A Trick for Treats

October 23, 2007 at 1:00 pm 19 comments

Pumpkin Pop-Ups in Dixie Cups

For all its charms, it’s a crying shame around Halloween that I live back away from the street in a little enclave that most people fail to notice.  I never get any trick o’ treaters.   Lil’ ol’ me, who has so many great ideas for unusual treats, doesn’t get a single bed sheet ghost or garbage bag pumpkin of which to speak.  These kids today just don’t know what they’re missing. 

Butterscotch Bits

But luckily I have a captive audience this year for my newest trick for Halloween treats.  D’s coworkers have a collective birthday bash this week, and he kindly asked that I make something yummy for him to take to the celebration.  Initially when I had conjured up this twist on serving cookies and cupcakes, I was thinking more along the lines of child consumers who would be lured in by the cute individual packaging that let them run off with it and use their gooey fingers to dig out the baked goodness for themselves.   But D suggested adults might not be so eager to deconstruct their desserts.  I went back to the drawing board and realized that once these “pop-ups” were removed from their cups, they made delightfully grown-up looking treats. 

Yummy pumpkin batter with butterscotch bits to be stirred in

If you have either a kids or adult bash coming up this week or next for All Hallows’ Eve, I’d suggest giving these a try.  I’m not sure where I got the idea of using little paper cups (not cupcake papers) – I guess I was staring at them in the store one evening and thought “Huh, I bet those would make for interesting baking vessels.  They’d be sturdier than cupcake liners and more upright.  I’ll buy a bunch and see what I can come up with sometime. I’d better not get the waxed kind though as that can’t be good in a hot oven.”  Yes, I really had this little conversation with myself, parts of it out loud even, while rooted in the middle of the paper products aisle of Acme.  Yes, I’m strange.  Anyway, since then I’ve been mulling over what type of recipe would work in my repurposing efforts for three ounce Dixie bathroom cups – cake, cookie, muffin, brownie, maybe even pie??  I settled on a cookie for this time around.  I wanted to send D off to his October birthday party with a seasonally appropriate treat, and the pumpkin cookie recipe I have is always a crowd pleaser.   Besides, using a pumpkin recipe also meant I could use up more of the puree from my pumpkin roll and post this fun idea to the blog.  A win-win situation if ever I saw one!

Filled cups ready for baking

I have to take a minute to give props for the brown sugar icing in this recipe.  I’d had the pumpkin cookie recipe for awhile when I was visiting at my friend Christine’s house one evening and she served a pumpkin cookie of her own with the most heavenly icing on top.  Of course, being the generous and dear friend she is, she shared the recipe with me. I ended up keeping my pumpkin cookie base but topped them with her brown sugar icing from there on out.  The icing is particularly useful for these pop-ups as it gives them an added dimension that says, “we’re funky and special; come eat us,” (I’ve got to stop having these conversations in my head!)  particularly when served on a plate with a drizzle of extra icing.  Add at least the first round of icing while the pop-ups are still in the cups; they’ll soak it soak up more as it makes its way down between the cookie and the cup.  My mouth’s watering just thinking about it. 

Brown Sugar Icing

Having tried my experiment with baking in Dixie cups, I’ll call it a rousing success and plan to use the remaining 180 in the box for other fun treats.  My only regret this time around?  That I didn’t make a double batch so I could keep some for myself.  Trick or treat, give ME something good to eat!!

Pumpkin Pop-Ups with Brown Sugar Icing

PS – I have a quick aside/rant I can’t resist adding.  I had a near disaster on my hands when I almost failed to notice that my newly bought baking SODA was in a very similar can as that of the baking POWDER.  Now, I could be some sort of delirious, under cultured freak, but hasn’t baking soda traditionally come in a box, saving us less observant bakers from constant confusion and mishaps?  I really must protest that the packaging is so similar for these two.  I’m half tempted to throw out this current can of soda and trek back to the store to by a box instead.   But I’m pretty darn sure that’s all they had, which annoys me.  

Confusion over baking powder and soda

Okay, I’m done with the rant.   Thank you for humoring me.  Enjoy the pop-ups and happy Halloween to you all!

Adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Baking

1.5 c. pumpkin puree
3/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. raw sugar
2 c. flour
1/2 c. butter or margarine
pinch of salt
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. freshly ground nutmeg
1 t. vanilla extract
1 c. butterscotch bits
20 no-wax 3 oz. paper cups

1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3 T. butter
1 T. milk
1 c. confectioners’ sugar
1 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Place paper cups out on a baking sheet and lightly spray with non-stick spray.  Leave a little space between each cup to ensure even baking.

Cream together butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Add the pumpkin and vanilla. Beat until well combined.  Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.   Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ones just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Using a large knife, roughly chop the butterscotch bits and add to the mixing bowl and add to batter.   Stir just until incorporated.

Fill each prepared cup a little bit more than half way with batter.  Use a small spatula or spoon to push batter down into the bottom of the cups.  Bake for 10 to 14 minutes until tops are slightly coloring and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.  Do not over bake as these pop-ups are meant to be very moist.  If some appear to be done before others, remove the ones that are ready and continue to bake the rest. 

To prepare icing, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat.  Stir as the mixture melts, being careful to get out any lumps.   You can prepare this icing ahead of time, but you’ll need to melt it again just before applying to the pop-ups.  On COOL pop-ups, drizzle a spoonful of icing over the top.  Allow icing to cool and set up.  Once icing is set, store in an airtight container.  

Serve in the paper cups or, if you prefer a fancier presentation, remove each pop-up from its cup by gently tearing the paper away from it.  Then plate pop-ups individually and serve with an extra drizzle of brown sugar icing.

(makes about 20 pop-ups)


Icing soaking into pop-ups

Entry filed under: Recipes, Sweet Treats. Tags: , , , , , .

Bittersweet Consuming the Details

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. taylor  |  October 23, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    Yes. Trade chili for pop-up, please!

    Oh, don’t throw the baking soda away – give it to me. I can’t believe I’ve never seen these at TJ’s. I hate the boxes. Because you can’t close them up, they collect moisture and odors (good for fridges, not for baking), I’ve been looking for something (small Tupperware) to put baking soda in, but I think I’ve found my answer – you. or TJ’s.

  • 2. KellyC  |  October 23, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    I have so many thoughts!! I’ve been lurking around your blog for a while and I LOVE it. First, the butternut squash recipe was so good, I almost ate half of it before my husband even knew it existed in a cooked form. He had cut the outside off because he’s MUCH better with precision knife cuts … but it if he hadn’t, it might have been gone before he got a taste. It was amazing. Even my brother who doesn’t eat any veggies LOVED it. Thank you, thank you!!

    Second: that you have baked in Dixie cups makes my heart swell. I love this and I can’t wait to try this cooking method. I’m entirely thrilled. My only issue is that I don’t like butterscotch chips very much. I used to. I don’t know when I abandoned them.

    Third: I wholly agree with the can/box issue. I’d mix them up all the time. I’m so absent minded when baking that I have to have all my ingredients lined up ahead of time. I get enthralled in smells, texture and, of course, premature sampling. But don’t toss it. Such a waste. Give it to this Taylor commentator.

    Don’t EVER stop the conversations in your head. They keep you amused and sharp, I think… *says the girl who also have conversations in her head.*

    Oh, I linked your blog on my recipe blog so I can share this lovely resource with my friends. I hope you don’t mind!!

    Love the blog, LOVE the recipes, keep it up!! … and sorry this was so lengthy!!

  • 3. Alanna  |  October 23, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Oh my goodness, these pop-ups look unbelievably tasty! I want to make them this weekend (maybe in huge paper cups so I get to eat more without feeling guilty, would that work?) Anyway, love the recipe!

  • 4. Jennie  |  October 24, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Oh my! So many great comments to respond to this morning! I see my pop-ups were a hit. 🙂

    Taylor – For you, my love, anything! Pop-ups, baking soda in a can, the sun, the moon, the stars…it’s all yours! 🙂 Seriously though, you can have the soda in a can if you want. I know what you’re saying about the box not being that great of a concept, but I really can’t get my brain to snap to attention enough to remember to look to make sure which form of levening agent I’m grabbing. If you’re coming to Headhouse this weekend, let me know and I’ll bring it. Otherwise, it’s yours on the 3rd.

  • 5. Jennie  |  October 24, 2007 at 7:14 am

    Kelly C – I love your comments!! A kindred spirit for sure! Before I forget, what’s your blog url? The link with your name isn’t working. I’d love to see what you’re cooking up too. And thank you so much for passing me along to your friends.

    So you liked the roasted butternut squash recipe? Wonderful! I always love hearing about those less passionate about veggies finding a new love in the veggie world…sounds like your husband and brother are converts. 🙂 Good call on letting your husband wield the knife for the peeling process. I was chopping up another one over the weekend and had a near miss with my thumb tip. Those buggers are really tough to peel sometimes!

    I’m tickled you’re so excited about the Dixie cups. They really are great for baking…who knew?! As for butterscotch bits, you can definitely leave them out. In fact, when I have made the cookies for myself, I never put in the bits. (I’m not a fan of butterscotch either.) Since I was making these for others this time, I figured I’d add them. The original recipe also calls for chopped nuts but I never put nuts in so I didn’t bother to even mention them. If you like nuts, use them instead of butterscotch. OR, try toffee bits if you like. I put those in once and they were great! But plain pumpkin works just fine if you’re a purist like myself. 🙂

    Thank you for supporting me in my outrage over canned baking soda. I’m with you on the getting caught up in the baking process…I know it goes against all “proven” baking instructions, but I rarely measure precisely for my baking (every Food Network show admonishes anyone using the “pinch and dash” system for baking) and tend to just whirl around the kitchen throwing ingredients together. Baking is a very intuitive (even emotive) experience for me so I really can’t have unexpected packaging tripping me up. Taylor will indeed be the recipient of the can. Knowing her, she’ll put it to good use.

