woodenspoons

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Nothing says autumn like the smell of pumpkin pie and pumpkin-pie spice! Why not make a batch of it now and keep it on hand for the yummy recipes you’ll be making for then next few months? Making your own is easy and allows you to add a little more or a little less of the spices you like or don’t like as much.

Here is the mixture I use…although I double it and keep it in it’s own little jar in my spice cabinet….

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Pumpkin Pie Spice

4 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp ginger

1 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

Mix these all together and keep in an airtight jar.

What do I love about this? I always have it on hand. I use it on the bottom of the coffee filter before adding coffee. I put it in a strainer in cider. I sprinkle a bit into the carved pumpkin before the lighting the candle. You can even put it in little hidden jars around the house…it just smells soooo dang good!

What don’t I love about this? Well, I tweeked it so I’d love it…so nothing! If you are not fond of ginger, omit it. If you LOVE nutmeg, add a bit more. That is the beauty of homemade!

Pumpkin Spice Granola

Trust me….this is sooooo much better than store-bought granola. I double the recipe and store in large mason jars. It can be eaten as cereal or on top of yogurt or even ice cream. (or, of course, by the handful 🙂 )

Feel free to vary the ingredients to your liking…You may want to try dried apricots, dates, dried cranberries, or currents. Perhaps you don’t want to add the almonds…or prefer pecans…I say go for it!

Pumpkin-Spice Granola

A delicious, low-fat Granola which you can tweek to your own likes!

A delicious, low-fat Granola which you can tweek to your own likes!

8 cups old fashioned oats (not quick oats)

1 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup dried cherries

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (we prefer dark)

1/2 cup water

1 tsp salt (I used sea salt, but this is totally a preference thing)

1 tsp maple extract

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (store bought or homemade)

In a large bowl, combine the oats, raisins, cherries and nuts. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, combine the brown sugar, water and salt. Cook and stir over medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in maple and vanilla extracts, and the pumpkin pie spice . Pour over the oat mixture and mix well…be sure it is all coated.

Transfer granola to two greased or parchment lined and greased cookie sheets or baking pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden and crisp, stirring every 10 minutes.  Cool completely on wire racks.

Store in an airtight container.

What do I love about this? It has no added fat and just tastes sooo good. I love how you can make it the same each time or you can switch it up!

What don’t I love about this? Well, honestly, the first time I made this, I forgot to grease the pan and didn’t use parchment…it was ….difficult…to remove from the sheet. Lesson learned and now it is all good! 🙂

I love this on top of Greek Yogurt!

I love this on top of Greek Yogurt!

NEXT UP: Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice!

Chocolate Cake with Seven Minute Icing

A deliciously moist cake that is not too dense.

A deliciously moist cake that is not too dense.

Here is another cake I made without the coconut! Just added star sprinkles!

Here is another cake I made without the coconut! Just added star sprinkles!

MOM’S CHOCOLATE CAKE

(with a few changes so I can call it my own)

2 c. flour
2c. sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 c. milk
1 c. extra strong, hot coffee
2 tsp. espresso powder
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c veg oil
1/2 cup cocoa (good quality)
I recipe of 7 Minute Icing (recipe follows)
Chocolate shavings or sprinkles (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. This is a great recipe for a 13×9 inch pan. If you are using round pans, you may want to use 3 or perhaps use 2 and make a few cupcakes…It makes a lot of cake 🙂 If youre using smaller pans, you will want to check the cake much earlier to see if it is set and if it is finished cooking.

Mix all together in one big bowl. Blend until there are no lumps, scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl at least one time. Scrape batter out of bowl and into the pan.  Bake on the middle rack for about 30 minutes. I always set my timer for 25 minutes and check it with a toothpick to see how close it is to being done. When the toothpick comes out clean, it is done! Let cake cool on a rack until it is room temperatue. Ice your cake with 7 Minute Icing or with your own favorite icing. ( please dont buy it…homemade is soooo much better). Garnish with chocolate shavings or sprinkles.

Seven Minute Icing
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
6 TBS cold warer
1 1/2 Tbs light corn syrup
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla extract (or extract of your liking)

Bring two inches of water to a boil in a saucepan.Combine all ingredients, except the extract, in a large bowl which will fit on top of the saucepan. Beat with a handheld mixer on high speed until the egg whites are thick, and shiny…about 5 minutes. When it has quadrupled in size, add the vanilla and continue to beat 2 minutes. Use immediately.

I toasted some coconut and threw it on top of the cake with the chocolate shavings.

What do I love about this recipe? It is sooooo easy, has little cleanup, and makes a delicious chocolate cake that is not too dense.
What don’t I love about this recipe? Well, it disappears so quickly…esp when Grandma is here, as she serves it to my kids for breakfast when visiting!!!

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