Let's be honest. We get jipped here in Florida when it comes to fall. Cooler temps, the crunch of leaves under our shoes, a crisp fresh fall scent in the air, and hot apple cider warming frigid fingers on cool evenings are all things I long for thanks to my North Eastern upbringing. Alas, poor Floridians can sit by the pool sipping an iced Pumpkin Spice Latte in November, just happy that the thermostat hasn't hit 90.
Living in America's sauna can be tough, so of course we have to soak up any bit of fall we can, which means all things pumpkin are not considered basic, but instead a necessity. A mental health necessity so we don't feel completely excluded from the favorite season enjoyed by the rest of the country.
When you need a fall mental health day, we can do better than a PSL from Starbucks. There are many locally owned places we can go once we dust off our UGG boots and enter full pumpkin mode.
These doughnuts are serious. Don't believe me, pick one up and feel their weight in your palm. This pumpkin cheesecake doughnut was no exception. It's a yeast doughnut filled with pumpkin cream cheese rolled in a cinnamon fall spice sugar. I may have eaten all the pumpkin candies off my doughnuts before diving into my carb coma. Totally worth the sugar remnants I didn't realize were on my face throughout the day.
The toast game at Farm Haus's location at the East End Market is legit. I lived off a piece of their avocado toast the other week for pretty much the entire day, so it was money well spent. Their maple roasted pumpkin toast is just as hearty and delectable. Made with local Seminole pumpkins, roasted and then accompanied with lemon ricotta, chopped sage, and spiced pepitas (pumpkin seeds) this toast could easily be a breakfast dish or a mid-day treat.
Bluebird always give us options this time of year so it can be hard to choose which pumpkin treat to devour. Of course I tried several on my last trip there. Their selection included pumpkin scones, cupcakes, and bunt cake, each one better than the last.
It's hard for me to pass up my favorites at P is for Pie, that is until it's pumpkin season. Then I stare long and hard at the bakery case calculating what the limit is for how many baked goods one person can order before its embarrassing. Options include caramel maple pumpkin hand pies, maple pumpkin pie pops, and pictured below pumpkin cheesecake cutie pies.
I can barely keep track of all the pumpkin offerings over at Market on South. Thankfully Valhalla Bakery's instagram is always keeping me updated on doughnut flavors. If you aren't able to swing by in the morning and grab a pumpkin doughnut do not despair! Pumpkin cinnamon rolls, Yolos,cupcakes and a decadent pumpkin truffle have all been spotted in the bakery case. Chances are you'll find a great pumpkin sweet regardless of what time you go.
This is not, I repeat NOT, a pumpkin spice latte...not that there is anything wrong with that. Axum Coffee has my favorite pumpkin drink of the season; a pumpkin chai latte. It's creamy and smells like heaven, and since it's Chai and not coffee it's a little kinder to your over worked digestive system this time of year.
Buttermilk Bakery makes me weak in the knees with their ever changing tea cake menu. On a day where I had sworn no carbs would touch my lips, of course they had to have a pumpkin tea cake. I couldn't even be mad at them for teasing me. Of course I threw money at them and ran away in pumpkin shame. I mean look at that glaze!
Born and Bread owner, Jennifer, bakes through the night on Friday to bring Lakelanders a startling bounty of handmade pastries that are some of the best I've had. Her pumpkin cruffin is a personal favorite and well worth the hour long drive to get my hands on one. Layers and layers of dough with a gooey pumpkin center. If I had to give up all other sweet baked goods for just one, this would have my unwavering devotion. No wandering eyes just pure love.
On those days it seems silly to bundle up and indulge in a warm seasonal treat since it's still in the 80's, there is a cooler option that packs just as much pumpkin. Over at the Pop Parlour they have a rich and creamy pumpkin cheeseake popsicle that is the perfect fall compromise for Florida living.
Do yourself a favor and call some of these local spots, especially the bakeries before you make the trip as many items rotate or sell out.
All pictures taken by me and food eaten by me. Support your local businesses.