I drove by a quick lube store a few days ago and noticed their marquee had a special offer advertised, “Pumpkin Spice Oil Changes.” It even encouraged us to get them before they were gone. It made me realize how much of a craze we’ve made all things that include pumpkin and spice.

Perhaps it’s because the smell of pumpkin pies baking in grandma’s oven reminds us of when we were young and life was less hectic. Something about the taste of those still warm from the oven pies is relived through lattes, trail mixes, fruit dips and more each autumn. 

Pumpkin Spice Crumb Bars

Pumpkin Spice Crumb Bars

Photo by Angie Sutton.


For the crust:

1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted

1/2 c. light brown sugar 

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour 

1/2 tsp. baking soda 

1/2 tsp. baking powder 

1/4 tsp. salt 

1 tsp. ground cinnamon 

1/4 tsp. ground cloves 

For the filling:

1 c. sour cream 

1/2 c. canned pure pumpkin

3/4 c. granulated sugar 

2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour 

1 large egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract 


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Prepare an 8- by 8-inch square baking pan by lightly coating the bottom and sides with non-stick cooking spray. Line with parchment paper. Set aside.

2. Make the crust. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add brown sugar, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ground cloves and whisk until combined. Add melted butter and mix until a dough forms. Reserve 3/4 cup of this mixture to use as topping. Use the remaining dough to press onto the bottom of the prepared pan. Set aside.

3. Make the filling. In a large mixing bowl of a stand mixer and mix all filling ingredients until combined. Pour this mixture over the crust.

4. Evenly sprinkle the reserved crust over the top of the filling. Bake 28 to 30 minutes or until the topping is golden brown. Cool completely in pan. Cut into squares.

Apron Strings Note: Cover and refrigerate this dessert about 3 days.

Pumpkin Bisque

Pumpkin Bisque

Photo by Angie Sutton.

Seven ingredients make this autumn-inspired soup quick and easy. It’s almost like having dessert first.


1 medium onion, finely shredded

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 (29-oz.) can pure pumpkin

4 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper


1. Heat olive oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add finely shredded onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Onions will be translucent when cooked.

2. Stir in pumpkin, chicken broth, cream, pumpkin pie spice and salt until combined. Continue to cook and stir for about 3 minutes more. Remove from heat and serve.

Apron String Notes: Ladle into serving bowls, swirl a little more cream on top and sprinkle with bacon bits to make it irresistible. I like to leave my onions in larger pieces and remove them before serving. If you like garlic you can add one clove, minced, in step one. I often add an extra dash or two of cinnamon and ground nutmeg to enhance the flavor.

Fluffy Pumpkin Dip

I like to serve this dip with apples and graham crackers. You can be creative and hollow out a smaller-sized pumpkin to nestle a serving bowl in.


1 (16-oz.) tub whipped topping

3 (3.4-oz) boxes instant vanilla pudding mix

1 (15-oz.) can pure pumpkin

½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice


1. Fold together all ingredients until combined. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight for the best results. 

Pumpkin Dutch Baby Pancake

Pumpkin Dutch Baby Pancake

Photo by Angie Sutton.

Serve with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon with a dollop of whipped topping and side of fresh fruit for breakfast.


4 large eggs

1/2 c. milk

1/4 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. canned pure pumpkin

2 tbsp. granulated sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. pumpkin spice

1/2 stick (4 tbsp.) unsalted butter, divided

1/4 tsp. kosher salt


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet on the middle rack to preheat.

2. In a blender, add eggs, milk, flour, pumpkin purée, sugar, vanilla, pumpkin spice, and salt. Blend until smooth and frothy. 

3. Remove the skillet from the oven and add 1 tablespoon butter, swirling to cover entire bottom as it melts. Pour the batter in immediately and return skillet to the oven. Bake until the pancake is puffy and golden brown, 23 to 25 minutes. Serve immediately.

Apron Strings Notes: The pancake will fall quickly so serve immediately. 

Simply Good Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Photo by Angie Sutton.

I made this for an office party on a cold, rainy day and kept it warm in the slow cooker. With no coffee, the kids thought this was delicious. Top with whipped topping.


1 c. canned pure pumpkin

4 c. milk 

1/4 c. granulated sugar 

1 tsp. ground cinnamon 

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract 


1. Whisk together pumpkin, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Continue to whisk until mixture heats through and simmers. Do not boil.

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