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holiday eating, + down time

December 6th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

The space between Thanksgiving and Christmas feels so much shorter this year, like a freight train coming at us, all decorated in sparkling lights, tinsel and bows. I love Christmas a lot, and the decorations are only a part of what makes it so appealing. But we’re barely past Thanksgiving and December is already roaring in to greet us, all proclaiming the glory of the season.

It’s time to turn the focus on the real meaning of the season.

But first….. we need some good food for celebrating, don’t we??

I tend not to post a lot in the last month of the year. My job becomes so incredibly busy this month and the uptick in activity drains a lot of energy out of me, leaving little time for extra effort in the kitchen to make, photograph and write about a divine treat, or beautiful holiday option. Plus, I just don’t think anyone needs yet another food blogger spelling out Christmas cheer in concentrated posts between now and the end of December. It’s become so saturated with those, hasn’t it?

But I do have some delicious treats, side dishes and snacks from past years that I think are wonderful, and thought that I’d just share a few of them with you. Some are old (but all things old are new again, aren’t they??) and some are new; some spell Christmas loud and clear, and others are just a darn good idea, but all of them can be incorporated at some point over the next weeks in to your holiday repertoire.

May your season be cheerful and bright, however you celebrate.


The ultimate Christmas treat: Sugar Plums

If you’ve never made this classic holiday treat, this should be the year you do. They are superbly simple, with a delicious taste that only gets better as they sit, waiting for Christmas morning. They’re quite healthy, too.

Sugar Cookies. The perfect blend of butter, sugar and vanilla, and just what you need to roll out and cut with fancy cookie cutters for decoration.

 

A Nutmeg Cake that smells like Christmas:


White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies- Christmas perfection.

Swedish Holiday Fruit Bread (Fruktkaka), tasting like a long forgotten memory.

Nutella Pound Cake, anyone?? Can’t get much richer and decadent than that, can you?

Earl Grey Tea Cookies- made with the beautifully aromatic tea leaves, these taste like a gorgeous Winter day and are a great afternoon treat.

Authentic German Stollen, which I must make again this year. This recipe was glorious. (Photo is from 2008- no judging!)

Great snack option, or perfect for gift giving, Dark Chocolate Nutella Muddy Buddies:

For a very hearty appetizer, this Chili Bean & Queso Dip is spectacular:

For something completely different, try making this Middle Eastern spice and nut blend called Dukkah. (again, photo from 2008- no judging!!)

Make Christmas magic with this unique and delicious Red Rice Pulao with Roasted Vegetables as your side dish:

You can substitute your favorite hearty green in this Boursin Spinach Gratin, and still get an amazing, rich and creamy side dish:

May the magic and beauty of Christmas, and all the holidays be kept close to your heart, now and all the year through.

maple apple cake {gluten free}

October 24th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

Several months ago I started having pretty severe discomfort in my belly and immediately suspected that wheat might be the problem. I decided to eliminate it from what I ate for a week to see if there was any relief, and it was clear after only two days that my belly was happier without it. I had been considering cutting back on my consumption of wheat anyway, so it wasn’t much of a change to stop eating it all together. Once dropping it completely, I’ve realized that eating a small amount here and there is not that disruptive on my digestive system, and can enjoy a bit of  good quality bread if need be, but along with dairy, I’ve learned that the more processed the product is, the worse it affects my gut. I think it’s so amazing that our bodies know what’s not good for us, and all we need to do is pay attention.

Along with eliminating wheat came the need to understand substituting gluten-free flours for baking, a process that is expansive and often dizzyingly complicated, with the starches, the gums, bean flours, ancient grain flours, rice flours and such, but thankfully there is a huge wealth of knowledgable people out there who can take the mystery out of replacing whole wheat with delicious alternatives. I’m not interested in just subbing in an AP GF flour blend when I bake; I want to understand how blending GF flours can enhance your baked goods, and make them more flavorful, instead of just relying on what someone else decides is a good alternative. Plus, the more I read about GF baking, the more I realize that not one blend will produce similar quality results for breads, cakes, muffins or scones. Each of those baked goods requires different blends, gums and starches to produce the textures that we crave, that are often gone missing in GF baked goods.

