Posts Tagged ‘fall’

Cran-Ginger-Pumpkin Squares

I have been meaning for several years to come up with a ridiculous dessert that incorporates ALL of fall in one swoop: the spices, the pumpkin, the ginger, the nuts, the cranberries, the apples. This one comes pretty darned close and with some tweaks, we could make some room in the pan for all these players.

Inspired by Debbie Koenig’s Cranberry Snack cake, which is something of a riff on blondies, I set to work on something with pumpkin and cranberries. But did I stop there? Oh no, of course not. I kept on going until nearly every fall ingredient was included. Nearly. (Omitted: Nuts, which are easily added next time and apples, which I may just grate into the batter on second go-round.) This is dense and even better on the second day. If you want it to rise, I’d add 1/2 tsp. or less of baking soda, but that just opens another can of worms I’m not going to commit to here–fudgy vs. cakey brownies and blondies. Focus!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted organic butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 T. molasses
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup diced crystallized ginger
  • Demarara sugar or turbinado sugar, for dusting on top

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and either butter and flour a 8-inch square baking dish or press a sheet of foil into the dish and spray that with nonstick spray (it’s easier than buttering foil.)
2. Combine all the dry ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl (or via double boiler). Let it cool for a few minutes so that when you whisk in the egg, you don’t accidentally scramble it. Whisk in the egg for about 30 seconds, then add the brown sugar, molasses and pumpkin, whisking to combine. Fold in the dry ingredients, switching to a spatula for this part of the job. Add the cranberries and ginger and mix until it’s all just combined.
4. Using your spatula, spread the batter in the pan as evenly as you can. Sprinkle the demarara or turbinado sugar on top. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the middle is set and doesn’t look darker than the rest of it. (You want it solid and not gooey, but not overbaked.) Let it cool for 1/2 hour or so at least on a wire rack, and then cut into 9 roughly equal sized squares. Or, as is more common in my house, a haphazard fashion depending on who the recipient is. (There are always “Daddy-sized” portions at play here.)

13

11 2014

Pumpkin-Date Bread, or It’s Finally Fall

It’s fall, so that means it’s finally socially acceptable to commence drooling over all things pumpkin, including pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin beer. This bread is adapted from a recipe my friend Kelly gave me; I’ve cut back on the sugar, added wheat germ and flax and upped the spice amounts; I also added ginger. I know I’ve made this for her in a gluten free version (without the wheat germ of course) with a mix of flours and maybe 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum; I honestly can’t remember the specifics, though.

The way I’ve made it, it’s fairly healthy as far as quick breads go. I think I might make it with one cup of sugar the next time, just to see what happens. The flax and wheat germ up the nutritional profile here. Pumpkin contains some serious Vitamin A, some fiber, Vitamin C and iron; dates have some fiber, magnesium and B-6, which helps keep the bread moist. You could even add some chopped toasted walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts. This bread keeps well for a few days and it happens to be very good toasted and slathered with cream cheese.

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. wheat germ
  • 1 T. ground flax
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cloves
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup neutral oil (sunflower, grapeseed, canola; I used organic expeller pressed canola)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup chopped dates
  • Demarara or turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease and flour a 5 x 9 loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together all the dry ingredients (flour through cloves) in a medium bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugars, making sure no clumps of brown sugar remain (I like to break up brown sugar clumps with my fingers). Add the eggs, oil, pumpkin and vanilla, and whisk until all parts are combined completely. Gently fold in the flour and then the dates. Do not overmix. Sprinkle the top with the turbinado or demarara sugar.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean; a couple of crumbs are okay. Let it cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes and then remove from the pan to cool completely before cutting.

22

09 2014