Well I survived the Polar Vortex of January 2019! Temps got as low as -28 where I’m at with wind chills as low as -47! I can’t really describe what that kind of cold felt like other than it made walking into a walk-in freezer feel like a sauna. Needless to say, it is difficult to stay warm with temps like these and my body is working extra hard to stay warm. With my body working so hard burning more calories, I find myself standing at the pantry or refrigerator trying to find something to snack on more frequently when it is cold out.
I noticed while looking in my pantry last week that I don’t have many snack items that are warm snacks without baking cookies or making hot chocolate. This got me looking up warm snack foods for winter and most of the food items that popped up were soups, oatmeal, and beverages. Sure, these snacks would warm me up, which is part of the goal, but the soups and oatmeal sounded more like a meal to me than a snack and the beverages did not seem like something that would fill me up. Then I came across pumpkin butter toast! This sounded like just what I was looking for. Something small enough to be considered a snack, and something warm and cozy to help my body feel the warm and fuzzies.
So, my search then continued to see what all is involved with making pumpkin butter so I could create my own recipe for this warm, delicious treat. I found that most recipes called for a can of pumpkin puree with a whole cup of sugar! I then began searching for lower sugar pumpkin butter recipes and those lead to using ½ cup maple syrup instead of sugar…which I guess in some people’s minds this is low sugar. It’s trading 200 grams of sugar for 100 grams of sugar.
This still seemed like a lot of sugar to me, so I began trialing different amounts of sweetener in my recipe to find out what the least amount of sugar I could use would be and still get that sweet taste. Some things to keep in mind, sweetness is enhanced when foods are warm and with the addition of spices such as those used in pumpkin spice seasoning. This means that you should be able to get away with less sweetener in pumpkin butter because I intend to eat is warm and add pumpkin pie spices to it. I found, for me, the perfect amount of sweetener was ~3 Tbs of maple syrup. This provides about 40 grams of sugar! That is a fraction of what some of these other recipes were calling for! And this is for the whole recipe so each Tbs of this pumpkin butter would have about 2 grams of sugar vs 10 grams per Tbs!
If you see a recipe that seems like it could use less of a specific ingredient, don’t be afraid to experiment! Recipes are really just guidelines. I grew up in a home where my mom never followed the recipe, she just used it as a starting point. More times than not her version was way better than the original could have possibly been!
With that in mind, here is my recipe for Pumpkin Butter! I hope you enjoy and use this recipe as a guide to making something you enjoy!
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 Tbs maple syrup
½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp cloves
Add all of the ingredients into a pot. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook for about a minute once at a boil. Serve and enjoy!
*NOTE: This is a food item best stored in mason jars if you plan on eating it throughout the week. You can also freeze in ice cube trays for single servings to defrost and eat later.