It’s been a learning curve, no doubt. I made a GF Lemon Coconut Cake that sounded amazing on paper, but the first bite was akin to a balloon rapidly leaking air. It wasn’t good. Not even close, and despite my hatred of throwing out food, the whole cake went in the trash. I’ve spent a lot of time reading GF blogs, researching and absorbing. I’ve purchased small bags of all the options I want to try, and slowly am working towards a fuller understanding, but folks, it’s a long way off. We all have to start somewhere, don’t we?

Yesterday, while pining for something cake-like and warm to use the apples that are sitting in storage, I found this cake recipe on Healthy Green Kitchen, which is one of my go-to sites for healthy eating. I had everything necessary to make it, too, which was miraculous. And Winnie is a source to trust, as far as I’m concerned, so I wasn’t all that concerned that this cake was going to end up in the garbage.

And if you’re one of those folks who think sugar is the devil itself, please read her current post containing her thoughts on the whole sugar uproar. It’s worth a few minutes of your time.

Now, back to that cake.

This recipe was heavily adapted from the one on Winnie’s blog, mostly because I discovered that I was out of white sugar so I subbed in a brown sugar/maple syrup blend. Her recipe called for straight almond flour too, but due to it’s expense, I don’t like to use it so freely, plus I love how coconut flour works to add bulk and texture in baked goods, and with the extra liquid from the syrup, it needed that bulk. I also wanted to add sorghum for experimental purposes. The texture, crumb and flavor of this cake was delicious and tender, with a flavor that we all gave an enthusiastic thumbs up! I’d make it again, exactly the same way.

Please note that it can be made with regular AP flour in the same amount as the total of the three GF options I’ve listed.

 

Maple Apple Cake

3 eggs
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. pure maple syrup
1 c. almond flour
1/2 c. sorghum flour
1/2 c. coconut flour
3/4 c. cup plain almond milk
3 T. butter, melted
2 t. baking powder
1 t. pure vanilla extract
3 medium apples, about 1 3/4 pounds peeled, cored, and chopped. I used Haralson.
Optional: Powdered sugar for dusting the top, ice cream or yogurt to serve along side.

Preheat oven to 350° and prepare a 9″ springform pan by spraying with cooking spray, or rubbing with butter. Coat with a sprinkle of almond flour, if desired. {{My springform pan always seems to leak, so I wrap the bottom in tin foil}}

In the bowl of a stand mixer, place the eggs, brown sugar and maple syrup. Beat on medium speed for 5 minutes, until light brown and thickened. Reduce the speed to medium-low and add the flour, scraping sides if needed, then the milk and melted butter. Scrape if needed, increase to medium, and blend for 3 minutes. Add in baking soda and vanilla extract, then blend for 2 minutes.

Scrape batter in to prepared pan and arrange chopped apples on top. Sprinkle with a few pinches of brown sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon, then place in pre-heated oven. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Do not over bake.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes, then release the spring on the pan. Cake can be served warm.

 

 

shortbread with cacao nibs & toffee

May 23rd, 2013 | 3 Comments »

My beloved baking mentor, my Mom, had this recipe she made a lot when we were kids called Coffee Toffee Bars. Although they did have coffee in them, there wasn’t one snippet of toffee at all. It was a shortbread type cookie, dense and rich, glazed with a thin, crackly almond glaze and we would gobble this treat up shamelessly whenever she made them.

These bars, however, are not my Mother’s Coffee Toffee Bars.

Come in to my kitchen…

peanut butter quinoa blondies

May 10th, 2013 | 3 Comments »

With chocolate chips- as if they need anything else. It’s a creamy, dreamy taste overload and entirely gluten-free, if you need or want that sort of thing.

Come in to my kitchen…

momofuku corn cookies

March 14th, 2013 | 1 Comment »

A sweet cookie, a fresh burst of corn flavor; this unique treat was an eye-opening experience, with unbelievable flavor.

Come in to my kitchen…

roasted orange marmalade for late winter

March 7th, 2013 | 9 Comments »

Late Winter brings it’s own melancholy, with a longing anticipation of Spring as the weary trudge over a landscape white as the eye can see.

Come in to my kitchen…

sugar plums…. a christmas revelation

December 6th, 2012 | 2 Comments »

A few years ago, I had a bit of a revelation in the kitchen. I learned about Sugar Plums. Yes! THOSE Sugar Plums… as in ‘visions of sugar plums danced in their head’; the stuff of lore and childhood wonder on Christmas Eve, the giddy anticipation of morning and a stocking stuffed with toys.

