Fall has its own rhythm — it is a resting spot between busy summer activities and the holiday frenzy. It’s a good time to cozy in and get back in touch with the kitchen. Baking decorative leaf-shaped cookies or a pumpkin quick bread fills the house with welcoming aromas and the promise of treats to have on hand.
The gift of wonderful autumn baked goods is an easy and delicious way to share the best sentiments of the season. This year, indulge family and friends with the spiced goodness of pumpkin treats. Versatile pumpkin is scrumptious in more than just a silky pumpkin pie. These classic recipes deliver on the taste of the season. In fact, they’re so good, you’ll want to make extra for yourself!
A batch of Autumn Spice Cookies full of fall flavors — cinnamon, ginger, allspice and molasses with a hint of orange — makes a welcome dessert, the perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea, or a thoughtful gift for a hostess or friend. Bake these cookies in advance so they’re ready when you need them. They can be stored at room temperature up to a week or frozen up to three months.
For best baking results, dip cookie cutters in flour before making cutouts to prevent the dough from sticking to the cutter. Space unbaked cookies evenly on the pan, one inch apart, so they don’t touch during baking to make sure every leaf is perfectly shaped.
As a gift, place cookies in a clear party treat bag and tie with ribbon or raffia and include a card with the recipe tied on the ends of the ribbon.
Autumn Spice Cookies
Makes about 36 cookies
3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark molasses
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
In medium bowl, combine flour, orange zest, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, salt and allspice; set aside. In large bowl, cream butter and sugar using electric mixer. Add egg and molasses; mix well. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture, mixing until well blended.
Divide dough into two portions. Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness on floured surface. Dip cookie cutters in flour before making cutouts. Cut out shapes from dough; transfer to ungreased cookie pan, spacing 1 inch apart.
Bake 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven; cool cookies 2 minutes on pan. Transfer cookies to cooling grid using cookie spatula; cool completely. Store cookies in airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.
Pumpkin Bread Loaves
Makes four mini loaves
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1, 15-ounce can pumpkin (not pie filling)
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 snack cup prepared vanilla pudding
3/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly spray cavities of loaf pans with vegetable pan spray; set aside. In medium bowl, combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda.
In large bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar, oil and pudding using electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, mixing until just moistened. Stir in chopped walnuts. Distribute bread mixture evenly into cavities of prepared pans.
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center is clean when removed. Remove from oven; cool loaves 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer loaves from pan to cooling grid; cool completely.
Cook’s Tip: If desired, substitute 3/4 cup raisins or milk chocolate chips for nuts.
Wilton Products used: Harvest cookie cutters, cookie pan, cooling grid and cookie spatula.
Visit www.wilton.com. for more recipes and to find where to purchase these products.
Mini Pumpkin Pecan Orange-Soaked Cakes
Makes 12 cakes
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1, 18-1/4-ounce package spice cake mix
1, 15-ounce can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
Orange Syrup (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 6-cake mini Bundt pans. Sprinkle nuts over bottom.
Combine cake mix, pumpkin, vegetable oil and eggs in large mixer bowl. Beat on low speed for 30 seconds or until blended. Beat for 4 minutes on medium speed. Spoon about 1/2 cup into each mold.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in cakes comes out clean. Remove from oven. With back of spoon, carefully pat down dome of each cake to flatten. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes. Invert cakes onto cooling rack(s). Poke holes in cakes with wooden pick. Spoon a tablespoon of Orange Syrup over each cake. Allow syrup to soak in. Cool completely before serving or wrapping for gifts.
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
2 tablespoons orange juice
Place butter, sugar, water and grated orange peel in small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat. Stir in orange juice.
Gift-Giving Pumpkin Cranberry Breads
Makes 4, 9-inch-by-5-inch loaves
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
6 cups granulated sugar
1, 29-ounce can Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
8 large eggs
2 cups vegetable oil
1 cup orange juice or water
2 cups sweetened dried, fresh or frozen cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour four 9-inch-by-5-inch loaf pans.
Combine flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in extra large bowl. Combine sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and juice in large bowl with wire whisk; mix until just blended. Add pumpkin mixture to flour mixture; stir until just moistened. Fold in cranberries. Spoon 4 cups of batter into each prepared pan.
