gingerbread

Do not underestimate this light and fluffy, spicy, gingery Gingerbread due to its simple appearance.
It looks plain and homey, you say. 
I say it needs nothing more than an accompanying cup of hot tea.
Notice the dark square within the larger square of the bread.  The top of the bread is crusty and chewy just removed from the oven.  After resting for a day, the top crust of the Gingerbread become soft and a bit sticky, yet equally as delicious as the chewy version.
Gingerbread Square
(adapted from here)
Ingredients:

  • 1 c butter
  • 1/2 c water
  • 3/4 c molasses (I had mild; use blackstrap if you want a stronger flavor)
  • 3/4 c honey
  • 1 c packed dark brown sugar
  • 3 c all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 t ground ginger
  • 2 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 t allspice
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 c whole milk
  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
Mixing:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Place parchment in 9x9x2″ baking pan, allowing overhang on sides for easy removal of baked Gingerbread
  3. Combine first 5 ingredients in pan. Place over low heat; stir until butter is melted; remove from heat to cool
  4. Sift flour, soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon,allspice and cloves into a bowl; sit aside
  5. When butter mixture cools to warm, add eggs one at a time beating after each addition.
  6. Add the milk to the butter/egg mixture
  7. Fold dry ingredients into wet and pour mixture into prepared pan. (This is a very liquid batter and fills the 9×9 pan almost to the top.
  8. Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, until the gingerbread tests done in the center (toothpick inserted in center comes out clean; bread springs back when touched)
  9. Allow to cool in pan 15 minutes then turn out of pan and cool on wire rack
  10. Store at room temperature for 4 days or refrigerated for a week (I wrapped tightly and froze most of the bread; it’s delicious removed from freezer and thawed; serve at room temperature)
  11. Add whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon to serve (or, as I did…serve the bread simply cut into squares)

honey corn muffins

Cornbread–
I’m from the South. Every day, Mama made cornbread (cornmeal mix, buttermilk, 1egg, drops of water). For years, I didn’t know cornbread other than Mama’s cornbread existed.  (I was devastated to find people adding sugar to cornbread!)

Those days are long past, and I seldom make cornbread (even though I DO have my cast iron skillet if needed.)  However,  taco soup needs cornbread for dippin’.

I’m glad I found the honey corn muffins in one of the Baked boys cookbooks, “Baked Explorations.”

These were made and consumed at My Friend A’s home; so, I only have an iPhone photo.

Notice the course, open texture of the muffins.  I used part medium grind cornmeal and part course grind cornmeal to make the honey corn muffins.  The muffins boast both texture and flavor.
Warm out of the oven, the honey corn muffins had a slight sweetness; yet, broken and dipped into the soup, they held their shape and soaked in all the flavorful juices.
Thanksgiving is just days away.  You need to make these to serve with your leftover turkey – turkey soup.
Honey Corn Muffins
(Adaped from Baked Explorations page 41)
Ingredients:
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 4 T butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 c medium grind cornmeal
  • 1/4 c course grind cornmeal
  • 3/4 c all purpose flour
  • 1 T baking powder
  • 1/4 c light brown sugar
  • 2 T granulated sugar
  • 1 t salt

Mixing:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  2. Grease 12 c muffin pan (these stick to the sides) I didn’t use muffin liners because I wanted a crisp edge all around the muffin.
  3. In bowl, whisk eggs to break up
  4. Add buttermilk, honey, and butter to eggs.
  5. In separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients
  6. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir only to combine well. Don’t over mix.
  7. Pour into muffin wells, about 2/3 full
  8. Bake approximately 15 minutes, until they test done.
  9. Remove from pan and enjoy!
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fall spice coffee

Let me begin by saying I am not a coffee drinker.  Coffee, with it’s many roasts and blends can be as intoxicating (or confusing) as chocolate, wine or cheese.  They all offer varied colors, tastes, textures and aromas.

During a class at CIA, I did taste a wonderful French Press coffee along with a rich, buttery, chocolate croissant.  At that point, I decided that maybe I do like coffee…

Crisp morning air, cloudy days, and leaves falling – who could resist a drink named ‘fall spice coffee?’

I wasn’t sure about the coffee, but the spices and zest……yes!

stir dry ingredients and add zest

waiting for 200 degree water
dripping for 6 minutes

 waiting for the 6 minutes to pass
(The coffee mug belonged to my Grandfather; remembering him on Veteran’s day weekend.)

reflecting the morning sunlight

 cream or sugar?

cream

The spices added depth to the warm morning mug of fall spice coffee.  I think the water dripped to quickly, leaving behind some of the flavorful oils of the coffee bean.  Also, even though the water boiled in the tea kettle, it only registered about 170 degrees on the instant read thermometer.  And, since the mug is not heated, the coffee cooled somewhat quickly.

Thus…opportunities to improve upon the drink when I brew my next cup of fall spice coffee.

Fall Spice Coffee
(adapted from Dessert First)

Ingredients:
(yield: one 6 oz cup of coffee)

  • 2T ground coffee
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 6 ounces boiling water
  • sugar and cream as desired (or sweetened whipped cream topped with a dusting of cinnamon and a spiral of orange rind-how festive that sounds!)

Mixing:

  1. I used the unscientific/’what I had in the kitchen’ method of brewing this cup of coffee.
  2. I doubled the coffee filter, hoping to slow the drip
  3. My antique funnel had too large of an opening; a smaller opening would have slowed the drip.
  4. Stir together all ingredients except water
  5. Pour into coffee filter
  6. Add boiling water and allow to drip brew.
  7. I added 1 teaspoon of cream and no sugar. (For variation/research, next time, I’ll skip the cream and add raw sugar-smokey, brown crystals of sweetness.)
I found a funnel with a smaller opening that I will use in the future.
The picture below is simply comparing the variety of funnels….really….

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pumpkin spice espresso muffins

…feels like fall
…looks like fall
…smells like fall

The cinnamon was a gift, brought to me from Estonia.  Thanks LP!

The muffins are moist, melding the flavors and leaving a lingering spice on the palate.  Pumpkin and espresso support the overall flavor, yet are not prominent in taste. Delicious!
Pumpkin Spice Espresso Muffins
(adapted from here)
Ingredients:
  • 2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 T espresso powder
  • 2 t baking soda
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1 stick cinnamon, ground fine (or 1 t ground cinnamon)
  • 1/8 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 t ground cloves
  • 1 t salt
  • 15 oz pumpkin puree (I used fresh pumpkin, roasted in the oven until tender)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar (I used dark brown sugar)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
Mixing:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Line 24 muffin wells with paper liners
  3. Combine the first 8 (dry) ingredients in a mixing bowl
  4. In a mixer bowl, combine the pumpkin, sugars, and oil.
  5. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  6. Add dry ingredients, and mix only until the dry ingredients are incorporated
  7. Divide batter evenly between the 24 muffin liners
  8. Bake for 18 – 20 minutes, or until the muffins test done.
I glazed the muffins with 1/3 cup white chocolate chips, melted and a few teaspoons of whipping cream added until of drizzling consistency.