I remember the day quite well; it was a blindingly sunny, brilliantly blue-sky day in December, but the air was frigid with cold, the cold that seems like you could break it with one swift punch. Inside the house, as the furnace hummed, the sunshine on my back so warm that I’d shed my sweater, but kept it close at hand for that magical moment when the sun slips low enough to return the chill to the air. I was gathering ingredients together to make these little gems; dried apricots, figs, and dates, almonds, pecans, pistachios…. it was a heavenly spread laying on the countertop in my kitchen. I had a few round, fat oranges for zest and juice, a jar of honey that caught the sunshine just right, reflecting a golden cast. Everything was measured in to the food processor and I pushed a button. In moments, the mix was reduced to a fine mince and when I popped off the cover, the flood of aromas that swept up to my nose sent chills through me. The hair on my arms stood tall. It was fresh, citrus-y and nutty all at once, and rich with some ancient memory loaded in my mind, far too remote to ever recall correctly. I scraped it all in a bowl, and with a small cup of warm water at hand, I began to form them in to balls. Miles Davis blew his sweet notes on the radio, filling the kitchen with melodious sound, the sun gave the room a drowsy feel, Christmas crept ever closer and in my own two hands, a little Christmas miracle occurred.

Once the entire mass was formed, dredged in coconut or powdered sugar and set in the refrigerator, I felt like I’d stepped in to another dimension in time. Years and years of hearing the same Christmas story, thinking of my own childhood Christmas Eve, laying in bed thinking I will never! sleep! due to all the excitement and waking up with a start, shot through with the thrill of Christmas morning, I never even imagined that such a thing existed as a Sugar Plum. Ages before the Internet could bring anything in your head to reality, I just figured it was a treat of bygone days that no one had any clue how to make. If my Mom didn’t know (because you ALL remember when your Mom knew everything) then it couldn’t possibly be real.

But real they are. And that little treat, passed around to wide eyes as Christmas drew nearer that year, brought exclamations of the same; “These are real?” as eager fingers held one for examination. I nodded. “I know!” and with one bite, a burst of sweet fruit and crunchy nut, with the hint of orange juice and I could see the idea settling in everyone who tried them. At some point, ancient in time I imagine the Sugar Plum was likely something else all together, that slipped from our collective understanding, lost forever. But these are a worthy replacement, ready to be placed front and center in your holiday celebrations.

“I wish I’d known about this years ago.” someone said to me then, biting in to the fragrant mass. “I would have added these to our holiday baking every year.”

“Well,” I said to her, ” now you can.”

Sugar Plums

2 cups almonds, toasted and roughly chopped
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup pitted dates
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 tablespoon honey
Unsweetened flaked coconut or powdered sugar for rolling

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

2. Combine almonds, apricots, dates, cinnamon, and zest in a food processor and process into a finely ground mixture.

3. Add orange juice and honey, and combine until the mixture becomes a sticky ball.

4. Pinch off pieces of the mixture and form into 1-inch balls. Roll in coconut or powdered sugar. Place on the baking sheet and chill for about 1 hour until firm.

Recipe from Field Guide to Candy by Anita Chu; Quirk Books, 2009

 

KATE’S NOTES: 

I used two cups equivalent of nuts, utilizing pistachios and pecans as well as almonds. It’s my holy trifecta of nutty favorites. Or you could use other nuts like peanuts, walnuts, brazil nuts. The possibilities are endless for dried fruit substitutions; raisins both black or gold, cranberries, cherries, currants, pineapple, mango. . Try it with lemon juice and zest for a different flavor, or maple syrup in place of the honey. Use cardamom instead of nutmeg and cinnamon.

I added a bit more honey and orange juice, as the amount in the recipe didn’t seem to be enough to make the mixture as sticky as it needed to hold together. Adjust it according to your taste preferences.

These improve, and deepen in flavor the longer they sit in the refrigerator. For optimum flavor, make them a week ahead of time.

