My Pumpkin Addiction

A shot of a pumpkin, focused on its stem.
A shot of a pumpkin, focused on its stem. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I love pumpkin. I love pumpkin spice. Any food that has one or the other or both, I love.

For some people, the first sign of Autumn is the leaves on trees changing color.

For me, it’s either the first sight of Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream in the freezer case at Publix or the announcement of the return of Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks, whichever happens first.

I never used to be a coffee drinker until Pumpkin Spice Lattes entered my world. Starbucks started selling an instant version of it, and when I found out I immediately ordered six bags of the stuff. (It’s not as good as what you get at Starbucks, but it will be a consolation when the Pumpkin Spice Lattes are replaced by the Gingerbread or Peppermint Lattes or whatever it is they have for Christmas.)

Now I drink coffee almost every day (not necessarily the pumpkin spice kind). Who knew pumpkin spice was a gateway drug to a coffee addiction?

I recently found out that there are Pumpkin Pie Pop Tarts. I was online ordering three boxes five minutes after acquiring this information. I’d like to kiss the genius who thought that one up.

The worst part is, all of this stuff is seasonal. So I can only indulge my addiction for a couple months out of the year at most. They also appear just before I see the doctor for my regular check-up in November. Pumpkin is good for you, full of antioxidants and all, but when you add lots of dairy and sugar to it, the pounds can add up. The doctor does not like to see pumpkin-induced weight gain.

Luckily, some wonderful soul invented Weight Watchers pumpkin muffins that are easy to whip up and only cost 3 points . (I add an egg to the recipe, hence the extra point.) It is not unusual to find me eating one along with some pumpkin spice tea of an evening.

I told you, this is an addiction.

Remember when Carrie on Sex And The City was “shoe shamed?” A friend of hers shamed her for her addiction to expensive designer shoes. I was “pumpkin shamed” on Twitter the other day. Someone wondered who orders these kind of pumpkin products, and I confessed.

I’m sure her reaction was meant facetiously.

I think.

This isn’t a food blog, but I thought I would share this recipe I invented. I make these cookies every year for our neighborhood cookie exchange and for the office at Christmas time and they are always a big hit. I invented these because I wanted to marry two of my favorite things–pumpkin and peanut butter–in a cookie. I added the chocolate chips because everything is better with chocolate.

Since the main ingredient–the Pillsbury Pumpkin Quick Bread Mix–is, again, a seasonal product, you’ll have to stock up on some right away if you want to make these cookies. Some stores carry it for a very short time. (At my local Publix, they yank it off the shelf the day after Thanksgiving, though some stores carry it until Christmas.)

Every year I throw a couple of boxes of the mix in my shopping cart every week until they disappear. When the apocalypse comes, I’ll still have my cookies.

Well, not the cookies, but I’m sure I’ll still be able to make Apocalypse Pumpkin Pancakes, or something.

PUMPKIN PEANUT BUTTER CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup butter-flavored shortening
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 egg
¼ cup orange juice
Zest of one orange
1 (14 oz.) pkg. Pillsbury Pumpkin Quick Bread and Muffin Mix
1 cup peanut butter chips
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

In large bowl, cream together the butter, shortening and peanut butter.  Beat in egg, orange juice and orange zest.

Add quick bread mix, peanut butter chips and chocolate chips to butter/shortening mixture and combine until dough forms.

Drop dough by teaspoonfuls on baking sheets.  Press down lightly on each dough ball with fork.  (Cookies will not spread much, so make sure not to skip this step.)

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until bottoms begin to brown and edges are set (tops will be soft).  Allow to cool for 1 minute before removing from baking sheets.  Cool thoroughly before storing in airtight containers.

Approx. 3 dozen cookies

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