Halloween pumpkin treats

Halloween is fast becoming a major festival. Stores are filled with witchcraft of all sorts to encourage you to decorate your home and your person for this All Hallows Eve. Of course, it is the perfect opportunity to celebrate with a party. Whether you are eight years or 80, this night has become an opportunity to have fun in costume, to be a kid again, and have a devil of a good time. As a result, parties of all sorts have become popular, especially the ‘potluck’ costume party. Here are some appropriate pumpkin treats for every ghost and goblin to take to their party.

Pumpkin Bread
For best flavour, make this spicy loaf a day ahead of serving. Wrap in plastic wrap and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days. For longer storage, wrap bread in plastic, over-wrap in foil and freeze for up to three months.
1 3/4 cup (575 mL) all purpose flour
1/2 cup (125 mL) each, granulated sugar and brown sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder
1 tsp (5 mL) cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each, nutmeg and ground cloves
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1 cup (250 mL) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (125 mL) milk
1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup (125 mL) craisins or raisins
Orange Drizzle Glaze (optional)
2 cups (500 mL) sifted icing sugar
1/3 cup (75 ml)    orange juice
orange zest (decoration)
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line 9 inch (2 L) loaf pan with parchment paper; set aside. In mixing bowl, stir together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. In separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, milk, vegetable oil, eggs and craisins. Combine liquid ingredients just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Meanwhile, in clean bowl, whisk together icing sugar and orange juice. When loaf is cool, remove from loaf pan; remove parchment paper and drizzle with glaze using zig-zag motion. Sprinkle top of loaf with orange zest.

Pumpkin Pie or Tarts
The combination of spices in this recipe gives the pie or tarts an extra rich taste. Serve with a generous dollop of sweetened whipped cream for the perfect Halloween treat.
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) evaporated milk or light cream
1 can (14 oz/398 mL) pumpkin
1 cup (250 mL) lightly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp (25 mL) molasses
1 tsp (5 mL) each, cinnamon and ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) freshly grated nutmeg and ground cloves
pinch salt
1 unbaked 9 inch (2 L) pie shell or 1 dozen tart shells
Preheat oven to 425˚F (220˚C).  In large mixing bowl, beat eggs and milk. Gradually beat in pumpkin, brown sugar, molasses, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Pour filling into prepared pie shell. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F (180˚C) and continue cooking about 30 minutes or until knife inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool on a rack. Makes 12 slices or 12 tarts.

Harvest Pumpkin Bars
Akin to the ever popular carrot cake, these bars are a perfect ‘take-along’ for a fun evening.
1 cup (250 mL) packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup (250 mL) pumpkin puree
1/2 cup (125 mL) vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) plain yogurt or sour cream
1 1/2 cup (425 mL) all purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda
1 tsp (5 mL) ground ginger
1/2 tsp (2 mL) baking powder and salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) each, ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves
Icing Sugar or Cream Cheese Frosting
4 oz (1/2 cup/125 mL) cream cheese
2 cups (500 mL) sifted icing sugar
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon juice
1 tsp (5 mL) grated lemon rind
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla
Preheat oven to 350˚F (180˚C). Line 9 inch 23 cm square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In mixing bowl, beat together brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin puree and oil until smooth.
Beat in pumpkin. In separate bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Stir flour mixture into creamed mixture just until blended; spoon batter into prepared pan. Bake about 35 minutes or until cake is firm to touch or toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool on rack. Meanwhile, in clean mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and icing sugar until smooth. Beat in lemon juice, rind and vanilla. When cake is cool, (about one hour) spread with frosting. Cut into 25 to 30 squares. Wrap well to freeze.

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