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As soon as October arrives, it seems to me as if we’re in a race to get to January, because everything starts speeding along. First there’s several birthdays, and then it’s one holiday after another. Not to mention we lose daylight, so the days seem shorter. But don’t get me wrong, this is my favorite time of year. However, the thing I enjoy most is the taste of fall.
TASTE OF FALL
Well, what does that mean, you might ask. To me the taste of fall is pumpkin, allspice, ginger and cinnamon. And the smells and flavors can bring back memories of childhood holidays. Maybe individually. Or perhaps a blend of them. After all, some of my favorite recipes contain these very ingredients. So I want to share them with you.
This is not my own recipe, and I’ve had it for 10+ years. Although I can’t tell you whose recipe it was originally, because I got it out of a library book and failed to get that relevant info. However, this is great to make and eat when warm, right out of the oven. And rather than raisins, you could substitute chocolate chips, if you’d prefer.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Muffins:
- 2 c flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/3 c sugar
- 3/4 c raisins
- 1/2 tbsp each of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 1/4 c can of pumpkin
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1/2 c water
The recipe doesn’t call for it, but I also added ~ 1/4 c of shredded coconut.
Instructions for Pumpkin Muffins:
- Preheat oven to 375; and then line and grease 2 muffin pans with cupcake liners and non-stick cooking spray.
- Combine the first 9 ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the center of the mixture.
- Next, beat the eggs and remaining 3 ingredients together.
- Then add the egg mixture into the dry ingredients, stirring until moistened.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling 2/3 full.
- And bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
- Finally, remove from the pans immediately.
You can either eat the muffins as is, with nothing on them. However, I usually melt some butter and dip the tops of the muffins into the melted butter and then in some sugar. Another option is to make a glaze, using some milk and powdered sugar until you have the desired consistency, drizzling the glaze onto the muffins.
Pumpkin Sandwich Cake
This is another one of my all-time favorite taste of fall recipes, and consequently I make it almost every Thanksgiving. And just like the recipe above, I’ve had it over 10+ years, however I have no idea where it came from. Possibly a magazine. Furthermore, this is a rich dessert, with the ganache frosting and cheesecake type filling. Though it isn’t very sweet, just rich.
Ingredients for Pumpkin Sandwich Cake:
- 3/4 c flour
- 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 c granulated sugar
- 3/4 c canned pumpkin
- 1 c whipping cream, divided
- 1/2 c powdered sugar
- 4 oz of cream cheese
- 1 c semisweet chocolate chips
Instructions for Pumpkin Sandwich Cake:
- Preheat oven to 375 and spray 2 round standard cake pans with non-stick cooking spray.
- Then line the bottoms of the pans with wax paper and lightly flour them.
- In a bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt; and then set aside.
- In a second bowl, beat the eggs and granulated sugar until thick, ~5 mins.
- Next, beat in pumpkin, and add the flour mixture, and beat until combined.
- Then spread the batter into the pans, and bake 16-18 mins. (They will be thin, and this is normal.)
- Cool ~ 10 mins.
- Filling: in a chilled mixing bowl, beat 1/2 c whipping cream till soft peaks form; set aside.
- And in another bowl, beat cream cheese till smooth. Then beat in the powdered sugar, and fold in the whipped cream.
- Next, turn out one cake onto a platter, and spread the cream cheese filling on top of that layer.
- Then turn out the second layer on top of the cream cheese layer. The cakes will sort of resemble large pancakes.
Now it’s time for the ganache frosting.
- In a small saucepan bring the remaining whipping cream just to boiling over medium-hi heat. Then remove from heat, and pour over the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. DO NOT STIR. Just let it stand for 5 minutes.
- After 5 mins, stir until it’s smooth, and then cool for 15 minutes. If the frosting is too thin, chill for 30 minutes; if it’s too thick, add some milk.
- And finally, spread over the tops and sides of the cake and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice. Chill 1 hour before serving and store in the refrigerator.
I started making pumpkin cheesecakes, alternately for Thanksgiving and Christmas, in the late 1990s when I first had a slice at a cafe outside of Nordstrom’s in the Galleria Mall in Dallas. It was divine, a combination of one of my favorite flavors and that distinct taste of fall. Also, I’ve gotten different recipes out of magazines and cookbooks, but I never made the same recipe twice until a couple of years ago. It was a Southern Living recipe, was pretty easy to make, and it tasted wonderful.
My fourth taste of fall has the right blend of ginger, molasses, and sugar. Plus, it can be served for breakfast or as a dessert to complement a meal. And it reminds me of gingerbread cookies, which I love, because they’re not too sweet.
The recipe comes from Betty Crocker’s Best Christmas cookbook, 1st edition, published in 1999. Also, the recipe is originally intended as muffins, however I make it into a loaf. See below for instructions on how to cook as muffins. Moreover, if you choose to do that, you can melt butter, dip the tops of the muffins into the butter and then into sugar. Or make a glaze and drizzle over the muffins.
Ingredients for Gingerbread Loaf:
- 1/4 c packed brown sugar
- 1/2 c molasses
- 1/3 c each of milk and vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 2 c all purpose flour
- 1 tsp each of baking powder and ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp each of salt, baking soda, and cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
Instructions for Gingerbread Loaf:
- Heat oven to 350, and grease 1 standard loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Beat brown sugar, molasses, milk, oil, and egg in a large bowl, using a spoon. Then stir in the remaining ingredients just until the flour is moistened.
- Next, pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake 45-55 mins or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Then cool for ~ 10 minutes before turning out. And you can serve warm if you want.
**If you make muffins, raise the oven temperature to 400 and only cook the muffins for 18-20 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean.
This is my final best-liked, taste of fall recipe, and it too includes ginger and cinnamon. But I started making this a couple of years ago when I subscribed to receive Taste of Home magazines. It’s their Vanilla-Glazed Gingerbread Scones recipe from their October/November 2019 issue. And, even though I haven’t had it long, I still have made this particular recipe several times.
Ingredients for Gingerbread Scones:
- 2 c all purpose flour
- 1/4 c packed light brown sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp cold butter
- 3/4 c heavy whipping cream
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1/4 c molasses
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 c confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 c heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- dash of salt
- 1/4 c of minced crystallized ginger
Instructions for Gingerbread Scones:
- Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, whisk the first 6 ingredients. Then cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. In another bowl, whisk cream, egg, molasses, and syrup until blended; stir into crumb mixture just until moistened.
- Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and bake until golden brown, 12-15 mins.
- Glaze: In a small bowl, combine confectioners’ sugar, cream, vanilla and salt; stir until smooth. Then drizzle over scones and sprinkle with ginger. Serve warm.
What is your taste of fall? Are there recipes that you make over every year, because they remind you of the season? Or because your family just loves them so much? I’d love to hear about them.
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