Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes with Cranberries and Cream

We're still in a Thanksgiving mood around here.

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes
adapted from The Pancake Handbook

1 1/4 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground allspice
1/4 t ground ginger
3/4 c canned pumpkin puree
1 cup milk
2 eggs, separated
3 T dark brown sugar (yes, I used dark brown, but I'm sure light brown would be tasty)
2 T butter, melted
1/4 t salt

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, allspice, and ginger. In a separate bowl, combine the pumpkin, milk, egg yolks, brown sugar, butter and salt. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just to blend. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl. With an electric mixer, beat until the whites are stiff but not dry. Gently fold the whites into the batter, just until combined. Heat griddle to 300. Spray with cooking spray. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, flipping just once. Serve hot with Cranberries and Cream.

Cranberries and Cream

1 (16 oz) can whole-berry cranberry sauce, or 2 cups homemade cranberry sauce (I used canned)
1 cup sour cream

Combine and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until needed.

We also served these with Lindsey's Cinnamon Syrup. It is delicious on anything. Seriously, what wouldn't be improved by adding a stick of butter and some cinnamon?

Apple Crisp

10 granny smith apples, peeled & thinly sliced
1/2 c sugar
1/4 t salt
1 t cinnamon
1 c cold butter
1 c brown sugar
1 c flour
1 c oatmeal
1/4 t baking powder

Place apples in 9 by 13 inch baking pan, lightly coated with cooking spray. In a small bowl, combine sugar, salt and cinnamon. Sprinkle over apples. Place butter, brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, and baking powder in a large bowl. Cut together with a pastry cutter. Sprinkle over apples. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 40-45 minutes until topping is golden brown.
Serve with vanilla ice cream.We use a tool that looks like a medieval torture device that peels and slices and cores the apples in a snap.

Ginger Glazed Salmon

I won't get into all the terminology, but the cyclist is a vegetarian who eats milk, eggs, and fish. This has long been one of our favorite fish dishes.

Ginger-Glazed Salmon
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick)
3/4 cup apricot-pineapple preserves
2 T fresh lime juice
1 1/2 T Dijon mustard
2 1/2 t bottled fresh ginger
1 1/2 t minced garlic
1 1/2 t soy sauce
1/4 t each salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place salmon in 13 by 9 inch pan, coated with cooking spray. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over fish. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until fish flakes easily with fork. Serve extra sauce over rice or couscous.

Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

My sabbatical is over. Sunday brunch returns.

Cherry Streusel Coffee Cake

adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 cups flour
1 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups frozen sour cherries, thawed and drained well
Streusel (recipe follows)
Milk glaze (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter a 9-inch tube pan (I used an angel food cake pan), set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk together with wire whisk. Set aside.
In bowl of electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour. Beat until just combined, scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Spread about half of the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan. Arrange the cherries in a single layer on top of the batter. Avoid placing any cherries against the pan's edge as they may stick or burn if not fully encased in batter. Top with remaining batter, making sure it is evenly distributed. Smooth with offset spatula. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the batter.
Bake until the cake is golden brown and springs back when touched, 40-45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool 15 minutes. Invert eh cake onto the rack, then reinvert so streusel side is up and let it cool completely (if you can wait that long...smells GOOD!) Spoon the glaze over the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Let cake sit until the glaze is set (restraint people!), about 5 minutes, before serving.
Cake can be kept at room temperature, wrapped well in plastic, for up to 4 days. (Do you really think you'll have leftovers?)

1/2 c plus 1 T flour
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
pinch salt
3 T unsalted butter, room temperature

Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt in small bowl. Cut in butter using pastry blender or two knives.

Milk Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 T milk

Whisk together and immediately pour over cake.

We're anxious to try this with a variety of different berries.

Pizza Joint Breadsticks

This past weekend, we traveled to Southern Utah for a little getaway. Friday night, we went to a great pizza place. They served these breadsticks, swirled and baked on wooden sticks. Much more impressive than regular breadsticks that just lay there in a lame wicker basket. These sticks had personality.

The cyclist and I discussed how we could make these at home. I have a breadstick recipe that tastes great. It just needed a cosmetic make-over.

