Pumpkin Poppers: The Perfect Treat to Pair with a Pumpkin Beer

It’s almost that time of year again. I know, it’s only August and I usually don’t start itching for that sweet, cinnamon-y pumpkin taste until September. August in New York City usually feels like a trash-scented blanket of moist air is coating the streets and clinging to your clothes. And that feeling usually calls for shandies, summer ales and gelato. But this August has been breezy – chilly even – and has thrown me into fall a bit early. So whether you are ready for the season change or you will tuck this recipe away until next month, here is a quick and easy fall treat that is perfect for any occasion. 

I found this recipe while scrolling through a 30 Pumpkin Recipes for Fall post on Pinterest, but the source is domestically-speaking.com. The best part about it is that I had all of the ingredients in my baking cabinet and avoided a trip to the store. I bet you have them too:

Popper:

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoons ground cloves
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 cup low-fat milk

Cinnamon Sugar Coating:
1 stick of unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

According to the recipe I found, these are supposed to be baked in a mini muffin pan, but I used a regular one and they turned out just fine. For those of you with finicky ovens like myself, I found that baking these treats at 350 degrees for 12 minutes (the amount of time that would have been perfect for a mini muffin tray full of these little balls of heaven) was just right for me. Make sure you don’t leave them in for too long or else they might crack! Although, that just leaves more areas for the cinnamon sugar mixture to settle into. No complaints here.

First, preheat your oven to 350 (unless your oven is like mine and burns things when you attempt that).

Next, take out your muffin or mini muffin pan and coat each cup with baking spray.

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You’re going to need two mixing bowls: one for your wet ingredients and one for the dry. The second bowl can be the bowl that is part of a Kitchen Aid mixer. Combine all of the dry ingredients in one bowl and the wet in the second mixing bowl. Once both are individually combined, pour your dry ingredients into the wet while mixing.

Don’t overmix! The batter should be doughy and not have any apparent clumps of sugar or spices. 

Fill your muffin tin cups about 3/4 of the way full and pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes.

Now that this step is done, reward yourself with a Pumpkin beer. Just make sure you save some to pair with the poppers. I chose Fire Island Beer Co’s Pumpkin Barrel Ale, but my all time fall favorite is Southern Tier’s Pumpking. The Pumpkin Barrel Ale has a solid pumpkin taste with understated cinnamon and spice notes. This makes it a great compliment to the very sweet poppers. 

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Now that your poppers are in the oven and your beer is nearby, it’s time to make the cinnamon sugar coating.

To do this, melt the butter in one bowl and combine the cinnamon and sugar in another small bowl. I added a dash of pumpkin spice and nutmeg to this mixture to spice it up a bit.

When your poppers are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about five minutes before rolling them lightly in the butter and then heavily in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Domestically Speaking suggests just dipping the tops in the mixture if you want a less sweet variation, but I am going to tell you how to make it even sweeter!

These poppers are perfect on their own and with a pumpkin beer, but I had some leftover buttercream icing from a batch of cupcakes I made last week and tried this combination. The result? Heaven. Think: pumpkin-flavored, cinnamon-sugar-coated doughnut hole, frosted with vanilla icing. Is your mouth watering yet? 

To gauge how tasty these poppers are, I can tell you that four of them were gone within an hour of them coming out of the oven. 

I would serve these as a breakfast treat with a pumpkin pie protein smoothie, a weekend snack matched nicely with a pumpkin brew or a dessert with a Pumpkin Khalua cocktail (try 2 oz vodka, 1.5 oz khalua and cream or milk – topped with nutmeg in a cinnamon-rimmed glass – for an autumn twist on a White Russian. 

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I hope you enjoy these!

What are your favorite pumpkin-flavored treats? Comment below or tweet them at me: @asanders88! I might just bake your suggestions.

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