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Entries in recipes (677)

Sunday
Sep282014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Very Vanilla Lemon Tarts

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

I will go ahead and tell you a secret right here and right now. Here goes:

I prefer vanilla to chocolate.

It's true. And Antoinette Leal of Ridgefield, Connecticut, hears me. She must: she created this recipe for Very Vanilla Lemon Tarts which will be featured at the Bake-Off! Starting with ready-made pie crust, these pastries are sweet and tart bliss. Good luck at the Bake-Off, Antoinette!

Very Vanilla Lemon Tarts

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 55 Min
  • Makes: 8 tarts

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup lemon curd (from 10-oz jar)
  • 6 teaspoons clear vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons powdered sugar
  • 1 box Pillsbury refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
  • 1 egg, well beaten 2
  • lemons (2 teaspoons grated peel, 2 teaspoons juice and 8 lemon peel curls)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. In small bowl, mix lemon curd and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla; set aside. In another small bowl, mix ricotta cheese, 4 teaspoons of the powdered sugar and 2 teaspoons of the vanilla; set aside.
  2. Unroll pie crusts on work surface; roll each crust to 12-inch circle. With pizza cutter or knife, cut each crust into 8 wedges. Place 4 wedges on each cookie sheet.
  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon lemon curd mixture in center of each wedge on cookie sheets; top with 1 tablespoon ricotta mixture. Spread to within 1/2 inch of edges. Brush edges of crust with egg. Top with remaining pie crust wedges. Press edges with fork to seal. Prick tops of tarts 4 to 5 times with fork. Brush tops of tarts lightly with egg.
  4. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling rack.
  5. Meanwhile, in small bowl, mix remaining 1/4 cup powdered sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons vanilla, the lemon peel and lemon juice until smooth. Spread glaze over warm tarts; garnish with lemon peel curls. Serve warm. Store covered.
Saturday
Sep272014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

I famously consider muffins a waste of my time. My primary issue: they are just not cake.

However, every now and again a muffin comes along that I feel as if I could fit into my diet and life without much issue. Well, it certainly helps that Anna Zovko of Tampa, Florida includes sugar cookie dough in the batter! Plus, there is glaze. Now that's my kind of muffin.

Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Cinnamon-Pumpkin Muffins

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 5 Min
  • Makes: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • 3/4 cup self-rising flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese creamy ready-to-spread frosting

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Place baking cups in each of 12 regular-size muffin cups.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add eggs and pumpkin. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed about 1 minute or until well blended. Add flour and 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon; beat on low speed about 30 seconds or until blended. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  3. In small bowl, mix sugar and remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon until blended. Sprinkle rounded 1/4 teaspoon sugar mixture over batter in each muffin cup.
  4. Bake 18 to 28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 3 minutes; remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool at least 15 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, place frosting in medium resealable food-storage plastic bag. Cut off small corner of bag. Squeeze bag to drizzle frosting over each muffin. Store covered.

 

Friday
Sep262014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Hot Chocolate-Marshmallow Cookies


CakeSpy Note: 
OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

What's better than hot chocolate with melty marshmallows? A cookie accompaniment, of course. These tasty treats take all the best parts of a hot chocolate experience and condense it into cookie form. The recipe was dreamed up by Sarah Meuser of New Milford, Connecticut...and on behalf of everyone, everywhere, I say "thank you"...and good luck at the Bake-Off!

Hot Chocolate-Marshmallow Cookies

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 55 Min
  • Makes: 12 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground Saigon Cinnamon
  • 6 large marshmallows, cut in half

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add hazelnut spread, cocoa, chili powder and cinnamon. Beat with electric mixer on low speed about 2 minutes or until well blended.
  3. Shape dough into 12 (2-inch) balls. Flatten each ball into 3-inch round. Shape 1 cookie dough round around 1 marshmallow half, covering completely. Repeat with remaining dough rounds and marshmallows. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets.
  4. Bake 10 to 13 minutes or until surface of cookie appears cracked and marshmallow shows through. Cool 5 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool 5 minutes. Serve warm. Store tightly covered.
Thursday
Sep252014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Cherry-Orange Pull-Apart Breakfast Bread

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

I'll tell you what including cherries and orange in your breakfast bread means. That means it is health food. 