REMINDER!!
You still have some time to enter my giveaway for a set of Chinet’s Disposable Bakeware.
Go see THIS POST for more details!  

simply sugar cookies

November 26th, 2012 | 4 Comments »

This is one of my ‘tried and true’ recipes; the one to turn to for comfort and understanding that you know will never let you down. Not that I can’t find a million cookie recipes at the touch of my fingers, for cookies that look amazingly thick, decadent, and pillowy, with that perfect blend of crisp edges and soft interiors and I’m certain that they would be delightful and all, but there’s this thing about cookies and my taste for them; I don’t like to stretch myself all that much. I don’t need fancy in a cookie; I crave basic and and elementary. I might sub in a fancy ingredient, like good quality chocolate chunks for a bag of chocolate chips, but there’s a ceiling of cookie indulgence above me and it’s solidly in place. Give me a straightforward cookie, please.

These Sugar Cookies are perfect. They’re quietly uncomplicated, yet worthy in flavor of bringing back memories of a Sugar Cookie I loved as a child. I’ve passed this recipe on to many people and all the feedback I’ve had has been nothing short of glowing. Stellar all on their own, they accept decorative toppings in any form, making them a must for holiday cookie-making. You can scoop the dough or roll it out and use cookie cutters too. It freezes beautifully too, as do the finished cookies themselves.

 

Basic Sugar Cookies

1 c. softened butter, no substitutes (reserve one of the wrappers)
1-1/2 c. white sugar
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1 egg
2-3/4 c. AP flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder

Heat the oven to 375° and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Place about 1/3 of a cup of white sugar on a small plate and set aside.

Cream butter and the 1-1/2 cups of sugar together until very light and fluffy. Add in egg and vanilla extract and blend thoroughly until smooth and creamy. You really can’t overmix at this point. You want a base that is smooth and creamy as it makes the end result stupendous. Stir together flour, baking soda and powder, and with mixer on low, gradually add to butter until fully incorporated and mixture is in large, somewhat dry chunks. It will not be a smooth batter, but granular, like pie crust. The dough should hold together when pressed between your fingertips. If it doesn’t, give it a few more turns with the mixer. Here’s where you don’t want to mix more than necessary. The dough will come together when it bakes.

Using a small scoop (I used a #60 sized) press dough tight into a ball and drop onto cookie sheet. With your butter wrapper, wipe the bottom of a smooth glass, then dip the glass onto the sugar you’ve set aside. Gently press down on the cookie dough, dipping the glass before each one. If any dough falls loose, lightly push the pieces into the sides of the cookie. Bake for 8-10 minutes, reversing trays from front to back, and swapping top to bottom about halfway throughAllow to cool slightly on the sheet, then remove to a cooling rack.

 

KATE’S NOTES: I find that the super fine bakers sugar elevates the texture of these cookies quite a bit. You can mix up white and wheat flour if you wish, the end result will be darker though. I have substituted 1/2 c. of honey for the white sugar and love how tender it makes them.

date and nut oat bars

November 5th, 2012 | 3 Comments »

I’m a total rebel.

It’s November, and everywhere you look is pumpkin. In everything. Or butternut squash. In everything. There’s sweet potatoes lurking over there; an acorn squash holding an adorable filling, perfectly browned edge glinting just so. It’s the season for all things roots and orange.

People are already gearing up for Thanksgiving, too. Decorations for Christmas have come out in certain stores. WHAT!!? Gah.

And here I am, dreaming of gooey dates and a crumbly oat bar.

Sarah at The Yellow House recently wrote a post about her Mother’s recipe box, and a particular recipe memory she was seeking, in the stumbling way that a motherless daughter tries to find answers to the questions that can never be solved. Sarah’s post, even in it’s despair and sadness, triggered something in me because I know all about that bitter walk after your Mother dies, the questions you wish you could ask, the reassurance like an anchor, that a Mother brings. She sought answers about a particular barbecue sauce recipe, and for me, the always unattainable answer I sought from my Mom’s spirit was for a treasured Date Bar recipe.

I’m pretty biased towards these iconic baked goods as they’ve been a favorite ever since I could remember stepping up to a kitchen counter, reaching up to place my hands on the worn edge and leaning hard around my Mom’s arm to see what she was doing. A recipe box open, the mass of dates simmering on the stove, the bowl of oats and sugar standing silently, waiting. The small pan ready. A kitchen warmed by an oven.

