Those bright orange stacks of pumpkins at markets and grocery stores remind us that Halloween is just around the corner, and that Thanksgiving is not far behind.   So now’s the time to stock up on ingredients —  especially canned pumpkin — for baking  pies, cakes, cookies and other treats.

A member of the squash family, pumpkin is considered a fruit because it contains seeds and grows on a vine.  Not only is it high in potassium, which  has a positive effect on blood pressure, but it also is one the best sources of the antioxidant Vitamin A, known to help prevent degenerative damage to the eyes. Besides, one cup of pumpkin contains only 49 calories, zero fat and zero cholesterol. 

The following two recipes are   amazingly easy and DEE-licious! I added dried cranberries and chopped pecans to the cookie recipe, but raisins and walnuts would be good, too. The second recipe is also very easy, addictive, and tastes even better the second day. 


  • 2½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease baking sheets or line with  parchment paper. 

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl. In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in pecans and dried cranberries. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until edges are firm. Cool for 2 minutes, then remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle with the following glaze, or frost with the glaze and center with candy pumpkins or a few candy corns.


  • 2 cups sifted powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine sugar, milk, butter and vanilla in a small bowl, stirring until smooth.


  • 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • ¾ cup cooking oil
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • Dash ground cloves
  • Dash ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour


 Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer at  medium speed,  combine pumpkin, oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, salt, baking soda and baking powder until well blended. Stir in the flour, blending well, with the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into a 9×13-inch pan that has been sprayed with an aerosol spray product. Bake 30 minutes, or until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool completely on a rack, then frost with the following icing:


  • 8 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon 

Blend cream cheese and butter until smooth at low speed. Add vanilla. Add powdered sugar gradually until well blended. Add cinnamon.  Add more powdered sugar or milk if necessary.

DEAR READERS: Please consider sharing some of your favorite holiday appetizer recipes. 

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