BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Perfect Pumpkins

29 Comments

Is it just another nasty side effect of growing older, or are pumpkin patches slowly losing their luster? No longer the exciting field trip out into an amber- and golden-hued land, far from reality, where the gourds sit proudly in tangled and vine-covered rows, but a meager errand. Hay rides serve only to incite a maddening barrage of sneezes and itches, and most disconcerting, the pumpkin selection is nothing to raise an eyebrow at. Small to medium orange orbs of approximate roundness, more often than not, scarred with moldy spots, contagious-looking warts, or odd concave surfaces, most are not suited to carving even on a good day. Pick out something adequate in the pumpkin patch, only to discover the thickest inner walls ever created out of squash, or worse yet, empty seed pods that are no good for roasting. So many stumbling blocks, so few “perfect” pumpkins.

Dead-set on ending this cycle of disappointment once and for all, I set off to a brand new pumpkin patch this year in search of something better. Would you believe it, I found gourds there so impossibly ideal, it was a downright magical discovery. Flawlessly shaped, smooth, and glittering in the sunlight, I could overlook their diminutive size in favor of their other advantages. Cracking one open straight away to investigate the seed situation, the reality of what filled those thing shells was far sweeter…

Pumpkin candy! Forget those truly scary mass-produced sweets for Halloween and try making easy treats like these. Taking a page from my Shamrock Patties, these festive treats do indeed have real pumpkin in them, along with bright, pie-inspired spices. Should you get a hold of edible ink markers, you could even dress them up as jack-0-lanterns, complete with uniquely cute or creepy faces.

Turns out that the elusive perfect pumpkin may actually exist… In candy form, at least!

Pumpkin Patties

Patties:

1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1 Tablespoon Non-Dairy Margarine, at Room Temperature
3 – 4 Cups Confectioner’s Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
3/4 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cloves
Pinch Salt

Candy Coating:

1/4 Cup (2 Ounces) Food-Grade Cocoa Butter
1/4 Cup Confectioner’s Sugar
1/4 Teaspoon Tomato Powder (Optional, for Color)
1/4 Teaspoon Turmeric (Optional, for Color)
Pinch Ground Cinnamon

Orange Colored Sugar, if Desired

Place your pumpkin puree in the bowl of your food processor fitted with the paddle attachment, or in your food processor. Add the margarine and cream the two together until smooth. Incorporate 2 cups of confectioner’s sugar to start, along with the vanilla, spices, and salt. Start on a slow speed, or pulse to combine. The mixture will likely look like thick icing at this point, so add in another cup of confectioner’s sugar, and once again mix on low. You’re looking for it to become the consistency of soft cookie dough; malleable, but not gooey or drippy. If it still seems to be too loose, mix in up to an additional cup of the sugar, as needed.

Turn the pumpkin candy out onto a silpat or piece of parchment paper, and gently flatten it out to about 1/4 – 1/2 inch in thickness. To prevent sticking, either sprinkle on a very light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, or top it with a second silpat or sheet of parchment before taking the rolling pin to it. Stash your candy disk in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.

Once chilled, pull out a small pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter approximately 1-inch wide. Lay out a second silpat or piece of parchment on top of a baking sheet. Cut out your pumpkins, and transfer them to the prepared sheet. Gather up the candy scraps, re-roll, and cut again, until you’ve used all of the dough. Should the dough become too soft and finicky to work with, just toss it back in the fridge for another 15 – 30 minutes, and try once more. Now, stash the whole sheet of cut centers in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before getting to work on the coating.

Place your cocoa butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for 1 – 3 minutes, so that it completely liquefies. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients for the coating in a small dish, making sure that they’re thoroughly combined and that there are no clumps. Once the cocoa butter is melted, whisk in the dry ingredients, stirring vigorously to make sure that everything is completely dissolved into the liquified fat.

Pull out your semi-frozen candy centers, and dip each into the coating, one at a time, letting the excess drip off. Place them back on the silpat, and watch the coating set up right before your eyes. This top coat is thinner than regular chocolate, so you may wish to double-dip once the first layer has solidified. If using, quickly sprinkle the decorative sugar over the dipped patties as soon as you set them down.

Make 3 – 4 Dozen Patties

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

29 thoughts on “Perfect Pumpkins

  1. These are too cute! They remind me of the maple candies I used to get when we went to Vermont every year – sweet and decadent, but small (so it’s okay to indulge!).

  2. These look like amazing Halloween treats!

  3. Wow these truly look fantastic.

  4. These cookies are just wonderful!!

  5. I know just what you mean about pumpkin patches and even pumpkins themselves losing the magic that they once held for me…so sad! These delicious candy pumpkins truly are a fantastic idea though…at least the perfect pumpkin does still exist!

  6. I’m still a big fan of pumpkin patches, though it seems every year life is too busy to hit one up. Next year I hope! Your pumpkin candies look amazing though!

  7. Those are SO cute! I love them. And they look so delicious!

  8. These looks so cute and tasty!!

  9. These pumpkins look adorable and sound so yummy!

  10. ooo those look delicious! We have a huge pumpkin patch down the road from us. I love looking at the rolling hills of those buggers :) But it is so so sad when you realize the one you picked isn’t the best :(

  11. I swear everybody goes crazy when it Fall season comes around mainly because of Pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING. It’s funny how when we’re kids, we can’t wait for candy but now, I just can’t wait for pumpkin pie, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin lattes at Starbucks etc. It’s all great. Now I know what to make for Thanksgiving :P yum!

    Also, thank you so much for your comment! It’s extremely gratifying haha it motivates me :)

  12. Love this!!! I am gonna put this on my Halloween recipe round up post tomorrow!

  13. Holy yum Hannah! I need a dozen of these right now! So cute too.

  14. Aww these are so cute! I’d be so happy with a batch of these in lieu of carving a pumpkin this year.

  15. Wait, there are actualy pumpkin patches that people go to? To buy pumpkins to eat, or carve? I don’t think I ever knew that before! How crazy! But good. Crazy-good. :)

  16. These pumpkins are sure perfect…can I have one Hannah?
    Hope you have a great week ahead :-)

  17. Do you think these ship well? Do you want to find out? Because I’m totally volunteering to be your subject :)

  18. Why can’t I find a pumpkin patch like that? I must not be looking in the right spots. So darn cute. :-)

  19. Do these need to be kept in the fridge or freezer? I’m considering mailing them to a friend and wouldn’t want them to fall apart in the process. Thanks!

    • Nope, they should be fine out at room temperature, and a good candidate for shipping. Just make sure that it’s relatively cold out when you send them, because they’re more prone to melt in hotter temperatures, just like any other chocolate-based or -covered candy.

  20. Cute! But I think it might be your pumpkin patch. I love the ones my orchard is growing which are the heirloom ones and they are covered with warts and character. And on top of that they taste good to!

  21. Pingback: Halloween Recipe Round Up « Your Vegan Girlfriend

  22. So cute and so clever! You know, I think I should do some (makeshift) candy melts similar to this recipe. I absolutely love your blog! ^^

  23. These sound dangerously tasty and are too cute for words! Nice work!

  24. Those are absolutely adorable! Now I have to find a pumpkin cookie cutter. And really, why don’t I have one of those already?!

  25. such cuties and such fun! i think i;ve had enough sweet this month already!

  26. Pingback: Halloween Treat Round-Up & Pumpkin Painting | Better With Veggies

  27. These are so cute and sound so delicious!

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