Spiced Applesauce Pound Cake

applesauce-cake

I have always been more of a pound cake baker than a layer cake baker.  I’m not sure exactly why.  Maybe it’s because they are just so darn easy and they tend to get better with time.  My favorite pound cake recipes seem to get moister the longer they sit.

Here’s a wonderfully moist cake that I love making this time of the year.  I prefer to use my homemade applesauce but any applesauce will work.  It is not only delicious but it is lovely when sprinkled with powdered sugar and would be beautiful on a holiday dessert table!

Spiced Applesauce Pound Cake
 
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Ingredients
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 2¾ c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 c. no-sugar applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10-cup bundt pan well and place it on a large baking pan, set aside.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg in a large bowl.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer beat together butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Alternate adding the flour mixture and the applesauce, beginning and ending with the flour mixture, being careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Place the baking pan/bundt pan onto middle rack in preheated oven. Bake 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.
  5. Cool completely before inverting on a cake plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

 

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Pumpkin Scones

 

 

pumpkin scones 008

 

Fall decorations are everywhere you turn now. In the little town near where I live there are festively painted round hay bales on every corner, scarecrows, cornstalks, and pumpkins! The first day of fall was almost a month ago, and stores and coffee shops have had their pumpkin flavored goodies available for weeks. I thought it was high time that I share a pumpkin recipe with you. There is something about fall that brings out a craving for all things spicy and pumpkin scones are high on that list of cravings for me.

These scones have the perfect amount of sweetness, spice, and pumpkin. They are delicious for breakfast with a cup of coffee or as an afternoon snack. They are best the day they are baked so surprise a neighbor or coworker with a few of these tasty treats.  They will be a million times better than anything you’ll find at the coffee shop and cheaper too!

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Pumpkin Scones
 
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Ingredients
  • Scones:
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. ground cloves
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, frozen, and grated with a cheese grater
  • ½ c. pumpkin puree
  • ½ c. whipping cream
  • 1 lg. egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Glaze:
  • 1 c. confectioners' sugar
  • ¼ c. whipping cream
  • Spiced Glaze:
  • 1 c. confectioners' sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp. ground ginger
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 3 tbsp. whipping cream
Instructions
  1. For the scones:
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  4. Place the butter in the freezer for about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from freezer and shred, using a cheese grater. Return the shredded butter to the freezer until you are ready to use.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, whipping cream, egg, and vanilla.
  7. Add the frozen shredded butter to the flour mixture and toss with fingers to coat with flour.
  8. Stir in the pumpkin mixture just to combine. Transfer dough to a well-floured board and dust top with additional flour. Working quickly, knead the dough a few times. Flatten, using your fingers, and roughly shape into a 9-inch x 4-inch rectangle.
  9. Cut crosswise in the middle, then again in the middle of each piece. Cut each piece diagonally into two triangles. Place on prepared pan.
  10. Bake 10 to 12 minutes in preheated oven. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes.
  11. In the meantime mix up the glaze mixtures. Brush the first "plain" glaze onto each scone using a pastry brush. Cool for a few minutes.
  12. Spoon spiced glaze into a ziptop bag. Snip off a small section of the corner of the bag. Pipe the spiced glaze on top of the glazed scones.
  13. Allow glaze to air dry at room temperature then serve.

 

 

 

 

 

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Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes

twice baked sweet potato

There are so many wonderful ways to enjoy sweet potatoes.  Sweet or savory, baked hot from the oven with butter alone, in a pie, casserole, or soup.  Here is another great way to serve sweet potatoes…twice baked.  This is a sweeter version but you can also make a savory twice baked sweet potatoes.  Scoop out baked sweet potato pulp, sauté some chopped shallots in butter, add to potato with crumbled fried bacon, maybe a little rosemary, and feta.  Yum!!

This sweet potato is a delicious mixture of spices, butter and brown sugar.  In fact, this would be a perfect dessert in my opinion!  I didn’t have an orange, but a little orange zest would be perfect in this blend.  If you are looking for something different for Thanksgiving a platter of petite twice baked sweet potatoes would be so cute!

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Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
 
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Ingredients
  • 4 medium-size sweet potatoes
  • ¼ c. light brown sugar (or adjust to taste)
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • ½ stick unsalted butter
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • vegetable oil
  • ½ c. chopped pecans
  • 3 tbsp. light brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.
  2. Lightly scrub the sweet potatoes under running water. Lightly coat the potato with vegetable oil. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake until tender.
  3. Remove from oven (do not turn the oven off at this point), and allow potatoes to cool slightly before cutting off the top third of the potatoes lengthwise. Scoop out flesh using a large spoon (leave enough all the way around so that the skin holds its shape) and reserve bases.
  4. Add the potato flesh, ¼ c. brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cayenne pepper, and butter to food processor. Process until the ingredients are completely combined and the puree is smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Spray roasting pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place the potato skins upright on pan and fill with mixture.
  5. Combine pecans and 3 tbsp. brown sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle on top of each stuffed potato. Bake 10 minutes. Finish the potatoes under the broiler for the top to brown, 1 minute, if desired.

 

 

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Vanilla Chai Tea Mix

I love this time of year!  Cooler nights & mornings bring the promise of sweater weather in the not to distant future.  I start to think about and plan for the holidays.  I made homemade chicken broth last week to put into the freezer for my Thanksgiving dressing.  Greg’s grandmother always told me that dressing is better made ahead and frozen so the flavors meld together.  So, I’ll be pulling my chicken broth out of the freezer to make dressing in the next week or so.  Although I may buy a Christmas gift or two throughout the year, this is the time of year I seriously start thinking about it.  In fact, I’ve bought several things over the past couple of weeks.

My menu changes when fall is in the air too.  I cook chili & soups, I start to make lattes and spiced cider.  I found this recipe for Vanilla Chai Mix on Christy Jordan’s blog, Southern Plate.  I love it hot, but you can also serve it over ice.  I’m thinking that you could package this really cute for a great Christmas gift!

 

Vanilla Chai Tea Mix
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 c. powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 1 c. sugar free French Vanilla powdered non-dairy creamer
  • 2½ c. sugar or Splenda
  • 1½ c. unsweetened instant tea
  • 2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp. cardamon
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • ¼ tsp. white pepper
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients into a food processor or large blender. Blend until the mixture is consistency of fine powder. Store in airtight container.
  2. To make Vanilla Chai tea, add 2 heaping tbsp. of the mix to 8 oz. of hot water.
  3. Makes about 6 cups of mix.
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