The Pumpkin Shortage Will Not Stop Me From Making Fireball Pumpkin-Flavored Desserts

Nicole pumpkin brownies

So I promise this won’t become “the cost of everything Nicole makes in her brand-new kitchen”—I mean, not unless you want that from me because I could totally make that a thing—but the other day I made a test batch of Pumpkin Fireball Brownies, mostly to see if adding Fireball whisky to the pumpkin brownie recipe would ruin it.

(It did not. You can’t really taste the Fireball, although there is a hint of cinnamon if you pay very close attention. This means I should add more for my next batch, right?)

I used the famous two-ingredient pumpkin brownie recipe, which meant I bought two boxes of Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownie Mix for $3.98 and a 29-oz can of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin for $3.29.

Total cost of one batch of Pumpkin Fireball Brownies? $3.64, plus whatever a quarter-cup of Fireball whisky is going for these days.

I also have approximately 14.5 ounces of Libby’s Pure Pumpkin sitting in a Pyrex container in my refrigerator, which was apparently a smart move. I grabbed one of the last cans of pumpkin on the shelf at my local Safeway, and the next time I go back, there might not be any at all.

As the Chicago Tribune explains:

Large canned-pumpkin manufacturer Libby says yields could be off by as much as a third this year in Illinois, where about 90 percent of the pumpkins grown in the U.S. come from within a 90-mile radius of Peoria.

Libby’s corporate and brand affairs director Roz O’Hearn said the company, which has had a central Illinois pumpkin-processing plant since 1929, is confident it will have enough pumpkin for autumn holidays.

But, she said, “once we ship the remainder of the 2015 harvest, we’ll have no more Libby’s pumpkin to sell until harvest 2016.”

Or, as The Cut put it:

A major pumpkin shortage could decimate your plans to Instagram several seasonal baked goods, so you better start stocking up now.

I remember having this problem last year, when I tried to make homemade Fireball Pumpkin Pie in my toaster oven. (My autumnal baking has a theme, okay?) There was no canned pumpkin to be found, which meant that I had to make a recipe I invented called “pouring a shot of Fireball over a pre-made slice of pumpkin pie from the supermarket bakery and then eating it.”

So I have enough pureed Pure Pumpkin to make one more batch of Pumpkin Fireball Brownies (now with more Fireball!). After that? Who knows what the shelves will hold.

But I have a backup plan for the rest of my whisky-and-pumpkin-flavored baking ideas. To quote Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (one of my very favorite cookbooks):

I could see the shopping lists now:

1 can pumpkin (for curry soup)

1 of those big orangey things (for doorstop)

I have a kitchen. I have a cutting board. I have an all-purpose chef’s knife. And although the can o’ pumpkin shelves may be empty, the jack o’ lantern stations are overflowing.

So my holiday baking plans are still on. I’ll process my own pumpkin if I have to. I will enjoy it, I will find a way to pour Fireball whisky into it, and I will tell you exactly how much it cost. I’ll also clean off the pumpkin seeds and bake them and put them in my $17 muesli.

And then I will chop a face into my pumpkin, and that face will smile.


This story is part of DIY Month.



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