Whole Grain Pumpkin Twists with Maple Glaze & Welcome to the Well-Cooked Life

Nov 2, 2011

Whole Grain Pumpkin Twists with Maple Glaze & Welcome to the Well-Cooked Life

Those who know me (either personally or through my books or blog) know that I love fall. Autumn colors make me look like I have food poisoning, but the foods of fall – apples, pumpkins, seeds, kale – are perfect for cooking and even better for cooking with kids.
Usually, I show food, but I’m opening my kitchen to show you the youngest in action, making his version of pumpkin donuts. Are these really donuts? If your vision is a vat of hot oil and that odd sickening aftertaste, then no, these won’t qualify. But if my picky pumpkin-fearing pediatrician husband likes them, chances are you, a normal person, will too.
Here is William, aged 4, opening the can of organic pumpkin. I show you this not only because Will’s enormous man-hands qualify him for most giant 4-year-old, but because yes, I use food from a can. Do I prefer fresh pumpkin? Yes. Did I use all of it up last week during Soup Week? Yes.
So canned it is.
Also, I show you Will working the can opener because it took patience. Not his. Mine. When kids cook – really cook – not just dump in what you’ve carefully measured – they have a different clock. Speed is not the goal. Will’s desire to open this can by himself showed in every limb – his steady legs, his firm arms, his strong (man)hands. And he did it. Did the opening take almost five full minutes? Yes. But after the initial puncture, I didn’t help him once.
Now, if you look in my shop you might sense a theme – items that have lived, that continue to do so in your home. While each object has its own story, perfection isn’t part of the story. Perfection is the killer of cooking with kids. Kids make messes and don’t even know they are making messes. Or they make messes and have a blast doing so.

Messes, like childhood, are temporary.

So Will does the measuring for real.
Now, those sleuths out there also notice another imperfection. Yes, yes, my table is handmade and crafted from discarded wood and made locally and by independent craftsmen.
And yes, my baking soda expired at the end of June. As noted, it is fall.
We are alive! It’s true that baking soda loses some of its power. However, we still have some left to use up so I threw caution to the fall wind and ignored the expiration date. The fact that the olive oil is from my dad’s olive trees and the maple syrup is from our friend’s farm in Vermont must cancel that out, right?
So let me say this again – welcome to the Well-Cooked Life.
And let me say this again – messes, like childhood, are temporary. May we learn to live with one so we may love fully the other. While it lasts.

Whole Grain Pumpkin Twists with Maple Glaze

1 cup pumpkin puree

2 eggs

1/3 cup applesauce

1 tbsp olive oil

1 cup wheat flour

1 cup spelt flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

dash nutmeg

2 tsps cinnamon

dash ginger

1/2 cup brown sugar

Maple Glaze

1/2 cup confectionary sugar

2 1/2 tbsp maple syrup

splash milk to loosen it up

Oven to 350F. If you have donut tins, great. Spray them. I do not and instead lined a large baking sheet with parchment. Mix wet ingredients. Add everything else and stir well until smooth. Pipe into your donut pan or do as I did and use a pastry bag or Ziploc (scoop half of the batter into a bag and cut one corner and squeeze) to form donuts.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until cooked through and just starting to brown on top. Let rest on pan for 5 minutes and then finish cooling on rack. Pipe and cook the rest of the donuts while you make glaze (stir everything together until smooth). When all donuts are cool, drizzle glaze on with fork or dip each donut in.


  1. Rachel
    November 2, 2011

    Sounds great! Is the spelt flour necessary or can I replace with regular or wheat?
    Thanks…love your new website!

    • Well Cooked Life
      November 3, 2011

      Hi Rachel – Yes, you can substitute with either all purpose or a whole grain of your choice. Thanks!

  2. Celia
    November 10, 2011

    Congrats on the new website, Emily! Pumpkin twists look wonderful, clever Will! You know what they say, where there’s a Will, there’s a way.. 🙂

    I used to subscribe to your old blog – is there any way I can do that again here? I don’t want to miss any posts.. 🙂

    Thanks, Celia

    • EmonWeb
      November 10, 2011

      Hi, Celia! Yes – we’re installing a program so you’ll be able to subscribe and get automatic emails when I have new posts (which will be frequent once I figure out how to work my own website)!

  3. Cara
    November 16, 2011

    Hi Emily, your recipes look amazing! What a beautiful new website layout.

    I took a writing workshop of yours a number of years ago in Boston and am definitely a fan of your books. Looking forward to following your new blog.


    • EmilyFranklin
      November 16, 2011

      Thanks, Cara! I hope your writing is going well, too. I appreciate the support!

  4. Meg
    January 4, 2012

    Having been had by 4 kids, I loved your commentary even more than the recipe! ! A suggestion for fun with little ones next year is Rum or Bourbon Balls. I know, but the amount of alcohol is small. They are “no bake” cookies, which I love, and the kids love to roll the balls around in powdered sugar very carefully, before putting the cookie in a tin!

    • EmilyFranklin
      January 4, 2012

      Thanks for the suggestion! When we tried to make truffles a while back and we had more in mouths and on hands than on the plate…