Crockpot Pumpkin Butter

love, love, love Little Debbie Pumpkin Delights. In the course of normal living, prepared snack items never show up at our house, laden as they are with high fructose corn syrup, unpronounceable preservatives and other nasties. But Pumpkin Delights are a childhood weakness of mine. I’m sure you’ve seen then before, in the limited weeks every fall when they’re available in stores –

They are so good. But really, I never feel so hot after eating them. They’re all junk. I’ve been brainstorming for a good long while how to reverse engineer these things. And I think I finally figured it out. It needs to be a pumpkin butter filling encased in a soft, spiced cookie. I’ll have another article up shortly detailing the specifics of building a batch of home made Pumpkin Delights (don’t worry, I won’t leave you hanging!), but first things first – the pumpkin butter filling.

It seems that most places in suburbia do not sell pumpkin butter. Apparently I’ve been highly spoiled living in a food mecca like Chicago (ahem). No matter, pumpkin butter is easy to make on your own. I have two criteria for making fruit butters. Number one, it’s got to be a thick, buttery consistency – no glorified jams, please. And number two is no stove top cooking. No matter how diligently I stand at the stove and stir, the stuff always burns into a mess on the bottom of the pan. Not my idea of fun, especially with a baby (okay, he’s practically a toddler now) underfoot.

Crockpot pumpkin butter seems to be the answer, and the recipe for Slow Cooker Pumpkin Butter at Baked Bree seemed like it would work. One thing I like about Bree’s recipe is the fact that it starts with canned pumpkin, but allows for fresh. The method simply entails putting a couple of cans of pumpkin puree, some apple juice, lemon juice, maple syrup and spices in a crockpot for 5-6 hours on low heat.

Of course, I made a few modifications. I reduced the maple syrup by a 1/4 cup, doubled the spices and added cloves to the nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger that she calls for. And because I’m a stickler for a thick, luscious consistency in my apple butter I propped the lid of the crockpot half open during the last hour of cooking so some of the liquid could evaporate.

Here’s what my pumpkin butter looked like when it first went in –

When it’s cool, I’ll portion half of it for the freezer so I can make Pumpkin Delights again, and use the other half for a fresh batch of them. And don’t worry – you won’t have to wait long to see how they turn out – I can’t wait to give the recipe I came up with a try!