It’s day 11 of 31 days of pumpkin and I’ve decided to try something new. I’ve never added pumpkin to gingerbread, but it seems like a natural combination, so I’ve decided to go for it. The tagline of this blog is after all, “We risk disaster so you don’t have to.” Combining pumpkin and ginger isn’t even that big of a risk, but you never really know how something is going to turn out until you taste it. This risk yielded success. A moist, light, fluffy cake with a spicy bite to it, I would say this gingerbread is traditional with a twist.
Of course, writing this post feels a little bit like the time I was 8 years old and I told my family I had invented a new drink: half apple juice, half grape juice. Then, while watching tv that night, we all saw a commercial for Welch’s new Apple-Grape drink. While working on this post, a quick Google search for “Pumpkin Bread” has yielded a pretty long list of recipes. Duh.
Day 10 of 31 days of pumpkin brings us to a mousse recipe. I must admit, I’m new at making mousse and this is an adapted recipe, but I am delighted, because it was so easy to make. Before I started, I was a little intimidated by using gelatin, but there was nothing to it. This is one of those recipes that requires no baking and sometimes that comes as a great relief. With pumpkin pie (I haven’t posted one yet; it’ll come), it’s always nerve wracking to wait while it bakes in the oven. Things can go wrong. It can crack. It can dry out. Not so with mousse. Once you’re done. Your done. When I put it in the refrigerator to chill, I knew I was home free.
This recipe has rum flavoring in it, which is really an optional addition. I didn’t have any dark rum in the house, so I used 1 Tbsp of rum extract mixed with 3 Tbsp of water, but you could substitute 1/4 cup of dark rum or leave it out altogether.
I had such fun making the gingersnap crust. Crust is another thing that has the potential to intimidate me, but mushing buttery crumbs into a pie plate was a cinch. I used my handy Cuisinart Mini-Prep to crush the cookies. You could purchase one here and make my day.
Day 9 of 31 days of pumpkin and I am psyched. I chowed down on this dish after photographing it and it was delicious. It’s been a long time since I’ve made risotto. It’s a labor of love kind of recipe that demands one’s full attention, so I made this while the kids were at school today. And then, in a quiet house with the hazy, long shadows of an early afternoon in fall, I savored every last bite. Then a pair of Blue Angels screamed overhead breaking one reverie and ushering in a new one.
For this recipe, I use the smaller Bay Scallops, rather than the larger Sea Scallops. Either could be appropriate here, but the Bay Scallops were $9.99/lb as opposed to the $19.99/lb Sea Scallops, so I decided to go for the lower stakes. I wasn’t disappointed. Yesterday, I read a blog post by Debi Shawcross on How to Perfectly Pan Sear Scallops and I took her advice to heart. Definitely check out her post. The key takeaway for me was to try to get as much of the water out of the scallops as possible because water is the enemy of browning.
Day 8 of 31 days of pumpkin brings us to the pumpkin muffin: a true classic. This was the perfect recipe for me today because this week, it is my responsibility to bring the daily afternoon snack to my son’s kindergarten class. I can’t wait to drop these off tomorrow. Since they’re not iced and there aren’t any chocolate chips in them (although, chocolate chips would probably be great in these), I don’t feel too guilty when it comes to the children’s health meter. I hope they can’t tell!
The recipe worked just as I’d hoped. They are fluffy and moist and not overly sweet.
Day 7 of 31 days of pumpkin brings us into the drinks category. I have a confession. Before today, I had never had a latte. But people go nuts over the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, so I knew that I would be including a pumpkin latte recipe in my 31 days of pumpkin extravaganza. I’m so glad I did. This drink was dreamy and I plan to make it again and again and again.
There are other Pumpkin Spice lattes out there on the internet, like the one from TheKitchn, but my version jacks up the pumpkin content and is generous with the sugar too. Also, technically, one might not be able to call the drink I’ve made a latte, because in place of espresso, I’ve used a generous shot of strongly brewed, French pressed coffee. The flavor is so perfectly to my liking that I hesitate to monkey with it at all.
