Decadent Pumpkin Butter & My Problem with Vegetarians

Decadent Pumpkin Butter with tons of sugar-perfect for making brown butter pumpkin shortbread.

I try to get along with everybody.

I have no problems with those who attach ‘-arian’ to their preferred foods. I know that there are all kinds: pescatarians, meatatarians, flexitarians(you might have to google this one), etc..

A few of my friends are vegetarian and they bother me a bit. It’s not because they don’t eat meat. I mean…people should eat whatever the hell they wanna eat, right? If you tell me you’re a vegetarian, I understand you. Everything’s clear. What you’re saying is “I don’t eat things with a face”. I get it. Then my so called ‘vegetarian’ friends turn around, shove fried fish in their mouths and wonder why I have that wtf? look on my face. Um,  it’s because I’m thinking…wtf?

While sitting in class one day, I asked the girl behind me why this was so. You see, she also refers to herself as a vegetarian but eats fish. She also eats chicken enchiladas, but that’s a whole other issue altogether…and yes, I gave her my wtf? face.

This fish-eating girl refers to herself as a vegetarian because most people don’t know the meaning of the word ‘pescatarian’.

 pescatarian (noun): one whose diet includes fish, but no other meat

As per Merriam Webster, just in case you didn’t know.

Instead of trying to explain their dietary choices to people, pescatarians exclaim, “I’m a vegetarian.” and bypass the whole here’s-a-list-of-the-things-I-don’t-eat scene. I see. People are dumb ignorant and they don’t want to waste your time or theirs. Gotcha. So I guess my problem really isn’t with the pescatarians, but the idiots to whom they’re constantly explaining themselves. Oops, my bad. Well, at least I already knew the name for people who eat fish, but not meat. Can I have my trophy now, please?

Well, here’s a little something that both vegetarians and pescatarians can enjoy, unless they’re allergic to pumpkin or something: decadent pumpkin butter. It’s Fall and people are crazy about pumpkin butter. I must admit, I am one of those people. Decadent pumpkin butter is loaded with brown sugar. Also, it’s a staple in my house during this time of year. Why? Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk cookies, plain and simple.

Decadent Pumpkin Butter with tons of sugar-perfect for making brown butter pumpkin shortbread.

There are tons of recipes out there for healthy pumpkin butter. There’s even some you can make in you’re Crockpot; but I’m going in the opposite direction for this one. I learned to make my pumpkin butter on the stove. It’s a bit labor-intensive, but it produces the results that I desire.

You see, canned pumpkin puree is perfect for bread and muffins because of its water content, but not so much for cookies. In order to produce a crunchy pumpkin cookie with a chewy interior, you must reduce the water content of your puree. Trust. It’s easy to comprehend…unlike a vegetarian who eats chicken enchiladas. I’ll never understand that.


Decadent Pumpkin Butter Recipe

Decadent Pumpkin Butter
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Makes ~2¼ cups Pumpkin Butter || Note: This recipe can easily be halved.
  • 1 large can pumpkin puree, 29 ounces
  • 2 c brown sugar
  1. Mix pumpkin puree and brown sugar in a large pan set to medium high heat.
  2. Set your timer for 45 minutes.
  3. In the beginning stir every few minutes.
  4. At about halfway through, turn heat to medium low and stir more frequently.
  5. The pumpkin butter is ready when it has turned a deep orange-brown color and been reduced by about 40%.
  6. Let cool and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.


Decadent Pumpkin Butter Photo Notes

by David

Mondo had little faith in my ability to bring out the beauty of this decadent pumpkin butter, but I was up to the challenge.  This stuff wasn’t going to win any beauty pageants, but with the right props and a little studio lighting, I had confidence I could get the job done.


Like the nerdy high school girl in the movies who takes off her glasses and suddenly becomes the hot chic, pumpkin butter transforms into something special when hit with the right light.  The key to this lighting is understanding that pumpkin butter is a reflective object with texture.  As such, you’re not really photographing the object, but instead, the reflections on the object.  To make these pretty reflections, I decided to go with a big light.


I love the look of a big light, but big light can be expensive.  If I had the dough, I would have had a team of grips set up a giant silk and blast a few cinema lights through it, but unfortunately, that wasn’t an option.  Instead, I went with a  monolight pointed into a wall 45 degrees behind the subject.  Once I had this going, I filled out the set with a 60″ Softlighter for on-axis fill and a white bounce card to reduce contrast.  With this setup, the pumpkin butter became three dimensional with bright specularity on the edges and soft fill light in the crevices.

Wrap Up

The final element came into play with Mondo’s choice of  color.  She threw down a natural wood block and made the most out of a 99 cent orange bowl we found at an estate sale.  It was the perfect choice that tied everything together.  With the color, props, and lighting nailed, I was able to get the final exposure in less than 10 shots.

Set Shot


Tech Notes

Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: Tamron 17-50mm 2.8
Strobes: White Lightning x1600
Tripod: Manfrotto
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 50mm
Shutter: 125
Aperture: f/11

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  1. 1


    I weird people out now big time. I order a gluten free, dairy free, soy free, nut free concoction with meat. So I say Vegan gluten free, and just throw them for a loop when I add bacon or chicken. I need my meat right now. Sorry, not sorry.

    That pumpkin butter looks goooood!

    • 2

      I love it! I’m sure people are like ‘what?’ when you order, but it is what it is. It’s called dollar votes. You should get what you want if you’re putting money on table. For real. Thanks for reading.

  2. 3

    Cheers for Mondo with or without her WTF look coming to the rescue with her pumpkin butter for her Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies…to die for. David must have by this time incredible will power or weighs 300 lbs.

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    • 14

      Hey Nia! Of course you can freeze pumpkin butter. Here are some tips:

      1. Freeze for 2 to 3 months
      2. Air is the enemy; make sure to cover the top of the pumpkin butter if the container isn’t filled
      3. Once you defrost it do not refreeze
      4. Try to freeze in small amounts or specific amounts you may need for recipes.

      Thanks for reading and Happy Baking!

  6. 15

    Hi, I’ve never heard of pumpkin butter before, but it sounds (and looks) delicious! Is there anything else you can use it for, besides making cookies? I think the term “butter” is throwing me off 😉 Thanks!

    • 16

      Hey Kathryn. Pumpkin butter typically contains no actual butter. It has many uses. Some people as a spread for muffins or bread, etc. My version contains a lot of sugar, hence the “decadent” in the title. Google or search for it on Pinterest and you will find many versions. Happy Baking!

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