We meant to buy pumpkins for carving and seed-roasting. We did. But like little costumed tricksters, Halloween snuck up on us. Instead we had jack-o-lantern pancakes.

He’s not only a master craftsman but also a pancake savant, and made up this recipe on the fly. These pie pancakes more than made up for the lack of pumpkin guts and flickering faces on our patio.

Happy Halloween!

Orange Pumpkin Pah Pancakes [serves 2]

Printable recipe

1 c all-purpose flour

1 1/2 T brown sugar

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t pumpkin pie spice

a pinch of salt

3/4 c pumpkin puree

1/4 t hazelnut extract (or vanilla)

1/2 to 3/4 c milk, depending on desired thickness of batter (we used 2%)

1/4 t dried or 1/2 t fresh orange zest

a small handful chopped, toasted almonds, or other toasted nuts (optional; my choice)

a small handful chocolate chips (optional; his choice)

Place a large skillet or griddle over medium-low heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, hazelnut (or vanilla) extract, desired amount of milk and orange zest. Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir until just combined.

Spray hot skillet or griddle with nonstick cooking spray. Scoop batter on by 1/3 cup-fuls and, if desired, top with chopped almonds and/or chocolate chips. Cook until bottom is golden and set, about three minutes. Flip pancakes and cook 1 minute, or until second side is cooked and golden. (The pancakes will be quite puffy, giving the inside a moist, pumpkin pie texture.) Remove cooked pancakes to a plate, cover with foil and place in a warm oven while remaining batter is cooked.

Serve hot, with butter and pure maple syrup, if desired.

A squirrel bread original