Pumpkin Cheddar Rolls

Pumpkin Cheddar Rolls

It was 1986 and I was in college.  I started a job across town and didn’t have transportation so Gordon Kelly let me borrow his motor scooter for a couple of months until I could buy a car.  That was my favorite mode of transportation EVER.  I wore a leather James Dean jacket, black helmet, and even though I probably looked silly, I felt AWESOME.  That scooter couldn’t go faster than 35 mph but to me it was glorious.

Gordon and his wife Sadie are two of the most generous people that I have ever known. They are quiet, kind people who graciously give, never expecting anything in return.  I don’t think that I appreciated it nearly enough back then, but I haven’t forgotten how they took me in and blessed my life when I was away from home and family.

I will never forget the time Sadie handed me a HUGE rectangular block of cheddar cheese.  This thing was probably at least three pounds of orange gold.  Being single, it was an intimidating amount of cheese to consume.  I had cheddar on eggs for breakfast, grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch, and cheddar on pretty much anything for dinner.  I don’t understand the physics of it, but I think that I gained ten pounds on the scale from consuming three pounds of cheese.

I still love cheddar…

Pumpkin Cheddar Rolls

Pumpkin Cheddar Rolls


  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
  • 1 cup whole milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix
  • 2 large eggs, divided
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar, shredded
  • Sliced pecan pieces, for the “stems”


In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, stir the yeast, milk, sugar, butter, pumpkin, one egg, cheddar, and salt until well combined. Gradually add the flour and knead on medium-low speed until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn off the mixer and let the dough rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to knead the dough on medium-low speed for another 5 minutes, or until the dough is soft and smooth. If it seems too sticky, add more flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Transfer the dough to a large greased bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into 15 equal pieces and shape into balls. Use the palm of your hand to flatten each ball slightly. With a small knife, cut 8 slices around each ball, being careful not to slice all the way into the center, to make the pumpkin shape. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.


Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Using the wooden end of a small utensil or your finger to poke an indentation in the center of each roll to create a space for the “stem.” In a small bowl beat the remaining egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush all over the rolls. Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Place a sliced pecan piece into the indentation of each roll.

Adapted from a recipe by Handle the Heat

Three Cheese Pumpkin Cheesecake

A slice of cheesecake

I recently adapted this recipe that was originally published in Country Living.  I love trying new recipes and I was especially excited to try this one.  I made it, then sprang it on some unsuspecting family members and store customers.  That’s a perk, by the way, of hanging out at the Cheese Shop.  Customers and employees are occasionally enlisted to try out new recipes.  They get free samples and I get constructive input.  Definitely a win-win situation!

Three Cheese Pumpkin Cheesecake

I specifically chose a couple of people to try this cheesecake because one of the main ingredients is chèvre.  I chose people who said that they didn’t like goat cheese as well as some who love it.  I must say, the response was completely different than I expected.  I didn’t tell them what types of cheese were in it but asked them to guess.  Everyone LOVED it, but nobody, even the goat cheese lovers, could tell what the three types of cheese were in the recipe.  When I told them the three cheese combination they all responded similarly: “Goat cheese!  That’s what I’m tasting!”

The combination of cheeses gives the cheesecake a luscious flavor and texture.  The creamy texture of the cream cheese combines with the light tang of the Quark for a melt in your mouth experience, then you get a rich finish from the goat cheese.  Quality ingredients are important.  If you are nearby, I recommend heading down to Gothberg Farms for the chèvre.  The quality and flavor are much better than any goat cheese I have had from a grocery store.  John and I used the trip as an excuse for a ride down beautiful Chuckanut Drive on John’s new motorcycle.  I love my job!

Three Cheese Pumpkin Cheesecake

Three Cheese Pumpkin Cheesecake


  • 1 c. granola (no large nuts or raisins)
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/3 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter


  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
  • 8 oz Quark, room temperature
  • 8 oz. chevre, room temperature
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the granola, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, and spices together in a medium bowl. Stir in the butter and pat the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl and using an electric mixer on low, beat together cream cheese and sugar. Add in quark and beat for 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients and salt; beat until mixture is very smooth, about 5 more minutes.
  3. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake on a rack positioned in middle of oven until just set, about 1 hour.  Turn off the oven and leave the cheesecake in the oven for 1 hour with the door cracked open. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, 4 to 5 hours or up to 3 days. Serve with whipped cream.

Adapted from Country Living

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

Being married to the cheesemaker means that I never know when John will be home for dinner.  Sometimes he gets home first, sometimes he doesn’t come in until late.  When the kids were young, we tried to eat together but by the time they were in high school, we gave up trying.  With all of their activities and John’s crazy schedule, dinner became buffet style with eating in shifts.  The slow cooker was and is a life saver.  I love coming home from work to the smell of dinner bubbling softly in the slow cooker.

Pumpkin Chili

Chili is one of my favorite recipes for the slow cooker, the longer it simmers, the better it gets.  Grate some Cumin Gouda over the chili and it’s a total winner!  Cumin Gouda was one of the first Gouda flavors that Jack Appel made for friends and family at Christmas.  Komijnekaas is a traditional cheese very popular in the Netherlands that is flavored with Cumin seeds.  The pungent, peppery flavor of cumin is popular also in Mexican dishes.  Although Cumin Gouda is not in this recipe, it is a quintessential topping ingredient.

Pumpkin Chili

Pumpkin Chili

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 9 ounces ground pork sausage
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 orange bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 15.5 ounce can kidney beans
  • 1 29 ounce can pumpkin puree
  • 1 28 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute onions in 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot until translucent.  Add the garlic and bell peppers, saute for about 5 minutes.  Remove from the pot and set aside.
  2. In the same pot, brown the beef and pork sausage in 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  3. Once the meat is browned, add back the onions and peppers, then add the diced tomatoes, pumpkin, chicken broth, beans and spices.
  4. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Serve with Cumin Gouda, sliced green onions and sour cream.

Adapted from The Autumn Chili recipe from Taste of Home