Bake for 60 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Once completely cooled, wrap loaves in plastic wrap.
Libby’s Pumpkin Roll
Makes 10 servings
1/4 cup powdered sugar (to sprinkle on towel)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
1, 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (optional for decoration)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 15-inch-by-10-inch jelly-roll pan; line with wax paper. Grease and flour paper. Sprinkle a thin, cotton kitchen towel with powdered sugar.
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt in small bowl. Beat eggs and granulated sugar in large mixer bowl until thick. Beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture. Spread evenly into prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts.
Bake for 13 to 15 minutes or until top of cake springs back when touched. (If using a dark-colored pan, begin checking for doneness at 11 minutes.) Immediately loosen and turn cake onto prepared towel. Carefully peel off paper. Roll up cake and towel together, starting with narrow end. Cool on wire rack.
Beat cream cheese, 1 cup powdered sugar, butter and vanilla extract in small mixer bowl until smooth. Carefully unroll cake. Spread cream cheese mixture over cake. Reroll cake. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
Be sure to put enough powdered sugar on the towel when rolling up the cake so it will not stick.
Here is another great recipe using pumpkin. It is from Family Features columnist Jenny Harper, who writes “Mix It Up With Jenny.”
It is easy to make, using a cake mix and pumpkin pie mix — the pie mix already includes the spices. You can enjoy the wonderful aroma as it fills your home as it bakes; and when it is done, this autumn treat, rich with pecans and served with a warm, spiced caramel sauce, will remind you why autumn baking is so rich in rewards.
Consider making two cakes. You can enjoy one cake immediately and freeze the other to have on hand for unexpected guests.
Pumpkin Pecan Bundt Cake with Spiced Caramel Sauce
Makes 12 to 16 servings
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1, 18-1/4-ounce package yellow cake mix
1, 30-ounce can Libby’s Easy Pumpkin Pie Mix, divided
3 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 9- to 10-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle pecans in bottom of prepared pan.
Beat cake mix, 2 cups pumpkin pie mix, eggs and oil in large mixer bowl for 2 minutes. Spoon into prepared pan.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto wire rack to cool completely. Transfer cake to serving platter.
Combine remaining pumpkin pie mix, brown sugar and evaporated milk in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute; remove from heat. Serve warm sauce with slices of cake.
Find more treats like this at www.VeryBestBaking.com, which is responsible for this recipe.
Now here are a couple of unusual pumpkin treats: fudge and a latte.
Spiced Pumpkin Fudge
Makes 48, 2-piece servings
2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk
1/2 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 cups (12-ounce package) Nestlé Toll House Premier White Morsels
1, 7-ounce jar marshmallow crème
1 cup chopped pecans
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Line 13-inch-by-9-inch baking pan with foil.
Combine sugar, brown sugar, evaporated milk, pumpkin, butter and spice in medium, heavy-duty saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Boil, stirring constantly, for 10 to 12 minutes or until candy thermometer reaches 234 to 240 degrees (soft-ball stage).
Quickly stir in morsels, marshmallow crème, nuts and vanilla extract. Stir vigorously for 1 minute or until morsels are melted. Immediately pour into prepared pan. Let stand on wire rack for 2 hours or until completely cooled. Refrigerate tightly covered. To cut, lift from pan; remove foil. Cut into 1-inch pieces. Makes about 3 pounds.
From Libby’s Pumpkin
The following recipe for pumpkin latte is another from Family Features columnist Jenny Harper.
Pick-Me-Up Pumpkin Latte
Makes 2 servings, 8 ounces each
1 cup strong coffee
2/3 cup (5 fluid-ounce can) Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Fat Free Milk
1/4 cup Libby’s 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 to 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or ground cinnamon
Combine coffee, evaporated milk, pumpkin, sugar and pumpkin pie spice in 2-cup microwave-safe glass measure or small saucepan. Heat until very hot (if using stove, use medium-low heat and stir occasionally). Carefully pour into mugs.
Tip: To create a foamy top on your latte, much like your favorite coffee house creation, prepare as above. Then carefully transfer hot mixture into blender container; cover with lid and then hold down lid with folded towel or potholder. Blend for 1 minute.
Material courtesy of Family Features