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October means pumpkins and Spooky Town Village

Cathie Campbell/The Madera Tribune Melted butter oozes over homemade pumpkin muffins fresh from the oven.


Ahhh, my favorite time of year. Not too hot, not too cold, beautiful colors and, of course, tasty food.

I also get a chance to display my ever-growing pumpkin collection, although I am running out of room due to my Lemax Spooky Town village, which also keeps growing larger each year.

I can’t resist adding to both of those collections and many times friends and family keep those items in mind when they give me birthday gifts. I’m sure quite a lot of you know what that’s like. I do have several other collections, but it would take up too much space to get into them all.

Please do enjoy our early October weather and if you like pumpkin, I hope you also find at least one recipe here you can enjoy as well. Spice cookies with pumpkin dip

For a thicker dip, use pumpkin puree instead of the pie filling mixture. Start this recipe the day before you plan to serve it.


1 1/2 cups butter, softened

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup molasses

4 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon each ground ginger and cloves

1 teaspoon salt

Additional sugar

Pumpkin dip:

1 package (8-oz.) cream cheese, softened

2 cups pumpkin pie filling

2 cups confectioners’ sugar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Add to creamed mixture and mix well. Chill mixture overnight.

2. Preheat oven to 375. Shape cookie dough into 1/2-inch balls; roll in sugar. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Cool 2 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

3. For dip, beat cream cheese in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in pumpkin pie filling. Add the sugar, cinnamon and ginger and mix well. Serve with cookies. Store any leftover dip in the refrigerator. Pumpkin muffins

1 cup raisins (I like to use chopped dates)

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon ground cloves

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil

1 3/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1. Preheat oven to 400. Soak raisins or dates in the water for 5 minutes; do not drain. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs until foamy. Stir in pumpkin, sugar, cloves, cinnamon and salt. Add canola or vegetable oil and mix well.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture with half of the raisin-water mixture. Mix well, add remaining raisin mixture; stir to mix.

4. Fill greased muffin pans 2/3 full. Bake in preheated oven until the tops spring back when pressed with fingers, about 25 minutes. Makes 18 muffins, unless you use very large muffin pans. Pumpkin cheesecake bars


1 cup flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick butter

1/2 cup chopped nuts (such as walnuts or pecans)


1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger 1. For crust: blend all ingredients in a food processor until a ball forms and press into an 8-by-8-inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes; cool slightly.

2. For filling: blend all ingredients until smooth and pour into baked crust. Bake at 350 for 35 to 40 minutes or until set. Cool and cut into bars. Pumpkin pecan pie bars

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed

1 1/2 cups flour, unsifted

1 cup rolled oats (I use quick-style)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 can (16-oz.) pumpkin puree (not the prepared pie filling)

1 can sweetened condensed milk

2 eggs, beaten

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

1 cup pecans, chopped

Confectioners’ sugar (optional) 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large mixer bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy; add flour, oats, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Mix until crumbly. Reserving 1/2 cup flour mixture, press remainder on bottom of 15-by10-inch jelly-roll pan. Bake 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile in medium bowl, combine pumpkin, sweetened condensed milk, beaten eggs, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Spread over baked crust.

3. In small bowl, combine reserved 1/2 cup flour mixture with pecans; sprinkle over pumpkin mixture. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until set. Cool. Cut into bars. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. Pumpkin pie spice

This recipe doesn’t call for pumpkin, but since it is used with pumpkin, it might be nice to know how to make your own. I like to add a small amount of cloves, too.

4 teaspoons ground cinnamon

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Store in an airtight container. Pumpkin pancakes with pumpkin maple sauce

From the folks at Libby’s.

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups milk

1/2 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin

1 large egg

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Pumpkin maple sauce:

1 cup maple syrup

1 1/4 cups Libby’s canned pumpkin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice 1. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt in large bowl. Combine milk, pumpkin, egg and vegetable oil in small bowl; mix well. Add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened; batter may be lumpy.

2. Heat griddle or skillet over medium heat; brush lightly with vegetable oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto hot griddle; cook until bubbles begin to burst. Turn and continue cooking 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with Pumpkin maple sauce.

3. Pumpkin maple sauce: Heat 1 cup maple syrup, 1 1/4 cups Libby’s pumpkin and 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice in small saucepan until warm.

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