 But the best kind of health food ever, because it's accompanied by a generous amount of sugar and almond extract to make a dreamy carbohydratey treat! This feat of breakfast brilliance was dreamed up by Maria Rokas of San Francisco, California. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Cherry-Orange Pull-Apart Breakfast Bread

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 40 Min
  • Makes: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel (from 2 oranges)
  • 2 cans Pillsbury refrigerated thin pizza crust
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Almond Extract

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. In small microwavable bowl, microwave 1/4 cup of the butter uncovered on High 30 to 50 seconds or until melted. Line bottom of 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper. Lightly brush bottom and sides with small amount of the melted butter.
  2. In small bowl, mix granulated sugar, cherries and orange peel; set aside. Unroll 1 can of dough on work surface; press to form 16x12-inch rectangle. With pizza cutter or sharp knife, cut crosswise into 4 rows to make 4 (12x4-inch) rectangles. Brush rectangles with some of the remaining melted butter. Working quickly, sprinkle 1 rectangle with 1 rounded tablespoon sugar mixture.
  3. Top with another dough rectangle, butter side down. Brush top of rectangle with some of the butter, and sprinkle with 1 rounded tablespoon sugar mixture. Repeat with remaining 2 rectangles.
  4. With sharp knife, cut stack crosswise into 5 (4x2 1/2-inch) stacks. Carefully place small stacks, cut side down, in loaf pan. Repeat with remaining can of dough, sugar mixture and melted butter. Brush any remaining butter over top of loaf.
  5. Bake 45 to 55 minutes or until deep golden brown, covering with foil, if necessary, to prevent excess browning.
  6. Cool 15 minutes in pan on cooling rack. Run knife around sides of pan to loosen bread. Remove from pan to cooling rack set over a sheet of parchment paper or foil. Meanwhile, in medium microwavable bowl, microwave remaining 1/4 cup butter uncovered on High 30 to 50 seconds or until melted.
  7. Add the powdered sugar and almond extract; mix until smooth. Brush icing over breakfast bread. Serve warm.
Wednesday
Sep242014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Triple Ginger-Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events).

Thanks to enterprising bakers such as Amy's Bread and Momofuku, cornmeal in cookies is no longer a strange thing--in fact, it's an anticipated and delicious thing. You've probably even heard of them.

But you've never seen cornmeal cookies like these. Jennifer Gentry of Steamboat Springs, Colorado takes the concept several steps further with the zing of three types of ginger (!) and lemon. With a rich, sugar cookie dough base, these cookeis are a sweet treat indeed. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Triple Ginger-Lemon-Cornmeal Cookies

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 1 Hr 5 Min
  • Makes: 16 cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 roll Pillsbury refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/2 cup stone-ground or yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup (about 3 oz) finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped gingerroot
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground Ginger

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line 2 cookie sheets with Reynolds® Parchment Paper.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add remaining ingredients. Mix with wooden spoon, or knead with hands until well blended.
  3. Shape dough into 16x2-inch log. Cut dough into 1-inch slices with sharp knife. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
  4. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until center is set and edges are dry to the touch. Cool 2 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 10 minutes. Store covered.
Tuesday
Sep232014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Orange-Glazed Biscones

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events).

Riddle me this: what's a biscone? Well, according to Gina Fugazzi of Centennial, Colorado, they're the tasty meeting place of biscuit and scone. This recipe starts with biscuits from a tube, which are sweetened up with some honey, fruit, butter, and flavoring to make a delightful breakfast bite. 

Good luck at the Bake-Off, Gina!

