Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Baking Season Has Begun!

Baked a pumpkin pie like this one last weekend!
(Yes, already!)
I thought it might hold off a little longer yet, but I volunteered to bake a pumpkin pie this last weekend for a fundraising pie auction, and we're off to the races!

The pumpkin pie turned out perfectly (I forgot to take a picture of it, though ... darned it!), but it was a beauty and brought in a nice, tidy sum for my sister's nonprofit, the Healing Warriors Program.  It's October, and folks are in the mood for Pumpkin Pie.

In addition to the responsibilities associated with putting on the Star Spangled Gala benefit, Ana also baked a French Apple Pie, a Mount Vernon Cherry Pie, and a Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie (all the recipes can be found in our Book of Pies cookbook) for the event.  (She's a bit of an over-achiever.  😉)  They all brought on the hungry bidders!

In addition to that, those October winds blew down the remaining pears on my tree, and they were ripening fast on my kitchen counter.  I peeled and cored the ripest of the lot, and put the slices (drizzled with lemon juice) in the freezer for a later use.  A couple days later, the rest of the pears were ripe as well.  I was going to just add them to the bag in the freezer, but since it was Sunday, I decided to make pear muffins instead, as a nice addition to a Sunday brunch.

I hodge-podged together a basic muffin recipe, making the additions and substitutions I wanted until I had a batter that looked just right.  (Once you've been baking for a few years, you get a feel for when a batter seems right and when it doesn't.)

I knew that I wanted to add cardamom, because that particular spice just goes so well with pears, and I also used some light brown sugar because it just seemed right with the flavors, especially this time of year.

A half dozen big pear muffins (there's more in the oven)
cooling on a silicone mat-covered baking sheet.
I wanted the muffins to be wholesome and nutritious so I added oats, and used sprouted flour for half the quantity of the flour in my recipe.  I thought about adding some flax, as well, to amp up the goodness, and may do so next time.

We usually make muffins with a little bit of cream cheese, sour cream or buttermilk added in to ensure moistness (there's nothing worse than a dry muffin!), so for this recipe I used what I had on-hand ... some sour cream.

A dash of cinnamon and nutmeg rounded out the flavors, and I was ready to scoop out some big, brunch-worthy cardamom-spiced pear muffins!  Delicious!

What to do with all the muffins?  Share them, of course!
(Doesn't everyone keep bakery boxes on hand?)
I can just imagine myself reading a good book one of these chilly autumn nights in my nice, comfy chair with my faux-fur throw draped over me, keeping me warm, while I drink a cup of chai tea and snack on one of these flavorful muffins.  How perfect is that?  Muffins have a way of making us feel cared for and loved.

So, the baking season has arrived, and I see Halloween cookies and cupcakes, Thanksgiving pies, and lots of Christmas treats in my future!  I'll be testing out a new coffeecake recipe for one of these Holiday mornings, and looking forward to enjoying more of the beauty of this fall season that is upon us!

A beautiful and blessed autumn to all!


Enjoy previous fall seasonal blog posts:

Spine-Chilling Reads
Some good, scary books to curl up with on fright-night!
Tea Superstitions
Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble
Halloween Traditions
From pumpkin carving to hot apple cider, family traditions make holidays memorable!
Happy Halloween 
Making the holiday fun.
Recipes for the Season
Fall is the season for cooking ... time to collect some new recipes for the season!
Bucket List for Fall
Taking advantage of everything fall has to offer!
Fall Has Arrived
And we've got apples!
October Planning
Time to make lists ... menus, recipes, family reunions, Christmas cards, Christmas gifts, parties, special events, & carving time on the calendar.
Back to the Farm
Fall is the time to head to the farm to pick pumpkins, visit the animals, go on a hayride, and sip hot cocoa by a bonfire.
A Rustic Tart for Fall
A free-form tart or galette with layered wine-poached pears is a perfect dessert for fall.
Honoring Those Who Served
On Veterans Day and every day, this special group of people have much to give.
In Honor of Veterans Day
The suicide rate among our Veterans is sky high.  We can do something about that.
A Difficult Anniversary
A few years ago we lost our Mom.  It feels like it was just yesterday.  The anniversary of a great loss is always hard.
It's All About Family
Giving thanks and honoring those who came before.
Pumpkin Pie
Have you ever made a pie from fresh pumpkin instead of canned?  Do it!  It's not at all difficult and so worth it!
Can't stay out of the kitchen on Thanksgiving!
Counting our blessings ... may they always be plentiful and abundant.
Caring for Holiday Guests
Breakfast burritos can make you a winning host!
Black Friday
It's not just about shopping.  If you do it right, it can be about connecting, too.
Brandied Fruit
Time to put up your Brandied Fruit to marinate and mellow in time for the Holidays.

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