NORTHWOODS COOKS: Pumpkin recipes for October

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Homemade pumpkin bars with sugar-cinnamon crust
Pumpkin dump cake is a flavorful dessert to serve in October. Paired with a pumpkin spice latte, it's the perfect ending to an autumn meal.
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Pumpkins can be seen in roadside stands and grocery stores now that October is here. These recipes featuring pumpkin will add the flavor of fall to any meal.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

2 shots espresso or 1/2 cup strongly brewed coffee

1 cup milk, any kind


3 Tbsp. maple syrup

3 Tbsp. pumpkin puree

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Heaping 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more for dusting

Pinch sea salt

Whipped cream, for topping, optional

Cinnamon sticks, for garnish, optional

In a small pot, combine the espresso, milk, maple syrup, pumpkin puree, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Whisk over low heat until well combined and warmed through.


Pour into a mug. If desired, top with whipped cream and a dusting of pumpkin pie spice and garnish with cinnamon sticks.

Pumpkin Dump Cake


29-oz. canned pumpkin puree

12-oz. can evaporated milk

3 eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar


1/2 cup brown sugar

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 spice cake mix

1 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup butter (cold and thinly sliced)

Whipped cream (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray and lightly flour. Mix the pumpkin, evaporated milk, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, sugars and eggs in a large bowl.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Mix the pecans with the cake mix and sprinkle evenly over top of the batter.

Cut the cold butter in very thin slices and place it on top evenly, covering as much as you can. Bake for 1 hour. Serve warm or cold and top with whipped cream if desired.

The Best Pumpkin Bread

15-oz. can pumpkin puree

2 cups white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2/3 cup water

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking soda, sifted

1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

1-1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 7-by-3-inch loaf pans. Mix together pumpkin puree, sugar, oil, water, eggs and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well blended. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg and ginger in a second bowl. Sift flour mixture on top of the pumpkin mixture and fold in with a spatula until just blended. Pour into the prepared pans.

Bake in the preheated oven until nicely browned on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.

Pumpkin Chili

2 lbs. ground beef

1 large onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

2 (15-oz.) cans kidney beans, drained

46-oz. can tomato juice

28-oz. can peeled and diced tomatoes with juice

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1/4 cup white sugar

In a large pot over medium heat, cook beef until brown; drain. Stir in onion and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in beans, tomato juice, diced tomatoes and pumpkin puree. Season with pumpkin pie spice, chili powder and sugar. Simmer for 1 hour.

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Readers are invited to submit their favorite recipes to enjoy, along with a note about what makes them special. Send recipes to

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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