Pumpkin x3

Like a lot of people, we’re getting ready for Halloween over here. We’ve got all the pieces for our costumes together, and I plan to spend part of the day throwing together some Halloween treats for a party our friends are throwing tomorrow. On Tuesday night after we did some shopping for the last few pieces of our costumes, Aidan and I came home and carved some pumpkins.

jack-o-lanterns

Mine is on the left; Aidan’s is on the right.

I really love pumpkin carving. When I was a kid, my parents would spread news paper all over the floor, cut open the tops of our pumpkins, and set us to scooping out the guts. My dad would be elbow deep in pumpkins, even though he’s allergic to them, scraping the sides clean. He’d give us each a Sharpie so we could draw a face on our pumpkin, which was a bit dangerous since I distinctly remember drawing some weirdly complicated designs. I believe my sister also had a penchant for drawing mouths with lots of tiny teeth and would get very upset if any of them broke off. I think we all struggled with not being able to carve our pumpkins ourselves, but now every time I take a knife to a pumpkin as an adult, I totally understand my dad’s caution. Because I really appreciate the fact that I still have all ten of my fingers.

Our family would also always roast the seeds from our pumpkins.

pumpkin seeds

I don’t know how my parents did it, but I rinsed these and left them out on a baking tray overnight to dry. Then I tossed these together with 2 tbsp of melted butter and about a teaspoon of seasoned salt and baked them for about 30 minutes at 300 degrees. Tasty. We got about 3 cups of seeds from two pumpkins.

Continuing the pumpkin frenzy, I decided to whip up some pumpkin scones this morning when I got home from teaching my early morning classes. I followed the recipe as written, adding a bag of Hershey’s cinnamon chips to the dough and topping the scones with a cinnamon-sugar mix. I’ve never made scones before, but these came together quickly and easily–it’s a great recipe and the King Arthur Flour blog posted step-by-step photo instructions for this recipe that are also helpful.

scones ready for the oven

After the dough is formed into rounds and sliced, the recipe recommends putting them, uncovered, in the freezer for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven. Chilling the scones before you bake them is supposed to help with the rise, and while I don’t have any prior scone experience to compare it to, multiple people reviewing this recipe said that putting them in the freezer really did make a difference. As someone who can’t ever seem to get my biscuits to rise the way I’d like, it makes me wonder if some pre-oven chilling would help in that situation too. Hmmm . . . I’ll have to experiment and see.

Pumpkin scone

Anyway, these scones were seriously good. I was worried I had over-handled the dough, but they had a great tender, light texture with a crunchy top from the cinnamon-sugar mix. These scones are about a million times better than the dry, dense, iced pumpkin scone I got a few weeks ago from the Starbucks across the street from the building I teach in. Today, one of my students asked me if I preferred Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts. I said Dunkin’ Donuts, but I now realize that I really should have said my house. Where else can you get warm pumpkin scones and fresh french press coffee while you watch The Real Housewives of Atlanta?

Ike the Giraffe

In closing, Ike hopes you have a fantastic Halloween weekend. He can’t wait to party.

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