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If the thought of a pumpkin spice latte makes you want to hurl, you’re not alone. Luckily, there’s more than one way to enjoy the bounty of this signature fall flavor without succumbing to cloyingly spiced coffee drinks. Here are our favorite sweet and savory pumpkin edibles that’ll get you in the autumnal spirit without succumbing to a Starbucks run.
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If you think of granola as a health food, well, you’re half right. It actually contains a fair amount of sugar, (good) fat, and oil, meaning: granola is a treat! Nature’s Path makes a downright addictive pumpkin flax granola that you’re going to want to shove down your gullet by the fistful. (And why shouldn’t you?) You could buy this intoxicating mix of oats, seeds, molasses, and cinnamon in a regular-sized box at the grocery store…or you could hit the wholesale club and buy enough to last you until next time pumpkin season rolls around.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
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The combination of pumpkin and chocolate is the autumnal version of peanut butter and chocolate, meaning: it’s irresistible. Put that combo in a muffin for an indulgent, yet portable, breakfast option. Now, some people say muffins are just naked cupcakes; we say some things are better naked. Case in point: chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, which you (yes, you!) can make at home in 20 minutes with a mere three ingredients. How? Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or grease with cooking spray. In large bowl, combine 1 box white cake mix (if you want a more complex flavor, you can use a spice cake mix) and 1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin puree; stir until incorporated. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips. Scoop batter into muffin tins; bake for 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. You could let them cool before digging in, but at least once, experience the decadence of eating a hot muffin with a spoon. It’s heaven.
Pumpecapple Pie Cake
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Enthusiastic eaters, loosen your belts. Here comes the Pumpecapple Piecake. Dubbed the “Turducken of desserts”, this insane tower of deliciousness contains three layers: pumpkin pie wrapped in pumpkin spice cake, a pecan pie tucked into chocolate cake, and an apple pie embedded in an apple spice cake. Once stacked, the piecakes are adorned with generous cloak of cream cheese frosting, studded with chopped pecans, and drizzled with caramel. Even if you despise pumpkin spice, there’s plenty of other flavor combinations to nibble on here. Do not attempt to bake this at home (unless you like disasters). If you can’t make the trip to the Three Brothers Bakery in Houston, Texas, where this monstrosity was invented, save up your dough and have it delivered by Goldbely for $379. The 23.5 pound pastry feeds 40 – 50, so plan a party around its arrival.
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Pumpkin is an incredibly versatile ingredient, and no where is this more evident than its application to pasta. Pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin lasagna, and pumpkin mac n’ cheese are just a few of the ways pumpkin can be interpreted in Italian cooking. Jilian Metzner, a fitness fanatic behind the cleverly-named blog Chocolate Chips and Tricep Dips, is a self-proclaimed pumpkin-lover. She recently posted a mouthwatering pic of pumpkin pasta on Instagram and included the simple recipe right in the caption. If you can boil water, you can make this pumpkin pasta.
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As the weather cools, you’ll find yourself hankering for warmer foods. Shelf-stable pumpkin soup is available at most grocery stores and is a quick and easy way to satisfy your hunger and heat your body from the inside out. To make it more exciting, top with a dollop of sour cream and a handful of roasted pumpkin seeds, or dip a few Doctor Kracker pumpkin seed cheddar crispbreads into your bowl between spoonfuls.
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If there’s a company mass-producing pumpkin dip, we haven’t found it yet. You might be able to scout out something worth dunking your snack in at a local deli. If not, we’ll give you three ways to DIY. First up is curry pumpkin dip by food blogger Kitchen Gidget. If you like the aromatic effect of curry, cumin, and allspice, this will be your jam–just make sure you’re serving this dip with a blander snack, like pita chips, or your taste buds will get whiplash. If bacon is the only way you’ll consider dipping anything in a pumpkin-flavored concoction, try Gimme Some Oven‘s savory pumpkin dip. This chunky, cheesy dip incorporates cheddar and cream cheeses, toasted pecans, and (oh yeah) crumbled bacon. Eat with at least one sleeve of Ritz crackers at hand. Finally, if you prefer your dip boozy, the Food Network‘s pumpkin hard cider cheese dip is right up your alley. It’s so smooth, you’ll be tempted to down it like soup. Given the fat content, please don’t. Pretzels will help you meter out the potentially artery-clogging ingredients.