Pumpkin spice equals quintessential fall, producing warm and cozy feelings when the temperatures drop. It’s all the rage. If you don’t believe us, head over to your local store, where you’ll see everything from pumpkin spice cookies and savory chips to pumpkin spice candles and lotions.
The truth is, we’re on board with pumpkin spice-ifying things. But, what does it entail? The spice mixture is generally five household ingredients — cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, and cloves (some brands leave out cloves, but we enjoy the aroma it gives off).
Pumpkin spice doesn’t, in fact, have any pumpkin in it. Instead, it’s the flavor we’ve come to associate with desserts such as pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread. Long before it became one of the nation’s most popular food fads, the spice mixture was coined “pumpkin pie spice” in cookbooks in the 1890s. Then, in the 1950s, companies commercialized it to save bakers time when using spices in pies and cakes. The “pie” was later dropped in favor of a broader “pumpkin spice” label.
The warm, fragrant notes of cinnamon and nutmeg mixed with the spicy bite of ginger and aromatics from allspice and cloves remind us of our childhood days at a pumpkin patch on a crisp, cool autumn morning. Yes, nostalgia at its finest.
Sure, you can purchase a small jar of pumpkin spice mix from your favorite store, but it’s easy to make your own batch. This is especially handy if you’re like us and use it for anything we can get our hands on in the fall.
Once you whip up a quick batch of the spice mix, one of our favorite fall desserts is a spin on the classic cheesecake — and, yes, there is actually pumpkin (canned) in the recipe. This deconstructed version removes the crust and adds both pumpkin and pumpkin spice to provide toasty warmth that contrasts with the cool, creamy cheesecake base. Best of all, we scoop it into crispy enJOY-a-Bowls™ to replace the graham cracker crust typically found in cheesecake.
Need more inspiration for the fall or your next party? Here are some of our favorite recipes: