I know we’re starting to get to the part of the year where everyone is saying “Pumpkin’s out! Bring on the peppermint!” However, I couldn’t resist just one more fall recipe before Thanksgiving. I kind of view Thanksgiving as that time where you transition from fall to winter. It’s like the last Hurrah for pumpkin spice lattes, caramel apple cider, and other truly fall-ish treats before they disappear and it’s all peppermint mochas and salted caramel brownies until spring.
So, think of these truffles as, like, Custer’s Last Stand, but in Pumpkin form. It’s Pumpkin’s Last Stand, and it promises to please and leave you with nothing but good pumpkin memories to get you through the sea of Winter Wonderland.
You’ll need everything pictured above, and water. I didn’t include water because I’m really hoping y’all have some on hand and I don’t have to tell you to buy it.
I’ve shared with you about this Duncan Hines mix before, but I have to share again, because, hello, it’s really awesome. See, when I went to New Jersey this year to the Duncan Hines Test Kitchen, I got the opportunity to reconnect with a lot of really great people, like Chef Joe. And while we were chatting, a lot of us were throwing some ideas out there that we’d love to see. It was dinner, and we were brainstorming. And this was one idea that I shared with Chef Joe. I told him I’d love to see a Pumpkin Spice Decadent mix come from Duncan Hines, similar to their Red Velvet Decadent Mix, the Strawberry Cheesecake mix, and the amazing chocolate Decadent Mix they’ve created. Because, y’know, I’m a huge pumpkin fan.
Chef Joe kind of looked at me like “Yeah, okay. I don’t know. Seasonal products can be hard sometimes because there’s not a ton of time that seasonal products are in stores.” My hopes were a little dashed, I suppose. Then my awesome friend Jeannie suggested that Duncan Hines do seasonal products on a shipper, which is a type of cardboard display, to make sure they have more prominence in stores. It was a great idea, but again, Chef Joe was kind of “Eh, I don’t know.”
So then, the next day, we were all getting pumped up. They were about to do a big reveal of the NEW products coming from Duncan Hines! It is always such an exciting part of our trip, to see the new products that Duncan Hines is releasing. They pulled back the curtain, and… OHMYGOSH! It was a Decadent Mix… but not just any decadent mix. It was THIS decadent mix. Pumpkin! I was dying. Then, they revealed the next seasonal product and, in the words of my dear friend Jeannie, “Dontchaknow, it was on a shipper!”
Chef Joe said it was SO hard not to tell us the night before, but he just had to wait for the big reveal! It’s the key thing that tells me they really did listen to our thoughts and advice from the previous year. I definitely get how Chef Joe said it was hard to keep it a secret, though, because then *I* had to keep it a secret from all of you until it hit stores! Crazy! In fact, I still have a few secrets that my lips are sealed on.
Anyway, just like the other Duncan Hines Decadent Mixes, this cupcake mix comes with your cupcake mix (enough for twelve), frosting mix, and a pastry bag so you can fill and decorate cupcakes easily. You’ll want to set the frosting mix and pastry bag aside for now, and grab your cupcake mix.
Mix it up according to the ingredient instructions on the back of the box, but instead of putting it in a cupcake pan…
…put it in a greased 8″ round cake pan. I used my Wilton Ultragold for this one. Bake at 350 for about 28-30 minutes, then remove it from the oven and let it cool completely.
While that cools, you’ll want to mix the frosting pouch, but you’re going to just totally disregard the package directions for this one. Take 1 block of softened Philadelphia cream cheese (8 oz) and mix it with the frosting pouch using your mixer of choice until it’s well blended and creamy. Don’t add the water or butter listed on the back of the package. It’s totally not necessary, as the cream cheese is enough, and will give it that cheesecake taste.
Once your cake is cooled, shred it to bits. I can honestly tell you, making cake pops is the easiest way to save your sanity when you have a child experiencing the terrible twos. While he is throwing a temper tantrum in the background, you can just tune him out to shredding cake instead of pulling your hair out. It’s a great way to keep that bald spot you’re getting the size it is instead of letting it get bigger. (Zach really isn’t too deep into the terrible twos, luckily, but those teeth are killing us!)
From there, you’ll mix in large spoonfuls of the frosting, stirring and rolling until your shredded cake mixture is more like a thick dough that can be rolled into balls.
Roll them into balls about quarter-sized, and then chill them for at least half an hour.
There are two ways you can finish these, both involving Wilton Candy Melts. The first way to finish them is to grab the Vanilla melts (or white, or whatever your favorite vanilla-ish dipping melt is). The second way, which will really pack in the pumpkin flavor, is to use the Pumpkin Spice Candy Melts, pictured above.
They smell so good! Go ahead and melt those in the microwave or in a double boiler the way you would typically melt chocolates. For microwave, I’ve found that trying 1 minute, stirring, and then doing additional 30 second increments if needed is an easy way to melt without scorching.
It’ll look creamy. If you used vanilla instead, it’ll look just like this, but white instead of orange.
I decided to make some of each! Dip the ball into the melts, then tap off the excess and place them on waxed paper. While they’re wet, you can sprinkle on some cute fall sprinkles!
Or, you can tint leftover vanilla melts green using Wilton gel food coloring, and use the pastry bag that came with your Duncan Hines Decadent Mix to pipe little pumpkin vines and stems onto the orange balls.
So yummy. They’re like, melt-in-your-mouth yummy.
How do you feel about winter flavors starting before Thanksgiving? Would you prefer to wait until after for peppermint, or do you like to bring those flavors on early? Let me know in the comments below!