Orange-Glazed Biscones

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 55 Min
  • Makes: 8 biscones

Ingredients

  • 1 can Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Layers refrigerated honey butter biscuits (8 biscuits)
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Orange Extract
  • 1 medium orange (1/4 teaspoon grated peel and 2 to 3 tablespoons juice)

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Separate dough into 8 biscuits on work surface; sprinkle with apricots and cranberries. Gather biscuits and fruit into a ball. Knead lightly 8 to 12 times until fruit is incorporated (do not overmix).
  2. Press into 10-inch round. With sharp knife, cut into 8 wedges. Place wedges 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Lightly brush tops of wedges with 1 tablespoon of the melted butter.
  3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cooling rack. Cool 15 minutes.
  4. In small bowl, mix powdered sugar, orange extract, orange peel, orange juice and remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter with whisk until smooth and thin enough to drizzle. Drizzle glaze over biscones. Store covered.
Monday
Sep222014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Waffles

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

Using chocolate chip cookie dough to make waffles? It simply baffles the mind!

These clever waffles come together from a base of (gluten-free) cookie dough with just a few ingredients added to give it a more waffle-batter like consistency. The resulting treats? Well, let's say brunch is gonna rule at your house this weekend, or any weekend you make them. This recipe is courtesy of Julee Shapiro of Los Angeles. Good luck at the Bake-Off!

Peanut Butter-Chocolate Chip Waffles

  • Prep Time: 30 Min
  • Total Time: 30 Min
  • Makes: 6 servings; 2 (4-inch) waffles each

Ingredients

  • 1 container Pillsbury Gluten Free refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped
  • 3 tablespoons honey

Procedure

  1. Heat waffle maker. (Waffle maker without a nonstick coating may need to be brushed with vegetable oil or non-stick spray before batter for each waffle is added.) Let cookie dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften.
  2. In large bowl, break up cookie dough. Add milk, peanut butter, oil and eggs. Beat with electric mixer on medium speed 2 to 3 minutes, scraping sides as needed, until well blended.
  3. To make waffles, pour 1/4 cup batter onto each waffle section. (Check manufacturer’s directions for recommended amount of batter.) Close lid of waffle maker.
  4. Bake about 5 minutes or until steaming stops. Carefully remove waffle. Serve waffles topped with whipped cream and drizzled with honey.
Thursday
Sep182014

Pillsbury Bake-Off Countdown: Decadent Chocolate Chip Cake

CakeSpy Note: OMG! It's getting to be that time of year again. The Pillsbury Bake-Off is coming in November! Since I so deeply loved attending the 45th Bake-Off as well as the 46th Bake-Off, I thought I would get you excited the 47th one early by sharing all of the sweet recipes in the running. I will focus on sweets! You can follow them by clicking the bakeoff tag below to see the recipes posted so far (as well as recipes from previous Bake-Off events). 

Listen, I eat gluten. But if something is well made and happens to be devoid of the stuff, I'm not going to turn away a slice or ten. This recipe, courtesy of April Timboe of Siloam Springs, Arkansas starts with gluten-free chocolate chip cookie dough, which is then doctored to make a dense, decadent chocolate chip cake. If you are gluten-free, this is a very good thing. It's very good even if you're not!

Decadent chocolate chip cake

  • Prep Time: 20 Min
  • Total Time: 2 Hr 5 Min
  • Makes: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 container Pillsbury Gluten Free refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons powdered sugar

Procedure

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Let dough stand at room temperature 10 minutes to soften. Line bottom of 9-inch round cake pan (dark pan not recommended) with parchment paper; lightly spray bottom and side of pan with no-stick Cooking Spray.
  2. Meanwhile, in large bowl, beat eggs, granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla with electric mixer on medium-high speed about 2 minutes or until pale yellow and doubled in volume. Break up cookie dough, add to egg mixture; beat 1 minute, scraping bowl occasionally, until well blended. Pour into pan; cover loosely with Reynolds Wrap® Aluminum Foil. Bake 15 minutes. Remove foil.
  3. Bake 23 to 30 minutes longer or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 30 minutes; run knife around side of pan to loosen cake. Remove from pan to serving plate.
  4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips and 1/4 cup of the whipping cream uncovered on High 40 to 50 seconds, stirring once, until chips can be stirred smooth. Pour and spread evenly over top of cake. Refrigerate about 30 minutes or until chocolate is set.
  5. In large bowl, beat remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla and the powdered sugar with electric mixer on high speed until soft peaks form. Serve cake with whipped cream.
Tuesday
Sep162014

Short and Sweet: Shortbread Nanaimo Bars

It's a fact: Nanaimo bars are a practically perfect foodstuff. 

