Island Cooking: Pumpkin Desserts mean more than just Pie

It seems that every time I go to bed at night, any snacks I have in the house disappear. I usually leave the snacks that I don’t like in the snack cupboard or on the counter underneath it, but of course those are not the ones that disappear first. My kids figured out that I had snacks hidden everywhere because they would have a pack of cookies or a cupcake in their lunch boxes and there was none of that stuff in the snack cupboard – just granola bars and packs of peanut butter crackers.

I was able to keep my secret for quite a long time but as the years went by they got a little smarter and started searching and one by one they found all of my hiding places like the computer room, top shelves, in china cabinets and so on. I had to get more creative; but now they are older and I have pretty much given up except when it comes to Hershey’s chocolate kisses – they have yet to find that hiding place.

But what happened Saturday night takes the cake and may have cured the nighttime snacking a bit, at least for my daughter – or I hope so. My daughter has been on a beef jerky kick for a while.

My black Lab Kasey has really bad arthritis and I have tried lots of different supplements for her that come from the vet that will help her flexibility, and so I got packages of Sea Jerky “The Flexibility Supplement for Dogs.” Well, I was picking up some things in the house and found the packages of the “Sea Jerky” and put them in the kitchen next to the dog biscuits, which is under the snack cupboard and I actually thought to myself, “I should probably put them away.” But I didn’t because I knew I would forget them again and the thought crossed my mind about whether my daughter would think it was jerky. But I figured the picture of the dog on the package would tip her off.

So imagine my horror on Sunday morning when I went downstairs to let the dogs out and give them a snack and I saw two empty jerky packages on the counter – did I mention that the kids never pick up after themselves?

First, I screamed “Oh no!” and grabbed the empty two packages and then after I picked myself up off of the floor from laughing so hard I reread the ingredients – which I couldn’t figure out. So I decided I had to ask her. When she came downstairs I casually said, “Hey, did you eat the jerky that was in the packages on the counter?” She said she saw it and saw that it said sea jerky and decided I bought a healthy jerky so she gave it a try until she was halfway through and it was so tough that she looked again at the package and read the part about flexibility supplement for dogs and decided to stop when she realized she was chowing down on dogs treats.

I’m happy to report to you she had no ill side effects but her hair is really shiny and she’s running faster then ever!

I decided not to do jerky recipes this week, as people might be a little nervous. So in keeping with the season we’ve got pumpkin recipes. But first, here’s a nice cocktail to get the baking started.

Bailey’s Caramel Appletini

1 oz. Baileys Caramel Irish Cream

1/2 oz. Smirnoff Green Apple Vodka

1 apple slice

1 tsp. caramel

To an ice-filled shaker, add your Bailey’s and Green Apple Vodka; shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with apple slice and caramel.

Libby’s Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

1/4 cup powdered sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

1/4 tsp. salt

3 large eggs

1 cup white sugar

2/3 cup Libby’s pumpkin

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

6 Tbsp. butter or margarine, softened

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat over to 375. Grease a 15×10-inch jelly roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour wax paper. Sprinkle a clean dish towel with 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in a bowl. In a large separate bowl beat eggs and sugar until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour. Spread evenly into prepared pan and sprinkle with nuts if you are using them.

Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. Immediately loosen cake and turn onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting at narrow end. Cool on wire rack.

Beat cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake; remove towel. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake and reroll. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving and enjoy.

Pumpkin Dessert

1 box yellow cake mix

1/3 cup melted butter

1 egg

1 29-ounce can pumpkin

1/2 cup brown sugar

2/3 cup milk

3 eggs

2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup butter, chilled

1/2 cup white sugar

3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 13×9-inch baking pan.

Set aside one cup of the cake mix. Combine the remaining cake mix with the melted butter and 1 egg. Mix well. Spread the mixture on the bottom of the baking pan.

In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, brown sugar, milk, 3 eggs and pumpkin pie spice; mix well and pour this over the mixture in the baking pan.

In a small bowl – using a pastry blender or a food processor – combine chilled butter and white sugar with the reserved cake mix until it resembles coarse crumbs, then sprinkle over the top of the cake. If you’re using nuts, you can sprinkle them on at this time.

Bake 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden and springs back to the touch.

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Holly Simason

Columnist at Mount Desert Islander
Former Islander cooking columnist Holly Simason is co-author of the mystery series “Death of a Kitchen Diva." Simason has collaborated with her screenwriter brother Rick Copp for the Bar Harbor-based series. The books are written under the pen name Lee Hollis.