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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mishaps...

They happen. Wednesday my faithful old Kitchen Aid Mixer finally jumped ship when it tumbled from my counter into my waiting hands' ceramic dishes. Needless to say my bread dough was done for, a mixer was in the cards, and I need to look for some replacement vintage Corningware...
Ah well - It was just one of those days.
Thanksgiving day was much more enjoyable!

Anyways, to break in the fruits of this Black Friday - a Kitchen Aid Pro 520 which completely blows me away - I whipped some Spicy Pumpkin bread based on the recipe from The Bread Bible. My goodness, I very much enjoy that book. The whole-grain wild rice-molasses bread I was making and (with much help) remade sans-mixer too came from its glorious pages.
Also a wonderful bread...Sweet, Chewy...
Anyhow, the Pumpkin-Cream Cherry bread came out wonderfully. I added orange zest and a bit of oatmeal as well as a splash of almond extract to make up for the lack of Sherry in my inventory.

It was spice, moist (Thanks to the addition of some plain yogurt to offset the volume of oil called for) and rose very well.
There's no substitute for careful mixing in chemically leavened quick-breads, I always say. I really do, it's a bad habit.

Anyways here it is - if you're ever in the market for a nice spiced quick bread, hit this recipe up. There's never enough Pumpkin in the pie alone this time of year.

One loaf...
Two Bundts...

And a whole-lot of sweet-scented holiday baking...

Enjoy the start to the holiday season! I'm already hitting the Christmas music pretty hard...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November Comes!

I love this month. It's the start of Scorpio season for us Children of November; It's the start of the true holiday season; It's home to possibly the single greatest day of eating in America. What's not to love?

I'm afraid until Thanksgiving is actually upon us there will likely be a continued dearth of recipes, reviews, and good things to blog about. Food here is still, well, uninteresting. Our valley cafe on tuesdays is good - today's dishes surrounded Italian, specifically perhaps Milanese, dishes. It was good, bringing fresh bitter-sweet slaw, stewed Chickpeas, and an interesting spaghetti torte, and a Chicken dish to The Foxes.

I miss Italian like mia mamma makes.

In the interim, enjoy these pics - long overdue - from the Goffstown (NH) Pumpkin Festival. I've been meaning to post them with this recipe for Pumpkin Softies - a recurring cookie of mine - since mid October! So sorry about that...


The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown! The biggest and greatest in fact!
Punkin Chunkin' on the river!

A great little cafe in town. Check it out if you're in area!

Mmmm... Tremendous amounts of Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Pie, Individually wrapped baked goods. Not to mention the dessert competition tasting table! My god, I love Fall...

And here's my most recent recipe for Pumpkin Spice-Softies:
Makes 2 Dozen

· ½ cup Butter, softened

· ½ cup sugar

o 1/3 cup extra reserved for rolling

· 1/4 cup honey and/or maple syrup

o Puree ¼ cup honey with ¼ cup dates, ¼ cup craisins, 1/3 cup boiling water and incorporate into wet ingredients

· 2/3 cup pumpkin puree

· 1/3 cup molasses, darker the better!

· 1 egg

· 2 ¼ cups whole wheat flour (or white, unbleached)

· ¼ cup oatmeal

· 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

· 2 teaspoons cinnamon

· 2 teaspoons ginger

· 1 teaspoon ground cloves

· ½ teaspoon salt

· Chocolate Chips, Cinnamon, Brown Sugar, Ginger to taste for rolling

Combine Sugar, butter, honey, pumpkin, and egg in a large mixing bowl, combining well. The butter won’t fully incorporate but remain slightly chunky.

Combine extra sugar, extra spices (listed at bottom) and set aside chips for finishing the cookies.

Combine all dry ingredients left and slowly spoon into wet batter, mixing very thoroughly. An electric mixer makes this much easier.

Set aside for 20 minutes or so, or until sufficiently chilled so that the batter can be more or less rolled into walnut-sized balls by hand.

Roll in sugar-spice mixture and set about 1-2 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper. Press several chocolate chips into each ball and flatten slightly while on sheet. Bake for 8-12 minutes at 350° or until cookies are solid to the touch and crack slightly. They will darken due to the sugar caramelizing, not burning.

A Strong showing but they dodn't last but a few days...
The Sugar-spice coating makes the difference, don't skimp...

Enjoy. I know I do.