Gifted to the world from a blue collar city not too far from Vancouver, these bars are the stuff of dreams. If you've never heard of them, a brief intro to the classic version: 

  • The top layer is a solid chocolatey layer, which is firm but not hard.
  • The middle layer is a buttery, frosting-y, creamy, custard-y stuff that is so much the opposite of low-fat that it makes you want to weep with pleasure.
  • The bottom layer is a sturdy, tightly packed layer of chocolate, graham cracker and coconut, bound together with melted butter.
That is to say--super yum.

As much of a classic as they are, though, I think I have finally figured out the way to make them better: I ditched the traditional graham crackers in the crust and swapped in shortbread instead. I had the idea for these bars when I was contacted by Walkers Shortbread to make a recipe for their site. They offered to pay me for a recipe and send me samples of the shortbread to bake with, so I figured it had to be a good one. Time to call in the Nanaimo bar aces! 

Shortbread and Nanaimo bars: both practically perfect.

So what happens when you combine two practically perfect foodstuffs in one recipe? Oh, my word. Amazing things. The crust has a distinct shortbread crunch and touch of saltiness which elevates the bars from great to "omigod how quickly can I eat my weight in these?". Promise me that you will make them, and the sooner the better. You'll thank me, and so will every single person you share them with.

Shortbread

Here's how to make this magic happen in your own home.

Shortbread Nanaimo Bars

Makes 16-24 bars, depending on how you slice 'em

Ingredients:

For the bottom layer

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

  • 4 tablespoons cocoa

  • 1 large egg, beaten

  • 1 cup shredded sweetened coconut

  • 14-16 fingers finely crumbled Walkers shortbread (each package has 8; I used 14 and snacked on the remaining two, but you can have willpower and use both packages for the crust if you prefer)

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts this time)

For the middle layer

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons Bird’s Custard Powder, or substitute vanilla pudding powder (instant)

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the top layer

  • 4 ounces chocolate, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Step 1: Prepare the bottom layer.

Melt the butter and cocoa in a double boiler until fully incorporated, but do not let the mixture come to a boil. Add the beaten egg and stir constantly until the mixture begins to thicken, less than 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the cookie crumbs, coconut and nuts.


Press down firmly into a greased 8″ by 8″ pan; try to make the mixture as flat as possible in the pan. Let this cool for about 20 minutes in the refrigerator.


Step 2: Prepare the middle layer.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream, custard powder and confectioners’ sugar together until very light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes.


Spread over the bottom layer, taking care to spread it as flat and evenly as possible. I like using a pastry scraper to do this.


Basically, the flatter this level, the flatter the chocolate will lie on the top. Return the pan to the refrigerator while you prepare the topping.

Step 3: Prepare the top layer.

In a medium saucepan or double boiler, melt the chocolate over medium heat, stirring often to ensure that the mixture doesn’t scorch. Remove from heat. Let sit until the mixture is still liquid but very thick, then pour it over the second (middle) layer and gently spread it with a spatula to ensure even coverage.


Note: Work carefully, because the still-warm chocolate will get messy if you press too hard while spreading it and tear up the buttery layer below.

Be sure to score the tops of the bars before the chocolate totally sets on top. This will make slicing them much easier later.


Typically, Nanaimo bars are sliced in fingers rather than squares. You can slice them any way you like, of course (and to prove that point I did them in squares this time because I wanted bigger bars and fewer servings), but for an authentic look, split into eight rows in one direction and six rows the other way, so that they are slightly elongated when sliced.

