spray) one 12- cup muffin tin. Set aside.

In a large bowl or on a large sheet of waxed paper, measure out all of the dry ingredients and spices: flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg. Mix together with a fork. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, pumpkin, oil, applesauce, brown sugar, molasses, yogurt and vanilla.

Put the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture bowl. With as few strokes as possible, combine the wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix

In a small bowl, stir the cream cheese, ricotta cheese and sugar together until thoroughly mixed.
Fill the muffin cups about one third full with the batter, then, dollop on about a teaspoon to a teaspoon and a half of the filling, then top the filling with more batter, dividing evenly among the cups. Sprinkle the tops with sparkling sugar.

Bake in the preheated oven 20 – 25 minutes, or until muffins spring back when the center is gently pressed. Filling may peek through. That's O.K.

Makes 12.


  1. Marian4:41 PM

    Love your pumpkins! I'm so glad you got to have the pumpkin carving party. We used to do those fancy ones, too, and Colin won a pizza party for his whole dorm in college with a prize-winning pumpkin design. I especially like the witch design on your tall pumpkin. Thanks for the pictures.

  2. Wow you have some tallented friends. Those pumpkins are spook-tacular!
    The muffins look delicious too. I love it when things have hidden bits inside.

  3. Marian, I did the witch one and it was crazy complicated...probably not the best one to start with, but it did turn our well.

    Katie, I like surprised in baked goods especially. A guilty pleasure is the jelly donut :)

  4. The pumpkin carvings are incredible! I think this is the first year we didn't carve a single pumpkin so it's fun to see what others did. Lovely muffin recipe. Great idea to use the applesauce & yogurt.