    Glad I’m not the only one having conversations with myself all the time!

    Please don’t apologize for lengthy comments – I love them! 🙂

  • 6. Jennie  |  October 24, 2007 at 7:16 am

    Alanna – Hi there! You could definitely use bigger cups…just make sure they don’t have a wax lining. And lengthen the baking time as needed for the bigger cups. I actually would have liked to use a five ounce cup size but I couldn’t find any no-wax ones at my store that night I was contemplating this idea. 🙂

  • 7. marimann  |  October 24, 2007 at 9:07 am

    I’ve been lurking here awhile too, but I’m going to throw in my two cents along with everyone else today! This is the best looking blog on cooking I’ve come across and your photographs always look so professional. And yummy! How lovely to have all these fresh and wonderful foods to experiment with- we grow what we can but are limited. Anyhow, keep up the great work and if I were a kid, I’d be knocking at your door demanding one of these treats!

  • 8. Jennie  |  October 24, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Marimann – You’re so generous with the compliments, you’re welcome to come knocking on my door anytime for treats! 🙂 I am very lucky to have such an abundant and constant source of fresh produce to play around with in the kitchen. As for the photos, I’m learning more about food photography with each new post. It’s all great fun for me, and I’m so glad you enjoy it too! 🙂

  • […] would appeal to kids and adults alike? If so, I recommend you check out Jennie’s recipe for Pumpkin Pop-Ups with Brown Sugar Icing. One day she found herself in the paper goods aisle at a local grocery store and wondered if it […]

  • 10. KellyC  |  October 24, 2007 at 3:23 pm


    My personal blog is lifewithtedandkelly.blogspot.com and my recipe blog is very newborn and is kellyscuisine.blogspot.com … it will grow, eventually. I’m mostly just posting things that people have requested and things I love. No theme other than “Here are some recipes that I love.” … I guess that’s a pretty good theme. Keeps ME happy, at least! Ü

    I’m pretty much a carb ADDICT so a lot of my food world revolves around that point. My friend and I tried to start a recipe exchange weekday dinner… Where we trade off Wednesdays and make dinner for the 4 of us. It’s mostly turned into a super-busy-middle-of-the-week-throw-together … but that’s one of the sources I get most of my new recipes. I love to bake when I have time to and I do have time, I just don’t document well, like you do.

    Happy cooking. See you around here again, I’m sure!

  • 11. Jennie  |  October 25, 2007 at 6:23 am

    Kelly – Thanks for coming back to share your links! Cute sites. 🙂 If you’re anything like me, your “newborn” recipe blog will get highly addictive and grow exponentially as you get going with it. Straight from the Farm was meant to only have about one post a week and now I just can’t stop myself from posting almost daily. I need my fix! 🙂

    Good stuff! Yep, see ya around. 🙂

  • 12. booklore libra simplex  |  October 28, 2007 at 4:20 pm

    Carnival of the Recipes Tricks and Treats Edition

    Dear guests, please gather around, the tour is about to begin. You have all remembered to bring silverware, I hope? Excellent. It is, of course, your good silverware, passed down from your grandmother and polished free of tarnish, the real silver, not …

  • 13. Inside Out, But Oh So Right « Straight from the Farm  |  November 21, 2007 at 11:13 am

    […] gave you pumpkin pop-ups with brown sugar icing for Halloween.  Now I’m going to give you something even better for Thanksgiving — […]

  • 14. Michele  |  October 20, 2008 at 6:13 pm

    Jennie, these pumpkin popups look so yummy, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to wait until Halloween gets here to try them! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe with us! We are proud to have it featured in this week’s FoodieView Recipe Roundup.

  • 15. Jessie V  |  October 31, 2008 at 8:54 am

    yum! we’re making these today! it is weird, no eggs, eh? i can’t wait to make htem!

  • 16. ingrid  |  December 29, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Oh, geez that icing does looks droolicious! I’ll take that by the buckets.

    Happy 2009!

  • 17. sascha  |  December 16, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    i have no idea how i originally found this recipe but it continues to be one of our all-time favorites. my 9 yr old daughter requested them for her “birthday muffins” at school. thanks for sharing…

  • 18. Roseanna Waddell  |  December 17, 2016 at 10:38 pm

    I Personally think that before taking actions for kitchen remodeling you need to do a deep research on it so that you spend your money the right way. Visit my tumblr to purchase ideas.

  • 19. Debra Halley  |  July 12, 2021 at 6:30 pm

    I have a recipe from my mennonite mother 6 cups of cornflakes-one bag of butterscotch morsels and one cup peanut butter-melt chips and peanut butter over low heat until melted stirring frequently then gently fold in 3 cups of cornflakes until they are covered-now add the other 3 cups of cornflakes and repeat until they are all coated-pour on to waxed paper covered cookie sheet and refridgerate until firm-yum!!! and easy peasy!!!


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