If you’re daunted by the idea of baking with fresh pumpkin, well, we can’t really blame you. Splitting, gutting and skinning a whole pumpkin with nothing more than a carving knife and a large spoon to scoop out the seeds is a time-consuming process — and completely unnecessary when you have pure pumpkin puree on hand. Luckily, one-half cup of unsweetened canned pumpkin contains roughly 50 calories per serving, which means it’s a great way to add moisture and creaminess to your favorite baked goods for very little additional fat or sugar. Better yet, it’s a quick and convenient method for imbuing each bite of cookie, muffin or pie with comforting fall flavor. Here are five easy ways to work rich pumpkin puree into your favorite baked goods, from classic pumpkin pie to cheesy pumpkin biscuits.
Instead of relying on fat for flavor, Ellie Krieger’s better-for-you muffins get their distinctively warm spiciness from molasses, dark brown sugar and a total of four ground spices: cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Low-fat buttermilk, canned pumpkin and just a touch of canola oil instill a moist tenderness in each of these wholesome pumpkin-seed-flecked muffins.
Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Cookies
Kids love chocolate chip cookies, so this pumpkin-laced batch is a no-brainer for fall. A little bit of pumpkin puree goes a long way here (just one cup is needed for 60 cookies). Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves lend a rich spiciness that you’d associate more with pumpkin pie, but it does wonders for chocolate chip cookies, too.
Gluten-Free Pumpkin, Oat and Cranberry Cookies
For a heartier, more adult-friendly cookie, try this recipe featuring pumpkin, quick-cooking oats and tart dried cranberries. Bonus: This recipe calls for a wheatless flour blend, so gluten-free guests won’t be excluded from these sweet, buttery cookies.
It’s common to find pumpkin in sweet baked goods at this time of year, but less often in savory items — and yet the rich, complex and slightly spicy flavor plays so well with savory ingredients. Mix Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree and heavy cream into your batter to get the full fall flavor of these moist biscuits. Surprisingly, one biscuit contains just 136 calories.
Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Of all the pies you could make, pumpkin is one of the easiest (and tastiest) to turn vegan. A couple of essential substitutes render this easy pie recipe vegan-friendly without sacrificing flavor: unrefined coconut oil, which provides a flaky, buttery texture for the crust, and silken tofu, which lends creaminess to the filling.
For more ideas on cooking with pumpkin, check out these recipes from our friends:
The Hungry Traveler: Pumpkin Brown Butter Madeleines
Bacon and Souffle: Pumpkin Lasagna with Sausage, Kale and Parmesan
Homemade Delish: Warm Pumpkin Salad
Creative Culinary: Pumpkin Butter
The Lemon Bowl: 20 Healthy Pumpkin Recipes
Weelicious: Baked Pumpkin Doughnuts
Virtually Homemade: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
TasteBook: Creamy Pumpkin Mac and Cheese
Dishin & Dishes: Homemade Pumpkin Chai Tea Latte Concentrate
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
Red or Green: Spiced Pumpkin-Chocolate Chip Bars
The Heritage Cook: Roasted Pumpkin, Potato, and Sage (Gluten-Free)
Swing Eats: Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Pumpkin Seed Brittle
Taste with the Eyes: Sultry Pumpkin Soup – Southwest Flavors, Dressed To Kill
FN Dish: 8 Ways to Eat Pumpkin All Day Long