It’s Time to Bake
Fall officially began with the recent autumn equinox when our days and nights became equal in length, accompanied by cooling temps. In the South, however, we typically recognize the arrival of fall by the presence of two things – football and comfort food.
Personally, I enjoy the changing of the leaves and turning my iced coffee back into a pumpkin spice-infused hot mug of joe. It seems like every coffee shop carries pumpkin spice flavoring this time of year, but have you ever considered making it yourself? It will certainly save you money, but, more importantly, tastes far superior and lacks those ever-present preservatives and artificial colors. Pumpkin pie spice is a fall pantry staple and is a great base for all of your fall baking recipes. Bake along with me and experience the fall season through your taste buds!
– Jaime Stone is a New England native, but feels blessed to call Georgia home since 2015.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
• 3 tablespoons cinnamon
• ½ teaspoon ginger
• ½ teaspoon nutmeg
• ½ teaspoon allspice
• ½ teaspoon cloves
Blend together all ingredients in a spice grinder or with a whisk and store in a tightly sealed jar. This blend is delicious in coffee, ice cream, banana bread, baked goods, pumpkin or apple pie, and more!
Pumpkin Spice Syrup
• 1 cup water
• 1 cup brown sugar
• ¼ cup plain canned pumpkin
• 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice (above)
To make a delicious cup of coffee in your own kitchen, simmer all ingredients in a pot on the stove until it is slightly reduced and will coat the back of a spoon. Allow it to cool before putting in a jar and refrigerating. I love a teaspoon-full of this in my cup of coffee or espresso to replace sweetener.
Apple Cider Coffee Cake Muffins
• ½ cup apple cider concentrate
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• ½ cup packed brown sugar
• ¼ cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder
• ¼ teaspoon baking soda
• ½ teaspoon salt
• 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (below)
• 1 tablespoon lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• ⅓ cup brown sugar
• ⅓ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (below)
• ½ stick of butter, melted
• 1 cup flour
Start by making the crumble topping. Whisk melted butter into both sugars and spice. Add flour, break up the mixture with a fork and place in the fridge to cool.
For the muffins, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring 1 cup of apple cider to a boil on the stovetop, then reduce to a simmer until reduced to ½ cup. Place a wooden spoon over the pot to keep from boiling over. While that’s cooling, beat the stick of butter until creamy and light, then add both sugars and beat for an additional three minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. In a separate bowl, sift or whisk together all dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice). Add the lemon juice and vanilla to cooled, reduced apple cider. Alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients into the mixing bowl with butter and sugar until everything is incorporated and moistened. Do not overmix.
Spray your muffin pan well with cooking spray, or use liners, then scoop the mixture in evenly. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the muffins, pressing it lightly into the batter as you go. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy the muffin dunked into your pumpkin spice coffee, and don’t forget to share!