Sunday Signal

Michele makes … Pumpkin Spice Treats

I’ve waited all year for pumpkin spice season to begin. It is the most glorious time of the year. One of the best uses of pumpkin spice is always in the traditional Thanksgiving pumpkin pie. However, here are a few ideas for sweet and tasty pumpkin spice treats that will rock your taste buds, at Thanksgiving, and beyond.

Pumpkin Spice Rice Krispie Treats

3 tbsp. butter

1/4 cup pumpkin purée

4 cups marshmallows 

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice 

1/4 tsp. salt 

6 cups crispy rice cereal

Coat a 9 x13-inch baking dish with butter.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the pumpkin and cook until warmed through. Fold in marshmallows, stirring frequently, add vanilla, spices and salt until thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat. 

Cool 10 minutes. Add the cereal and stir with a rubber spatula until combined. Press into an even layer in the baking dish. Finishing cooling completely before cutting and serving.

Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake Bars 

Crust

12 sheets cinnamon graham crackers

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

Pumpkin Cheesecake

4 8 oz. packages cream cheese, room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

1 15 oz. can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree

1 tsp. cinnamon

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

Streusel and Topping

1 cup dark brown sugar, packed

1 cup flour

1/2 cup quick cooking oats

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup butter, softened

2 tsp. vanilla

Salted or plain caramel to top bars (I use pre-made ice cream topping caramel from the grocery store).

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and set aside.

Crush graham crackers into crumbs (I put them into a sandwich bag and roll with a rolling pin). In a bowl, combine crust ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms. Press evenly into bottom of the baking pan. Bake for 8 minutes, remove and cool. 

In a bowl combine softened cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time. Beat until each egg is combined. 

Remove half of mixture and pour on top of the baked crust.

Add canned pumpkin, cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice to remaining cheesecake mixture and stir until combined.

Carefully pour pumpkin layer on top of plain cheesecake layer. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F.

Stir together brown sugar, flour, quick cooking oats and cinnamon. Cut the butter into small cubes. Add in butter and vanilla and mix together (with a pastry cutter or hands) until well combined. Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over pumpkin cheesecake layer.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until cheesecake has set.

Allow to cool for an hour at room temperature, then place in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Top bars with caramel topping.

Pumpkin Spice Candied Nuts 

These sugared almonds and pecans are candied with a blend of spices used in pumpkin pies and white and brown sugar. Candied nuts are the ultimate fall snack. 

1 1/2 cups raw almonds whole

1 1/2 cups raw pecans whole

1/4 cup water

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup white sugar

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. all spice

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. cloves

1/4 tsp. ginger

Cinnamon sugar for sprinkling

In a large saucepan, over medium-low heat, combine all ingredients except nuts. Stir until all sugar and spices have dissolved completely.

Add in almonds and pecans, making sure all nuts are coated with the sugar mixture.

Once coated, stir constantly (on med-low heat) for about 10 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat immediately 

Pour nuts onto a sheet of parchment paper to cool (make sure they are flat and in a single layer, otherwise the nuts will stick to each other). Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while the nuts are cooling so the sugar sticks to the nuts. 

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