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 / Updated  / Source: TODAY
By Emi Boscamp

What ever happened to the pumpkin? You know, that bulbous, bright-orange member of the squash family that used to be emblematic of fall? It's gone missing.

Now, autumn is considered pumpkin spice season, boasting a plethora of pumpkin spice products that typically have little to no real pumpkin in them whatsoever.

It's gotten to the point where plain ol' pumpkin recipes feel like a rarity, a novelty. A pumpkin's fate is usually being carved into a jack-o'-lantern rather than baked into bread or puréed into a bisque. And that's a real shame.

Since National Pumpkin Day is Friday, Oct. 26, here are 17 pumpkin recipes that highlight the earthy, rich sweetness of the gourd — including many from the TODAY Food Club Community.

Could there really be anything more decadent than a cross between pumpkin pie and French toast? "A rich base of eggy and buttery challah is key when it comes to making this comforting baked dessert," cookbook author Grace Parisi told TODAY Food.

Pumpkin (Calabaza en Tacha) Cheesecake

The shards of pumpkin-brown sugar brittle take this already-tasty pumpkin cheesecake to a whole other level. It's all in the details, right?

Homemade Pumpkin Pie

Rich, creamy, classic. There's no beating pumpkin pie. It's a Thanksgiving Day staple that the editors at TODAY Food think should be enjoyed all season long.

Pumpkin Potato Hanukkah Latkes

Pumpkin Potato Hanukkah Latkes

Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN

Give typical potato pancakes a subtly sweet spin. The addition of the pumpkin and cinnamon make these Hanukkah latkes particularly kid-friendly.

 Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN

Banish dry muffins forever. Using mashed bananas and pumpkin puree makes these healthy-ish treats extra moist. They also add a dose of potassium and vitamin A.

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

Pumpkin Cinnamon Buns

Gesine Bullock-Prado

Wait, cinnamon buns weren't already perfect? No, actually, they needed pumpkin. Now they're perfect.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jan D'Atri / TODAY Food

It's a crispy, chewy, classic crowd-pleaser with a seasonal twist. TODAY Food Club member Jan D'Atri finishes her cookies with a quick glaze that's a mixture of powdered sugar and water.

Brown Butter Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Caroline V. / Yolo-Sole / TODAY Food Club

This perfectly pumpkin-y pile has hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. All it needs is a generous drizzle of some real maple syrup.

Pumpkin and Candied Bacon Sticky Buns

FOODBEAST / TODAY Food

Bacon makes everything better. So does pumpkin. So it's easy to imagine what happens when the two of them join forces.

Pumpkin Pie Microwave Souffle

Chrissa / Physical Kitchness / TODAY Food Club

Making a souffle sounds complicated, but it's surprisingly easy to make one by using a microwave. This may be the fanciest-yet-simplest breakfast ever.

Vegan Sweet Potato Black Bean Pumpkin Chili

Ashley / Fit Mitten Kitchen / TODAY Food Club

This hearty autumnal meal comes together with pantry staples in just four hours in the slow cooker. It's perfect for an easy weekday meal and for weekend tailgating.

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Lise Ode / Moms Loves Baking / TODAY Food Club

The warm, cozy spices in these bars are brightened up with a thick slick of cream cheese frosting. It only takes 5 minutes to mix up the batter too!

Roasted Spiced Pumpkin and Potatoes with Chimichurri Sauce

Happy Healthy Latina / TODAY Food Club

As this dish demonstrates, pumpkin's flavor is strong enough to stand up to the powerful force that is chimichurri. More savory pumpkin recipes like this, please!

Pumpkin Bisque Bliss

Annette Zito / KitchAnnette / TODAY Food Club

This is creamy pumpkin soup is autumnal coziness in liquid form. You're going to want to dive right in.

Spiced Pumpkin Rice Pudding (Kiribath)

Shashi Charles / Runnin Srilankan / TODAY Food Club

Kiribath is a traditional Sri Lankan rice pudding dish that's way better than any packaged version of the dessert. We thought rice pudding couldn't get any more comforting — then it got the pumpkin treatment.

Gooey Pumpkin Bread

Leanngrunwald1 / WHAT'S COOKING?... WITH MAMA G / TODAY Food

TODAY Food Club member Leann Jordan has a special trick to give her pumpkin bread its special texture. After removing it from the pan, she wraps it in plastic and lets it rest overnight. The steam turns the loaf into a sticky, gooey and moist bread. Pair a thick slice with a cup of coffee for a delicious breakfast.

Pumpkin Ice Cream

Kellie Hemmerly / The Suburban Soapbox / TODAY Food

It's not unusual to feel conflicted about missing summer but also looking forward to fall. Here's the solution. It's the perfect bridge between seasons.