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Each week, Jennifer Chandler shares recipes, menu ideas, and tips on eating local – anything food-related is on the menu!Tuesdays7:49 a.m.8:49 a.m.4:48 p.m.6:48 p.m.

Nothing says Fall like pumpkin flavored everything!

Sweet LaLa’s Bakery

Sweet LaLa’s Bakery in Memphis, TN has some of my favorite pumpkin spice treats.

Their pumpkin cream cheese muffin and pumpkin cream latte are my go-to order this time of year. One bite and I know it’s Fall!

I asked Elizabeth Garland, Sweet LaLa’s lead cake designer, to share some tips on cooking with pumpkin spice.

The first thing to know is that pumpkin is so versatile and can be used in so many ways.

Sweet LaLa’s loves to use pumpkin in the usual suspects - pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin muffins.

But Elizabeth also uses pumpkin and pumpkin spice in everything from a cream cheese-based Sweet Pumpkin Pecan Dip to a Pumpkin Pineapple cocktail. (Recipes for both are online at wknofm.org.)

Elizabeth says that using canned pumpkin as a short cut is not only ok, but preferred. “The texture and moisture content of canned pumpkin is what most recipes call for,” she said, adding that its also so much easier than cooking fresh pumpkins.

If you don’t have a jar of pumpkin spice, Elizabeth says that most people probably have all the ingredients on hand to make their own – cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. She warns to go easy on the cloves, they can be overpowering.

And don’t be afraid to be generous when using pumpkin pie spice. “Pumpkin puree is mild and that’s why its paired with stronger spices,” she said. “The spices bring out that delicious pumpkin flavor people love.”

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

For more information about Sweet LaLa’s Bakery, visit www.sweetlalas.com.

Pumpkin Pineapple Cocktail

Serves 1 or 2.

  • 8 oz. pineapple juice
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin purée (canned is fine)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 3 oz. dark rum (or your favorite liquor)

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and pour into a sugared glass.

Tip: For the rim of glass, mix granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice (to taste). Dip the rim of your glass in pineapple juice, then dip in your sugar mixture.

Sweet Pumpkin Pecan Dip

Serves 4 to 6.

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée (canned is good)
  • ½ to 1 cup brown sugar (to your own taste)
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Toasted (or spiced) pecans, for the topping

In a bowl, stir together the cream cheese, pumpkin, brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Top with pecans.

Serve with sliced apples and graham crackers.

Both recipes used with permission from Elizabeth Garland of Sweet LaLa’s Bakery in Memphis, TN.

Jennifer Chandler graduated at the top of her class from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. She is a full-time mom to two daughters in Memphis, Tennessee, and is a freelance food writer, restaurant consultant, and author of four cookbooks The Southern Pantry Cookbook, Simply Salads, Simply Suppers, and Simply Grilling.