Fall Pumpkin Spiced Hot Chocolate

Seasonal affective disorder, what is it? It’s a form of depression, also called the “Winter Blues” where people feel sadder the winter time. Does anyone else feel this way? I am definitely happier when the sun is shining, and I can tend to feel out of sorts or jaded when it is cloudy and cold outside. It’s more common than people think, and in some countries, as many as 20-30% of people may be affected. There are special lights that people install in their houses and they will sit under them for a few minutes to hours every day to help with the condition, but I’ve never done this. The older I get, the more I am cognizant of my feelings, and can try to work through them. Over time, I have tried to learn to embrace the dreary cold days, finding ways to appreciate them. One of the things that definitely makes me happy is good food, so I try to find “depressing day” foods such as hot chocolate… grilled cheese with tomato soup… chili! (I mean, who doesn’t love chili?) It’s definitely not a perfect solution, but I think that taking time every day to appreciate the good things in my life and be grateful for what I have makes me a happier person in general. So here I am, dreary weather outside, fireplace on, snuggled up under a soft blanket with the hubster on the couch, and a fall spiced hot chocolate in my hand – life doesn’t get better.

Fall pumpkin spiced hot chocolate

Fall Pumpkin Spiced Hot Chocolate

Servings: 1 (can double for two servings)


  • 8 ounces of milk of choice
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon sugar of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1-2 drops of vanilla extract
  • dash of salt
  • cinnamon sticks, star anise, etc. for serving


  • Heat milk in a microwave-safe container until hot, around 2-3 minutes depending on your microwave. Add the cocoa powder, sugar, pumpkin spice, vanilla, and salt and combine. I used a milk frother to combine the ingredients together.

Maple Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Crunchy Oat Topping

If it’s fall, you can pretty much bet that there is a pumpkin-flavored baked good in my house. I eat so much pumpkin in a 3 month period, that by Christmas, I’ve burnt myself out completely until the next fall. I’ve made a lot of pumpkin muffin recipes: pumpkin chocolate chip, pumpkin streusel, vegan pumpkin, pumpkin pie muffins, etc. I have to say I’m a big fan of the pumpkin streusel, because that sweet crumb topping can make pretty much anything taste better. But then an hour later, I’m on crash from the sugar and I regret eating them. These muffins have a streusel-inspired topping that gives the impression of the streusel topping without the flour and loads of butter and sugar. Also, replacing much of the oil with applesauce lightens up this recipe even more! Recipe can be doubled if you have a bigger crowd.

Healthy maple pumpkin spice muffins with crunchy Oat ToppingHealthy maple pumpkin spice muffins with crunchy Oat Topping

Maple Pumpkin Spice Muffins with Crunchy Oat Topping

Servings: 4

Healthy maple pumpkin spice muffins with crunchy Oat ToppingHealthy maple pumpkin spice muffins with crunchy Oat Topping


For the muffins:

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (I used Agave maple syrup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup All purpose flour (or another 1/2 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

For the topping:

  • 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil or butter
  • if using coconut oil, add dash of salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a Muffin tin and set aside.
  • Mix together pumpkin and applesauce. Add melted coconut oil and combine. Whisk in maple syrup, egg, vanilla, and milk.
  • Add in flours, baking soda, salt, and spices. Mix to combine, but do not over-mix.
  • Use a cupcake scoop to divide the batter evenly between eight muffin cups.
  • Combine melted butter or coconut oil, salt (if using), brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon. Sprinkle on top of unbaked cupcakes.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until muffin springs back to touch. Wait 4-5 minutes until slightly cooled to remove from pan.
  • maple pumpkin spice muffins with crunchy oat topping

Pumpkin Spice Cake Cookies

I have to admit, I did not make these cookies taste exactly like pumpkin spice bread on purpose. It was a happy accident. I was experimenting with ingredients and meant to make a more dense, sugar cookie-like pumpkin cookie. Instead, I ended up with a super fluffy, cake-like pumpkin cookie – still delicious – but not what I intended to do. I brought them to work and thought that maybe I had in fact, hit a stroke of genius. Who wants to bring a big cake or loaf of bread to work, and have to cut it, and then find a small plate, napkin, and fork for your co-workers to eat it with? Not me! Why not just serve something equally delicious in cookie form. So that is what I have for you today. You can thank me later.

Pumpkin Spice Cake Cookies

Servings: 18


  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup Morena sugar (or granulated sugar)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silicone baking bat and set aside.
  • In a standing mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Add canned pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and mix to incorporate.
  • Add flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.
  • Using a cookie scoop, scoop onto prepared pan.
  • Optional: sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Coat a fork with sugar and press perpendicular patterns on top
  • Bake for around 10 minutes or until just browning around the edges.

pumpkin spice cake cookies

Pumpkin Cookie Butter

Guys. I did something dangerous today. I made a whole batch of this pumpkin cookie butter, and I have to admit, most of it didn’t make it to the fridge. I have a weakness for cookie butter. It just has the perfect mixture of tastes and textures. You can’t go wrong. Every time we have gone home this summer, I had to get the cookie butter ice cream from Braums. (It’s so tasty, you should check it out before it’s gone!) I had a crazy idea today. What if you could make a pumpkin version? I did, and it lives up to everything you would expect. With only THREE INGREDIENTS this recipe is super easy and delicious!


Pumpkin Cookie Butter

Servings: 6-8 (or 1 if you’re me..)


  • 18-20 gingersnap cookies or enough to make roughly 1 cup of cookie crumbs (I found pumpkin ginger snaps at the fresh market.)
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted but slightly cooled (or coconut oil + pinch salt)


  • Add cookies to a food processor and process until you have mostly fine crumbs. Pulse for a few seconds at a time until you have a coarse meal. It’s okay if there are still a few small cookie chunks as this adds more a cookie-like texture. You can also use a tightly sealed bag and a meat tenderizer or rolling pin.
  • Mix together pumpkin and butter. Add cookie crumbs and mix. Enjoy!

pumpkin cookie butter.jpg

Pumpkin Pie Baked Donuts

Is it too early for pumpkin desserts? Today I opened up the first can of pumpkin this season. I wasn’t sure at first if I was quite ready for pumpkin season yet, but after a bite of one of these delicious donuts, I had no regrets. I have tried so many donut recipes that promise light and fluffy baked donuts but a lot of them ended up super dense and more like a hockey puck than a real donut. I found pumpkin recipes to be the worst ones because the pumpkin is so dense that the donuts would never be light and airy enough. I’ve found a solution to that problem with these donuts!

Pumpkin pie spice baked donuts cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Baked Donuts

Servings: 6-8 donuts


  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1 egg, separated
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Additional 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk of choice
  • cinnamom sugar for topping, if desired


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a donut pan and set aside.
  • Combine apple cider vinegar and milk and set aside.
  • Combine canned pumpkin and melted coconut oil. Add egg yolk, vanilla extract, and brown sugar and stir combine. Add milk mixture and stir to combine.
  • Add flour, salt, baking powder, and pumpkin pie spice and combine.
  • Beat egg white in a separate bowl until soft peaks are formed. Fold into pumpkin mixture, taking care not to overmix.
  • Transfer to donut pan and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  • Once cooled, mix together powdered sugar and additional cinnamon. Add milk, one teaspoon at a time until you form a glaze. Drizzle over donuts and add cinnamon sugar if desired.


pumpkin pie baked donuts pumpkin spice fall cinnamon.jpg