But then in a flash, I’m grown up, and my childhood kitchen dissipates. I’m a parent now, too. When my tiny boy reached his own chubby fingers towards that kitchen counter, I pulled up a chair and got him situated. We stirred together. We mixed and measured, my hand over his as his blue eyes watched closely. I gave him a knife and he carefully trimmed vegetables. He pushed his luck against my stern warning that yes, indeed that stovetop is still hot even though the burners are no longer red. I dried those tears and soothed the burns. We soldiered on. Pans of Brownies and chocolate cake came and went. Chocolate chip cookies- of course!- and Oatmeal Raisin, Snickerdoodles and Dark Chocolate Drops; Oatmeal Scotchies and Applesauce Cake, cookies every Christmas. Full bellies and full hearts, him and I.  His interest wavered, waned and often, he was absent as he grew too cool to stand by my side. Then, in some great moment of clarity, he returned to the kitchen again, a young man. Now he cooks his own food. Experiments. Expands. Still, if he said to me ‘Can you please make ______ ?’ I would likely tell him ‘Yes.’ and reach for the flour canister.

Because when I would sidle up next to my Mom as she thumbed through a cookbook, or pulled out her recipe card file for inspiration, often she would turn to me and say ‘Got any requests?’ and in my little girl, eager way, I would say “Please make those Date Bars!” And she would, smiling as she pulled the corner piece out of the pan to hand to me, it’s edges chewy and firm and we’d eat ’til our bellies were full, her and I. Eighteen years after her passing, her words still ring strong in my mind, for her baking was her love language, her moment to tell us how much she adored our faces, upturned and eager towards her as she pulled down worn metal tins of flour and sugar, turned the knob on the stove and sought out the warped, old cookie sheets, the favorite baking pan, drawing the aging cookie tin from the cupboard, the big round one with the roses on the top. I still have her recipe box, and I’ve poured over her it in vain, searching for that Date Bar recipe that she made for me, the one that was always just perfect, but I never found it. I poured pan after pan of warm date puree over an oat crust, trying to replicate the taste, seeking her smile in my memory and the love from a chewy corner piece but every time I bit down, the past wasn’t there. I wanted it to be, so badly. I reach for a container of flour, a sack of sugar,  thinking it will restore the dull ache in me that still echoes after nearly two decades. Sometimes the very act of baking will quiet the roar; other times, those first bites just make it more acute.

Then I find this one, a perfect Date Bar with a crunchy oat crust that browns and crisps in the oven, snapping apart to shower on the plate, crumbs falling in your lap that you happily pick up on moist fingertip, the rich dates cooked to a tender chew, gooey edge and all.

And the taste, smell and memory all come together in a tiny piece of cookie, too undeserving to be saddled with the burden of answering the questions of our past, but when I shut my eyes and bite, it’s all there. She’s all there. It’s swift and sharp, a nick of knife metal, barbed hooks caught against the heart. A moment meshes between child and adult, past and painful present wrapped in one oat crust, me as Mom and then, my Mother, with so many similarities between.

Oat and Nut Date Squares

1 8-oz package chopped dates (or equivalent of fresh)
1/4 c. black raisins
1 c. water
Zest from half an orange
2 t. orange  juice
1/2 c. ground almonds ( sub in walnuts or pecans if desired)
1/2 c. each whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour
1/2 t. sea salt
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/8 t. ground cloves
1 c. packed brown sugar
1-1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced, softened but still fairly cold.
1 c. old fashioned rolled oats

Preheat oven to 350° and spray an 8×8 baking pan with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper so that it hangs over edge of pan, then spray the paper.

In small saucepan, combine dates, raisins and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until all liquid has been absorbed and fruit is a thick, concentrated paste. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in orange zest and juice and blend well. Scrape onto a plate and spread to cool.

In the bowl of a food processor, place ground almonds, both flours, salt, soda and spices. Pulse to combine. Add in brown sugar and pulse to blend. Scatter butter over top and pulse until mixture is like coarse uneven meal. There should be lumps of butter in all sizes. Pour this into a large bowl and stir in the oats.

Press 2/3 of the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down firmly. Spoon cooled date mixture over, spreading it to cover crust completely. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture over the top. Bake until top crust is golden brown and crisp, 30-40 minutes.