Inspired by the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte, I make it at home.
Recipe type: Drink
2 cups whole milk
5 Tbsp canned pure pumpkin
5 Tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 shot of strong coffee
½ cup heavy whipping cream (optional)
Start boiling water to make the French press coffee. Meanwhile, gently heat the milk in a small saucepan. Be careful not to scald the milk or bring it to a boil. Whisk in pumpkin and mix thoroughly. Stir in sugar and blend until dissolved. Add spices and blend. Add vanilla and stir. Keep milk on the heat as long as it is not starting to boil or scald.
Make the coffee in the French press, stronger than usual.
Use a hand-held egg beater (or an immersion blender if you have one) to froth up the warm milk mixture.
Use a whisk, or an egg beater, or a hand held mixer to whip the cream.
Pour about ¼ cup of coffee into a tall mug. Pour the milk mixture on top until the cup is nearly full. Add a large dollop of whipped cream and grate a little bit of nutmeg on top. This recipe makes two tall cups.
Day 6 of 31 days of pumpkin brings us to the perfect Halloween-morning breakfast: pumpkin pancakes. These are true pancakes from scratch, complete with whipped egg whites folded into the batter at the end for extra smooth, fluffy pancakes. This past summer, I used the same method when creating strawberry-coulis infused pancakes. What will we infuse into our pancakes this winter, I wonder?
The spices in this recipe include cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. I’m loving my microplane grater this month. I use it everyday to grate the nutmeg in each of these recipes. Other spices you could swap in are ginger, mace, and allspice. Just keep the quantities low. A little of these goes a long way.
I purchased the Halloween pancakes molds at Williams-Sonoma this week. I used to have an older set, but I gave it to a friend last year. I also have the Christmas set as well as a “Things that Go” set that my son adores. I have to say, Williams-Sonoma must have made significant design improvements recently because these new molds are easier to use than any of the other sets I have. In the past, I’ve cursed these molds because despite all my best efforts, the batter inevitably stuck to the mold and the whole thing fell apart when I tried to get it out.
Strategies for getting a perfectly shaped pancake include:
1) Spray the molds generously with non-stick spray
2) Heat both the pan and the mold thoroughly before adding batter
3) Don’t overfill the mold
4) Pick up the molds gingerly when ready to flip
These new molds are great. They really don’t stick to the batter at all the way they used to. Now, the mold lifts right off without bringing any of the pancake with it. It looks like William-Sonoma re-engineered the nonstick surface. Also, the shapes are slightly different. There aren’t as many nooks and crannies as the older ones, so that may also help with easy removal. I’m just happy not to be spewing curse words in the kitchen anymore while preparing this special breakfast for my angelic children waiting patiently nearby.
Pumpkin Pancakes Serves 2 people (makes 6 shapes)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup whole milk
1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
2 large eggs, separated
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat griddle on medium heat. (Don’t add any fat to the griddle yet. Just let it sit there heating up).
2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, pumpkin and egg yolks. Melt the butter in a small ramekin in the microwave for about 45 seconds. Mix the vanilla in with the eggs to help cool it down a little. You may have to wait a minute or two. You don’t want to cook the eggs. Add the butter/vanilla mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly.
3. Add the wet mixture to the dry and mix thoroughly. The batter will be thick. You’re going to add the egg whites next. Using an electric handheld mixer, or a crank one like that pictured here, beat the egg whites until they are stiff, but not too dry. Fold them into the batter gently.
4. Using a ladle (to control the amount of batter you use each time), pour batter into the mold, moving your hand around as you do so to spread the batter around all the little areas. Only fill the mold up about halfway. It will rise during cooking. Once the edges become firm, you are ready to gently lift the mold out of the pan. Check for places where the batter could be sticking to the mold and gently push it away with a butter knife. Once you’ve removed the mold, you can flip the pancake like normal. Let cook for another 2 minutes or so.