The cyclist had to engineer a device that would allow us to bake them on wooden dowels in our standard size oven without leaving a flat spot from sitting on a cooking sheet. They couldn't stand upright like they would in a commercial brick oven. He plotted and planned and 30 seconds later came up with a solution.

We have a three car garage. One side is full of bikes. Fortunately for this project, the other side is full of woodworking tools. No, my car is not parked in the middle, but we are making progress. He has recently moved his porcelain doll collection into the basement. Jenn and Kevin, come over some time, he's getting the curio cabinet all set up.

On his way home from work tonight, he made a quick stop by the home improvement store, spent under $3.00, and picked up some 5/16" dowels (he claims size doesn't matter), and found some scrap 2 by 4's in the garage. He used a hand drill and drilled the holes one drill bit size larger than the dowels (so they were 21/64ths).
If you don't have a handy husband or neighbor that can make this contraption for you, you can still make these breadsticks. Just bake them on the stick directly on a pan. If you don't have $3.oo and a ride to the hardware store to get the dowel, you could still make them without the stick. But if they are just going to lay there like boring breadsticks, the least you could do is line the lame wicker basket with a loud holiday print napkin.

1 T. Yeast
1½ cups warm water
3 cups flour
2 T. sugar
1/2 t. salt
Seasonings (we like "Chef Tom's", or garlic powder and Parmesan)

Preheat oven to 350*.
In bowl of electric mixer, fitted with dough hook, combine yeast, water, and 1 T sugar. Let sit for 3 minutes. Add remaining sugar, salt and flour. Mix on high for 3 minutes. Let rest 10 minutes. Divide dough into 5 equal pieces. Roll out like snakes. Spray dowels with cooking spray. Wrap dough around middle of stick. Place dowels in 2 by 4's over a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and season as desired. Rest 10 minutes. Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and mouth-watering.
If you are a mother I don't need to explain why this child is wearing a Halloween costume in the middle of November.

Serve with marinara sauce, ranch dressing or just eat it like corn on the cob.

Apple Fritters, or "From Scratch Challenge: The Third"

I'm excited to present another classic fall sweet. And I'm proud to say that it doesn't contain pumpkin!

When the cyclist put in his request for a homemade apple fritter months ago, I'll admit I was nervous. I'm not a great fryer. But the cyclist is charming. So here they are.

These take a bit of work, but I'm confident anyone who can follow directions can make them. Read the entire recipe before you start (I read it a couple of times).

You will use a vanilla bean-this was my first time. I found it in the spice aisle. It smelled divine.

Also, there is hot oil involved, so have a deep fry thermometer handy. And as with any recipe that's prone to spatter, it is not advised that you try them on a "naked cooking day".

The fritters are delicious while they are hot, but save a few to cool to room temperature. We couldn't decide which we loved best.

Apple Fritters

adapted from CDKitchen.com

Start to finish time: about 3 hours
Inactive prep (rising) time: 2 1/2 hours


2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
2/3 cup whole milk
3 1/4 cups plus 2 T unbleached flour
4 extra large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup sparkling apple cider
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract


1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean
7 granny smith apples, peeled and cubed
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup sparkling apple cider


1 cup plus 4 T powdered sugar, sifted
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt


To prepare the dough; place the yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, heat the milk until warm to the touch. Pour the milk over the yeast. Let soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of the flour to the milk mix, without stirring. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place, about 30 minutes.

In a small bowl combine the egg yolks and sugar. Add the cider, melted butter, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and 1 1/4 cups of the flour and mix until combined. Add this mix to the yeast. Using the paddle attachment of an electric mixer, mix on low for thirty seconds, then turn up to medium for about 1 minute. Add the remaining 2 Tablespoons of flour and mix on low for thirty seconds, then on medium for another thirty seconds. The dough will be very sticky.

