Pumpkin Gingerbread

pumpkingingerbreadI’m not a big pumpkin spice anything girl, but I am a big fan of pumpkin pie and just about any bread or muffin that has pumpkin in it.  I am not, however, a big fan of the amount of fat that usually accompanies those recipes and look for any way I can to trim that aspect down so I can enjoy more of those seasonal treats.

On this first day of October, it may have been 90° and muggy in the shade where I live, but I’m kicking off my fall baking (well after dark) with this recipe for pumpkin gingerbread with no added fat.

Pumpkin Gingerbread

  • 3 Cups sugar
  • 1 Cup applesauce or banana puree
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 Cup water
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 3+1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1+1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1-15oz can pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.

In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, applesauce or banana puree, and eggs; beat until smooth. Add water and beat until well blended. Stir in pumpkin, ginger, allspice cinnamon, and clove.

In medium bowl, combine flour, soda, salt, and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture and blend just until all ingredients are mixed. Divide batter between prepared pans.

Bake in preheated oven until toothpick comes out clean, about 1 hour.  Cool loaves completely on wire racks.  Store wrapped in refrigerator.

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Pumpkin Gingersnap Bars

pumpkingingersnapbarsFollowing the theme of all things pumpkin spice, here’s one that made my mouth water before I got beyond the picture!

I recently started following The Christian Science Monitor for another view on the upcoming Presidential election and came across their Culture – Food section where I was happy to see 22 new ways to use pumpkin in an article today.  I can’t wait to try these!

Pumpkin Gingersnap Bars With Cream Cheese Topping

By Amy DelineThe Gourmand Mom (From her Stir It Up Blog Nov. 13, 2013)

2 cups crushed gingersnap crumbs
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 cups pumpkin puree fresh or canned (1 15-ounce can will do the trick)
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups half-and-half
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of cloves
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Pinch of ground ginger
Extra gingersnap crumbs for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Combine the crushed gingersnap crumbs with the melted butter. Press in an even layer into the bottom of a 13- by 9-inch baking dish. Bake for 7-8 minutes. Remove from the oven.

3. Meanwhile, whisk together the pumpkin, half-and-half, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves, until well blended. In a small dish, combine the cornstarch with about 1/4 cup of the pumpkin mixture, until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Whisk the cornstarch mixture into the pumpkin mixture. Pour the pumpkin mixture over the gingersnap crust.

4. Bake for about 40 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven. Cool at room temperature until no longer hot. Then, cool completely in the refrigerator. Cut into small 1 to 1-1/2-inch squares.

6. Combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a pinch of ground ginger. Use a pastry bag to pipe a bit of the cream cheese topping onto each square. Sprinkle with extra gingersnap crumbs.

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Time For Pumpkin Spice Everything

We are well into September and with the month coming into it’s final week, another season begins.  I’m not talking about Fall, I’m talking about Pumpkin Spice Season!

ddpumpkinSoon recipes for everything imaginable made with pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, or any combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and ginger will be popping up on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and menus at nearly every restaurant you visit.  Today I had a pumpkin plain cake donut from Dunkin’ Donuts that was unbelievably good!

pslatteAs a girl who adds nothing to her coffee but a bit of skim milk, I’ve never understood it, but people lose their minds when Starbuck’s announces that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is back!  In case you wondered, there are 380 calories in a Grande (i.e. Medium sized) Pumpkin Spice Latte.  That’s a lot of calories to commit to a cup of coffee and it doesn’t even have any pumpkin in it!

You can save money, calories and actually include some pumpkin if you use Kitchn’s recipe to make it at home.

Makes 2 drinks

Ingredients
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, plus more to garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract (add a bit at a time)
2 cups whole milk (You can substitute skim milk)
1 to 2 shots espresso, about 1/4 cup
1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped until firm peaks form

  1. Heat the pumpkin and spices: In a small saucepan over medium heat, cook the pumpkin with the pumpkin pie spice and a generous helping of black pepper for 2 minutes or until it’s hot and smells cooked. Stir constantly.
  2. Stir in the sugar: Add the sugar and stir until the mixture looks like a bubbly thick syrup.
  3. Warm the milk: Whisk in the milk and vanilla extract. Warm gently over medium heat, watching carefully to make sure it doesn’t boil over.
  4. Blend the milk: Carefully process the milk mixture with a hand blender or in a traditional blender (hold the lid down tightly with a thick wad of towels!) until frothy and blended.
  5. Mix the drinks: Make the espresso or coffee and divide between two mugs and add the frothed milk. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, or nutmeg if desired.

