It cannot truly be Halloween and Autumn without pumpkin. The season change seems to come earlier and earlier each year timed by Starbucks’ release of the Pumpkin Spice Latte, or what is called the PSL in today’s short-hand lingo. I am not immune to the famed pumpkin flavoring and have decided to take on some seasonal favorites.
An interesting quick history of how pumpkin spice began comes from The Overhead Compartment.
Few people today realize that pumpkin spice, though historically traded as a discrete commodity, is actually a composite of several different spices. Chief among these is the titular pumpkin, an obscure and rare spice grown on the coastal region of northern Mongolia and transported into the Arab world through the Balkans along what later became known as the Great Pumpkin Route. Given its extremely sour, unpalatable flavor when consumed alone, Persian merchants adopted the practice of diluting the rich, flaky pumpkin with another key spice: cinnamon. — Claudio Rivera
Over time, more spices went into the mix and finally, pumpkin spice was born. It’s really quite easy to create your own pumpkin spice mixture. Here is my staple that I keep in my cupboard all year round.
Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground ginger
Mix completely and store like you would your other spices.
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The first thing I made with this famous spice was some fudge. From my previous post making fudge the quick or the cooked way, I have been trying to perfect the process. The fudge recipe that I found did have me cooking over the stove, but the taste was impeccable. The texture was a little soft, so I have revised the recipe slightly below. It tastes exactly like pumpkin pie.
Pumpkin Spice Fudge
adapted from Blissful Basil
makes 12 large pieces, 42 small pieces
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp softened butter
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
2 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp powdered sugar
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped Peanut M&Ms
1) In a small saucepan, add all of the ingredients, except the 1 tbsp of butter. Whisk quickly and continuously for 5 minutes.
2) Line and grease an 8×8 Pyrex pan with aluminum foil and the 1 tbsp of butter. Dust the butter with powdered sugar so the fudge doesn’t stick to the foil.
3) Mix in optional mixes (ie: Peanut M&Ms, regular M&Ms, chocolate chips, etc) and pour the mixture in the pan and drop on the counter to get rid of any bubbles.
4) Put in the freezer for one hour or until hard. Cut into any size pieces you want and enjoy!
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One of my fondest memories of being a child is my mom’s Pumpkin Pound Cake. The smell filled the home and made it so cozy even though October in Texas was usually still in the mid-80s. I remember when I was in college in my first apartment, I wanted to recapture that smell. So, I bought the ingredients and bee-lined it home to make my favorite Fall treat.
As I mixed everything together, I realized something was wrong. I reviewed the recipe and called my mom for help. In her original notes, she didn’t notate the size can of pumpkin. I had bought the 28oz can instead of the 14oz one. Now faced with more pumpkin in my pumpkin pound cake than the rest, I raced back to the store and quickly finished doubling the recipe.
I had pumpkin muffins, cakes, pound cakes, and any other shape of Pyrex I had on hand. So, a note to you, this pound cake freezes beautifully.
Mom’s Famous Pumpkin Pound Cake
makes 32 muffins or 2 pound cakes
3 1/2 cups of flour (use gluten-free flour as a 1 to 1 in this case)
3 cups of granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 tsp pumpkin spice mix
14oz can of pumpkin puree
1 cup sour cream
1 cup water
1) Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 degrees Celsius). In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Whisk in between each inclusion to make sure it’s well mixed.
2) In a separate bowl, combine all of the wet ingredients. Combine thoroughly. Then slowly combine both mixtures until well incorporated.
3) Line and grease your choice of pan. If in a pound cake pan, bake for 45-50 minutes. If using a bundt pan, bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. If you’re making muffins, bake for 30 minutes. Always check with a toothpick before pulling out of the oven.
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What are your Autumn childhood memories? What is your favorite pumpkin spiced delicacy?