It’s day 5 of 31 days of pumpkin, and I’m excited to share this recipe for pumpkin biscuits with you. I grew up on the Eastern Shore of MD where sweet potato biscuits were popular, so this seemed like a natural next step. I was tempted to let the pumpkin stand on its own in this recipe, but in the end, I couldn’t resist adding just a hint of the traditional spices we’ve all come to expect with pumpkin flavor. I showed restraint though in both quantity and array, so that there is just a hint of the pumpkin pie rather than the full effect.
In this version, I dropped the biscuits in spoonfuls onto a “greased” (nonstick cooking sprayed) sheet, rather than rolling out the dough and cutting the circles. I just don’t have the patience for such things, although I readily admit that rolled biscuits are much more beautiful. Maybe next time.
Spiced Pumpkin Drop Biscuits Makes 12 large biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
5 Tbsp cold butter
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 – 3/4 cup plain yogurt
1. Preheat oven to 450˚F. Mix together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into tablespoon slices and then cut the butter into the flour mixture. Blend thoroughly.
2. With a spoon, stir the pumpkin purée into the dry ingredients. Add enough yogurt so that a ball of dough forms. Do so by adding a couple of tablespoons at a time. Knead the ball of dough 8-10 times until everything is thoroughly mixed together.
3. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Drop large spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet. There should be about a dozen spoonfuls altogether. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until tops are just turning golden brown.
Day 4 of 31 days of pumpkin and we arrive at a Bundt cake. I’m psyched because I actually bought this bundt cake pan today at Mollie Stones in Sausalito. It’s nonstick, so I really wasn’t worried when it came time to invert the cake onto a plate. And then I had so much fun sifting the powdered sugar on top. Can you tell I’ve been waiting a long time to make a Bundt cake?
Day 3 of 31 days of pumpkin brings us to a savory recipe.
The secret to this pumpkin soup isn’t the sage (that’s in the title after all). It’s the fact that the onions are caramelized first. Caramelizing onions takes a bit of time (about 30 minutes, in fact), but it’s well worth it to bring out the sweet, nutty flavor hidden inside. The trick to caramelizing onions is to keep the temperature very low while they are sautéeing. Caramel is created when sugar undergoes controlled pyrolysis – the chemical decomposition that happens when organic stuff gets hot. If it gets too hot, then it gets charred. Char creates the familiar grill marks on a perfectly grilled steak. We’re not charring the onions, we’re trying to decompose the sugars in such a controlled way that they turn into caramel and that takes controlled temperature for a long time.
October is my favorite month. Halloween is my favorite holiday and today is the one year anniversary of my recipe blog, StreamingGourmet – The Blog and my culinary videosharing website StreamingGourmet. To celebrate, I’m kicking off a month of daily pumpkin recipe posts. Follow StreamingGourmet on facebook (look to your right) and you won’t miss a single recipe.
Today’s recipe is for a fluffy pumpkin cookie with semi-sweet chocolate chips. Since the recipe contains both baking powder and baking soda, the cookie dough dough puffs up to make a soft, cakey cookie. The interplay between pumpkin pie flavors and the chocolate chips is surprisingly yummy. I think you’ll be seeing a lot of chocolate/pumpkin pairings this month.
A fluffy, cakey cookie perfect for a Halloween party.
Recipe type: Dessert
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ brown sugar
¾ granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups flour
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger
¼ tsp ground cloves
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add pumpkin and beat well. Then add eggs and beat well. Finally add vanilla and beat well.
Mix together dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture, about ⅓ at a time and mix well after each addition. Fold in the chocolate chips with a spoon or spatula.
Spoon batter onto cookie sheets that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lightly buttered. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let sit for one minute after removing from oven. Then cool on wire racks.