Sift an even layer of flour onto the work surface; scrape the dough out of the bowl onto the work surface Clean the mixing bowl and lightly coat it with vegetable oil. Gather the dough and return it to the oiled bowl. Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and set aside in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

To prepare the apples, in a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Using a small paring knife, split the vanilla bean lengthwise. With the back of the knife, scrape out the pulp and the seeds of the vanilla bean and add the scrapings and the pod to the butter. Heat the butter until bubbly. Add the chopped apples, tossing to coat them with butter. Add the cinnamon and sugar, and saute 3 to 5 minutes until slightly softened. Add the vinegar and cider, and cook over medium high heat about 5 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean pod and place the apples on a baking sheet to cool.

Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and stretch into a rectangle about 1/2" thick. Spread half of the apples over the dough and fold into thirds like a business letter, by bringing the bottom up and the top down, patting with your hands to flatten slightly. Roll dough again to stretch it out slightly. Scatter the remaining apples on top and fold into thirds again. Gather the dough together by tucking under the edges and return it to the oiled bowl. Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

Heat the oil to 375.

Scrape the dough out onto a floured surface and gently roll or pat it into a rectangle about 1" thick, flouring the surface of the dough as necessary. Cut the dough with a pizza cutter into rough triangles. Stretch dough slightly. Let sit 10 minutes while you make the glaze.

To prepare the glaze, in a small stainless steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, combine the powdered sugar, cream, vanilla extract, and salt. Heat until just warm, stirring frequently. The glaze should be thin and translucent; if necessary, thin it down with more cream.

Drop fritters directly into the hot oil and fry until golden brown. Flip and fry second side.

Drain on paper towels and brush the fritters with glaze while they are warm.

Pumpkin Squares

Just so you know, I'm over feeling self conscious about my pumpkin obsession.


1 yellow cake mix (set aside one cup for the topping)--I like Duncan Hines
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg


1 (29 oz) can pumpkin
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ginger
1/2 t salt


1 cup of cake mix
2 T sugar
1 t cinnamon
4 T (half a stick) butter

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9 x 13 inch pan.

Combine crust ingredients and press into bottom of prepared pan.

Mix filling ingredients until smooth. Pour over crust.

Prepare topping by combining cake mix, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter until coarse crumbs form. Sprinkle over filling.

Bake 50 minutes, rotating pan halfway through if your oven needs it (mine gets a bit hotter in back, so I make a habit of rotating my baked goods). You'll know it's done when a cake tester comes out clean

Butternut Bisque

My favorite cooking magazine came in the mail yesterday. Without fail, I always find something wonderful to make. This bisque recipe caught my eye immediately.
It's a fairly simple soup to make. Peeling and chopping the butternut squash was a bit time consuming, but it was my first time working with it. After some trial and error, I found that the easiest way to prep the squash was to cut it in half lengthwise using a sharp, heavy duty knife, and scoop out the seeds and stringy stuff. Then slice the squash the short way into 1 inch slices. Set the slices on their sides and slice off the peel with the knife (using a vegetable peeler on the whole squash was messy, awkward, and left a little too much rind). Chop the slices into 1 inch cubes. If anyone has an easier method, please let me know. I am open to suggestions.
Awkward squash aside, this soup was delicious and well worth it. Perfect autumnal flavor. I'm still enjoying a little time in my rut.

Butternut Bisque
From Everyday Food
serves 12

3 T butter
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t cayenne pepper, plus more for garnish
coarse salt
1 large butternut squash (about 4 lbs), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 can (14.5 oz) chicken broth (I use vegetable broth. You know, for the cyclist.)
1 cup half-and-half
3 cups water
1 T fresh lemon juice
Sour cream, for serving

In a large saucepan, heat butter over medium. Add onion, garlic, thyme, cinnamon, and cayenne. Season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened 5-7 minutes.
Add squash, broth, half-and-half, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, and cook until squash is tender, about 20 minutes.
Working in batches, puree in a blender until smooth. Stir in lemon juice; season with salt.
Serve bisque with sour cream, garnished with cayenne if desired.
Martha says this soup freezes well. Ladle cooled bisque (without sour cream) into airtight containers, leaving 1 inch of space. Freeze up to 3 months. To reheat, run container under hot water to release bisque. Heat with a bit of water, stirring occasionally.

We ate this for #4's soup party.