Let the chocolate set on the bars, then place in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes before serving. Run a knife under hot water and then dry off before slicing; this will help the knife go through the bars easily. Clean the knife frequently between cuts.

Have you ever heard of a dreamier food than this?

Saturday
Sep132014

What is Pumpkin Pie Spice? Recipe, Lore, and More.

With the season of fall baking upon us, I have one big question before I break out the stand mixer:

What is pumpin pie spice, anyway?

You've definitely tasted it, and you've more than likely seen it listed in the myriad of fall themed recipes that abound at this time of year. Pumpkin pie spice is a melange of spices that instantly evokes the taste of fall: it's the flavor equivalent of driving along a stretch of fiery fall foliage, apple picking at an orchard, the crisp air as you pull a fuzzy sweater over your head. 

In a technical sense, it is a mixture of warming spices, typically composed of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice. 

The history of using spices to fancy up pumpkin is nothing new. It dates back to the times of the pilgrim. Pumpkin was a staple crop in the new world, and they were pretty much forced to develop a taste for it. Early on, pumpkin preparation often involved the whole gourd, stuffed with apples, spices, and sugar, and then baked whole. While the shell was eventually discarded, the spices remained a constant, giving a distinct flavor to an otherwise somewhat bland food.

So...why these particular spices? Well, spices were a big deal in the colonies: spice trading was a huge part of commerce in the middle ages and right on through colonial days. Spices were used not only as a taste enhancer, but as a preservative and for food safety--many spices have antimicrobial properties. Here's a brief review of the spices in question, created with much help from this list:

Allspice

Remember columbus's discovery of America, kind of by accident? That was a spice journey, and among the finds in the new world was Allspice. It kind of tastes like a mixture of cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg was long prized for its healthful qualities. It was also the subject of trickery--at seaports, peddlers would sell small wood carvings made to look like nutmeg pods for a dishonest profit. This is said to be why Connecticut is known as the "Nutmeg State".

Ginger

Hailing from Jamaica, ginger would have been known to settlers: it had come to Europe as early as 1585, and had long been used as part of gingerbread, and renowned for its curative and preservative properties. 

Cloves

Cloves were an early West Indies discovery: their smell is so intense they can be detected from a distance. They not only added a delicious scent to food, but could also be used as a natural moth repellent.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon was a valuable spice to colonists: not only did it enhance flavor and add a warming quality to food, but it had a variety of curative properties. Used as a digestive aid, anappetite stimulant, and even a cure for colds, cinnamon was a prized spice

How it came together

I have not been able to find specific mention of who first had the idea to put these spices together and call it "pumpkin pie spice". But if I may surmise...

It seems in my research that all of these spices were basically in the right place at the right time. They were all being used actively in baking by the time the first spice mill in the US was founded in Boston in 1821. Through this, pre-packaged spices (including mixes) were available as one of the first "convenience foods". (source

It seems to me that once the spices were being mass produced, the natural next step would be sales and marketing--and I have a hunch that this is where the "pumpkin pie spice" angle might have come into play. The first mention I was able to find of "pumpkin pie spice" listed in print was in this 1916 edition of Baker's Review, a trade publication.

Please, do correct me if I'm wrong here or if you're able to find anything more concrete!

Interestingly, while the components of pumpkin pie spice can be used for a number of other baking projects--spice cookies, cakes, sprinkled atop cappuccinos, or even sifted through a stencil for a cake or cookie decoration, its most famous use, very largely owing to the name, is in pumpkin pie.

With the classic flavor of pumpkin pie (thanks to the spice, of course) in mind, I'll finish with this poem, and then a recipe for pumpkin pie spice that you can make at home. 

What moistens the lip and what brightens the eye,
What calls back the past, like the rich Pumpkin pie?

- John Greenleaf Whittier

And OK, here's the recipe.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Pumpkin Spice Recipe 

  • 1/3 cup ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice

Mix the above together until completely combined, and place in an airtight jar. Use as garnish, as part of recipes calling for pumpkin pie spice, or to sprinkle atop lattes. 

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