Okay, so I know last night was the Great Pumpkin of pumpkin nights, but am I the only one who leaves all our pumpkin/non-jack o'lantern gourds up until Thanksgiving? Yep, November is all about pumpkin too.
While I love pumpkin pie and (even more) pumpkin cheesecake, my favorite Thanksgiving pumpkin treat is pumpkin butter. I love it since it is sweet and tastes decadent and yet is pretty darn healthy too. The sort of love that would lead someone to lick a jar clean in one sitting, not that I've known anyone to do that (wink, wink).
I started thinking that I could easily make pumpkin butter in our slow cooker since pumpkin butter is essentially just pureed pumpkin, spices and sugar, allowed to cook for a good long time. Guess what? You can make homemade pumpkin butter, and you can reduce the amount of refined sugar too, by using apple cider and honey instead.
Tasty, easy and more healthful too? Sounds like a winner to me!
Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter
1 - 29 oz can pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup apple cider
6 tablespoons honey or molasses
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional)
dash of salt
brown sugar to taste (optional)
Combine all ingredients except brown sugar in a slow cooker.
Stir well and then scrape the sides so the pureed pumpkin mixture is not on the sides.
Cook on HI for 6-7 hours, LOW for 12-14 hours. Be sure to prop up the lid of the slow cooker with either a wooden spoon or, my favorite, a cinnamon stick*, to allow steam to escape, so the pumpkin will thicken.
Once it reaches the desired consistency and is a deep brown color, do a taste test. Is it sweet enough for your palate? If not, add brown sugar, starting with about 1/4 cup. A lot of pumpkin butters have up to 1 cup or more of added sugar, so adjust to your taste. Additionally, you may add additional spices, if desired.
Makes about 3 cups pumpkin butter.
*using a cinnamon stick to prop open your slow cooker lid will act almost as a natural potpourri, since the escaping steam will carry the cinnamon and pumpkin butter fragrance throughout your home.
Once the pumpkin butter is made, you can freeze some for Thanksgiving--since many of you emailed and left me messages about more healthy Thanksgiving desserts, as well as dairy, egg and gluten-free desserts, this would be a super dessert dish. To serve as a dessert, I would put in small bowls, almost like a pudding, and give folks dippers to enjoy with it.
Life is sweet!