Cool bars completely on a rack, still in the pan. Once bars are at room temperature, gently lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Slice into 2″ squares to serve. These bars are delicious when chilled. Keep in airtight container or refrigerated.

 

{{adapted from an original recipe, author unknown}}

coming home to the familiar (with spiced molasses cake)

October 3rd, 2012 | 2 Comments »

Fall began while I was away, on Mountain Time, amidst soaring majestic peaks and deep pine canyons. The Summer season passed in our initiation to a storied national park, and Autumn came on a cliff, crossing steep trails worn down by hooves and hiking shoes; it came through the sunrises over a new sky, shrouded with wildfire smoke, on a white water rafting excursion, over 3,000 miles and 9 days straight with my two most favorite guys. It was the longest vacation I’ve ever taken and it felt strange to clean up the house for the cat sitter, pack a container of veggie chili in the freezer to welcome us home, go over the lists again (and again and AGAIN) making sure that we had good snacks for the car, and lunch on the road (hello peanut butter), packing items like hand wipes and paper towels and extra plastic bags for trash, searching for good audio books to keep us occupied for the 10+ hour drive, and trying to remember all the quirky little things we should tell our cousin about caring for our silly cats. Among all the final frenzy of planning and packing, I kept running the whole thing over in my head, thinking “Can we really DO this? Can we drive across three states and explore the West and be sane enough to still say ‘I love you!’ every day and mean it while cramped inside a 4-door sedan?”

Truth is, yes. We can. And we did. I was never more excited to drive away from home on that glorious Sunday morning while most of our neighborhood still slept, nor was I more thrilled to return home as the sun set on the following Tuesday. To everything familiar and easy, to my bed and my home and my cats.

Even as all the unfamiliar became easy, the roads that I started to learn around my Uncle’s home, their wonderful hospitality, to the pines and peaks I stared at in awe, cementing them in my soul, even with everything that was so perfect about the entire trip, coming home felt better than I could have ever imagined. I couldn’t wait to get away and the anticipation was so richly rewarded, but I yearned for home the moment we turned our car Eastward and headed over the Interstate. Re-entry was simple; familiar, easy, calm, happy.

It’s nice to come home.

{{psssst….. I’m giving away cookbooks. Go check it out!}}

It wouldn’t take much beyond scrolling through my blog reader to know that Fall has most definitively arrived. Soups, stews, braises, pumpkin, squash, brussels sprouts and potatoes adorn the photos and fill the pages, hearty fare to shore ourselves up for the cold, the snow and the darker months to come. For me, Autumn needs two things: color blazed Maples and dark Molasses Cake.

Gingerbread. Molasses Cake. Whatever you refer it as, what name you prefer to call the dense moist crumb of such a perfect Autumn flavor, this recipe is the bees knees for anyone who loves molasses, deep and dark. It’s evokes the perfect memory of past seasons, where the deep reds and oranges of Maple burned bright against the rich blue sky, the crunch of leaves underfoot, the chill in the air as the sun drops it’s golden curve low on the horizon. The whiff of memory is bittersweet; of Gingersnap cookies that my Mom loved, the recipe that came out after school began for everyone, a welcome home with cold milk.

I still love those cookies, and all things ginger and bread and molasses. This cake has made a few other appearances in our kitchen and home, always against that perfect Fall backdrop of blaze and blue. Even with our warm days, bright sunshine and comfortable nights, after a few frosty mornings and finding the familiar in old and cozy sweaters and jeans, it welcomes you home whether you’ve been away, or just greatly anticipating Autumn. We all love Autumn; it’s universal in it’s daily changes of color, of temperatures and air and the gradual slide to Winter.

Ginger Spice Cake


adapted from several sources

2 c. AP flour
1 t. baking soda
1 T. ground ginger
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground cloves
1/2 t. allspice
2 T. espresso powder (optional, but it adds an amazing depth)
1 egg
1/2 c. molasses
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. unsalted butter, melted
1 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 and coat a 8″ square pan with cooking spray.

Stir together dry ingredients. With electric mixer, blend egg, molasses, sugar and melted butter until thick and very smooth. Gradually mix in dry ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, mixing each addition thoroughly. Mix for one minute after everything is in the bowl. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cake center comes out clean.

NOTE: This cake is wonderful with fresh cranberry sauce and a spoonful of yogurt. Or ice cream. Of course.