This year marks the 10th anniversary of Starbucks‘ Pumpkin Spice Latte. According to food industry experts, that latte is responsible for more than your empty bank account: it’s also to thank for spurning the popularity of food and beverage items flavored with pumpkin spice. Pumpkin’s inclusion on seasonal menus has grown rapidly over the past several years. In fact, a study by Datassential Menu Trends claims that pumpkin-inspired menu offerings grew over 200% between 2008 and 2012. Sure, there’s a lot of latte copycats out there. But the overall pumpkin gamut runs from muffins to ravioli to cocktails. Just go to your local Trader Joe’s to get a feel for how much pumpkin has taken over. This year, TJ’s is selling everything from pumpkin pie to pumpkin tea.
As I’ve mentioned before, I didn’t grow up eating pumpkin-flavored goodies. We certainly bought pumpkins to carve each Halloween, but our Thanksgiving table didn’t feature any sort of pumpkin-flavored treat and I don’t remember pumpkin being very prevalent on local menus. I was more likely to eat pumpkin-shaped candy corn than anything truly flavored with pumpkin. And given that I grew up in an ever-sunny slice of suburbia, there were 2 key truths to my childhood pumpkin experiences.
- We got our pumpkins from the parking lot at our local mall. Every year a local company set up a manmade “patch” and a few rides, and it became family tradition to pay the patch a visit
- Anything “seasonal” was merely related to the time of year and not to the weather. I didn’t associate pumpkin or apple cider with true “fall” until I relocated to colder lands later in life
Despite my late entry into the pumpkin game, I think I’ve more than caught up. Ever since I discovered the joys of pumpkin I’ve made it a point to try as many pumpkin-flavored things as I can. And I make sure to bake a lot of pumpkin treats, too. Last year I posted some of my favorite pumpkin recipes, and I figure it’s only fair to continue the tradition this year. So let’s go to round 2, shall we?
My absolute favorite pumpkin treat anywhere: Ted Drewe’s Pumpkin Pie Concrete. Sadly, only available in St. Louis. Anyone want to bring me one?
My favorite savory pumpkin treat: Pumpkin ravioli. One of the best I’ve had was served at Ristorante Ideale in San Francisco
This year’s favorite self-made pumpkin baked good (so far): Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars from Two Peas and Their Pod
Last year’s favorite self-made pumpkin baked good: Pumpkin Snickerdoodles from Annie’s Eats
Other treats I plan to make this year:
Baked Pumpkin French Toast from Two Peas and Their Pod
Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting from Brown Eyed Baker
Pumpkin Gingerbread from AllRecipes (this has been added to my family’s Thanksgiving table in recent years. Truly the best)