Substitutions

  • Vanilla: Yes, this recipe calls for two tablespoons (not teaspoons) of vanilla. This sounds like a lot, but it does more than anything else to mimic the intense, even artificial, taste of the syrups used in coffee shops. But feel free to start with less and bump it up as needed.
  • Milk Fat: This recipe is most satisfying when made with whole milk, but 2% and skim can be substituted.
  • Canned Pumpkin Substitution: You can substitute 1 teaspoon Torani Pumpkin Spice Syrup for the canned pumpkin if you have it on hand.
  • Sugar Substitute: You can use a sugar substitute in place of the sugar if desired. Add to taste.
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice Substitute: No pumpkin pie spice? No problem — use our recipe to make it out of cinnamon, ginger, and other spices: Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix
  • Espresso Substitute: If you don’t have espresso on hand, you can use strong brewed coffee instead. Increase amount to 1/3 to 1/2 cup.

Recipe Notes

homemadepslatteMake a big batch of pumpkin spice mix-in: If you like, you can make a big batch of the pumpkin spice base, and refrigerate. To make 8 full servings , cook 1/2 cup pureed or canned pumpkin with 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice , 1/2 teaspoon black pepper , and 1/2 cup sugar . Stir in 1/2 cup vanilla extract . Refrigerate for up to 1 week and use as desired. To serve, blend 1/3 cup pumpkin spice mix-in with milk until frothy, and add 1 or 2 shots of espresso. Top with whipped cream and serve.

On a side note, I found out some very distressing news about canned pumpkin today.  Shape Magazine says most canned pumpkin isn’t really pumpkinSAY IT ISN’T SO!  “According to a report by Epicurious, the majority of canned “pumpkin” on the market is actually an entirely different variety of fruit. 85% of the canned pumpkin in the world is sold by Libby’s, and they grow their own tan-skinned pumpkin cousin, Dickinson squash, to help meet the demand. The kicker: This squash is more similar to a butternut squash than the bright orange pumpkins you’ll be carving up this fall.”  Not only did the FDA approve this way back in 1938, it’s a common practice among most of the brands.  Hmph!

If you are on Facebook and are interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to, recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water, I have a page on Facebook you can visit too:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cookies

turkeygfcookiesAs I was reviewing the recipes I’d be making for Thanksgiving weekend gatherings this year, I realized that someone likely to eat at least one meal at my house is gluten intolerant and wouldn’t be able to share the best part of dinner: dessert!  Luckily I had a recipe that was easily converted to gluten free, whew, crisis averted!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Mix together in a bowl and set aside:

  • 3 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Gluten Free Flour (I use Krusteaz)
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder

In stand mixer cream until light and fluffy:

  • 2 Sticks (1 Cup) softened butter
  • 2/3 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup  Brown Sugar (Light or Dark)  then add
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Canned Pumpkin Puree

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

On low speed slowly add the dry ingredients until well incorporated and dough forms a ball.

Divide the dough in half and put into 2 large Ziplock bags.  Flatten to a large disk and put both into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

Once dough has chilled place first disk on a lightly floured surface (MAKE SURE YOU USE THE GLUTEN FREE FLOUR), roll out to about 1/4″ and cut into Turkeys, Leaves, Footballs or any other fall shape.  Place on a cookie sheet with a silicone liner or parchment paper and then throw the pan in the freezer for a couple of minutes to help cookies keep their shape when you bake them.  Repeat process with what is left of first disk then the second disk until you have used all of the dough.

Bake for 9-12 minutes (until lightly browned on the bottoms and starting to brown on the tops) depending on your oven and the thickness of your cookies.  Remove cookies from the oven.  Allow to cool on pan about 1 minute then remove to wire racks to completely cool.  Do not leave on the pan too long or the cookies might start to lose their shape.

When completely cool ice with Royal Icing or pre-made cookie icing and enjoy.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to:  recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. If so, visit my This Girl Loves To Eat community at:  https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood