I left my local produce market the other day with no less than ten pounds of apples. Apples for eating, loads of home-made applesauce, maybe a galette or two, and yes, apple fritters….
The smell of warm spices coming from the kitchen is one of my favorite things about fall. This spiced pumpkin butter will warm up your house and anything you smear it on!
I love making things from scratch. A few years ago, I made it a personal goal to make everything I could from scratch for a couple of months. I decided I wouldn’t buy any food that I could make myself. You name it, I made it: crackers, bread, jam, broth, and marshmallows, just to name a few. And while my experiment made me grateful for some of modern life’s conveniences–let’s face it, homemade tortilla chips are delicious, but I don’t want to make them every time I want some salsa–it also renewed my love of making all sorts of things from scratch. I still do it for many of my pantry items to this day.
Spiced pumpkin butter falls into that category. You could buy it from the store, but when you make it at home, it’s just so much better. When you make it at home, you know exactly what’s in it. No crazy amounts of sugar or weird stabilizers and preservatives. Just simple, natural ingredients. In just a few minutes, you can throw all of the ingredients together in one saucepan. Then, after some soothing pot stirring, the mixture cooks down until it’s thickened and darker in color. Easy as that. You’ve got a jar of home made spiced pumpkin butter to use on whatever your heart desires.
This homemade spiced pumpkin butter is full of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg and sweetened with a little maple syrup and natural apple juice. It’s a great way to add a little fall flavor to your everyday. It’s delicious spread on toast & bagels. Spice up your pancakes, waffles or french toast with a spoonful! If you’re still in the mood to make something homemade to go along with this homemade pumpkin butter, I think it would go particularly well with my maple pepper drop biscuits.
I’m brainstorming some fun ways to use this pumpkin butter–maybe pumpkin butter cinnamon rolls! or doughnuts! I’m not sure yet, but stay tuned. Next week, I’ll have something delicious for you that will go perfectly with this recipe.
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This spiced pumpkin butter is perfect for fall. It's full of warm spices, and lightly sweetened with maple syrup. Perfect for adding a little fall flavor to your toast, biscuits, or even pancakes!
With a rubber spatula, stir together all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat until it begins to bubble. Reduce to low and allow the mixture to simmer for about twenty minutes. You want it to bubble here and there, so adjust the temperature up or down as needed.
Once the mixture has reduced and thickened a lot, taste and add more maple syrup, lemon juice, or salt as needed. Cool completely. Store in an airtight jar for up to two weeks. Spread on toast, scones, biscuits, or use as a filling in buns or rolls. Enjoy!
Last week, I began to ease into Autumn with my maple pepper drop biscuits. But this week, it officially feels like Fall. There’s no endless summer here in England and today is proof. It’s dark and chilly, the wind storm Ali is raging outside. I’ve lit my candle, I’m drinking spiced tea, and I’ve put pumpkin scones in the oven.
I found the recipe in a box last time I visited my mom. I found this “sour cream coffee cake” on a small piece of notebook paper which was hand written in my Mamaw’s slanted cursive and had her name scrawled across the top corner of the page.
Every Thanksgiving of my childhood was spent at my grandparents’ house. We would drive up to their place on Wednesday and my Mom and Mamaw would spend the day preparing. I didn’t spend much time in the kitchen when I was young, but I could always be called upon to help Mamaw with the preparation for Thanksgiving morning sticky buns.
The buns we made were a tradition. Mamaw had clipped the recipe from a newspaper when I was around eight years old and every year from then on out I eagerly helped her assemble the sticky buns. The night before Thanksgiving I would dig out the pretty bundt pan that was used solely for this occasion; grab a packet of instant butterscotch pudding mix & dig through the freezer for two bags of frozen dinner rolls. Yep, these were cheater sticky buns–assembly only. Mamaw loved a quick & easy recipe from the newspaper. We’d read the recipe together and I’d go about layering the buttery spiced pudding mix, rolls and chopped pecans while Mamaw supervised and cheered me on as she sipped her glass of wine. The buns would sit on the kitchen counter overnight to rise. When I woke up the next morning, it was like magic seeing how those frozen rolls had risen overnight. They looked like light fluffy little clouds dotted with the caramel-y pecan goodness.
After baking and being turned out onto a plate, the mountain of sticky buns would sit on the kitchen counter where they would be picked apart and snacked on throughout the day while all the other preparations were made for our late afternoon meal. I learned much later that these buns were what most people call ‘Monkey Bread’, but I continue to label them sticky buns for the sake of nostalgia. I do not, however, continue to used pudding mix and frozen rolls. While it might be the easier way, I enjoy making yeasted baked goods and I think Mamaw would concur that the flavor and texture of these buns would be a far superior beginning to your Thanksgiving Day or really any special day for that matter.
Over the past 7 years Sam and I have crafted our own Thanksgiving celebrations with different friends, around different tables, in different states & even countries. Some years it’s been just the two of us, others we’ve hosted or we’ve spent the holiday at a friend’s place. As a result we’ve not really settled on any of our own traditions but embraced other’s tables and a mixed collaboration which brings me a lot of joy. I’ve loved every year and all of the traditions we’ve been able to take part in.
This year our Thanksgiving looked different yet again. Sam had a conference stateside in the days leading up to the holiday, so we took the opportunity to visit his side of the family. The day consisted of friends and family, catching up with everyone, and every conceivable kind of Thanksgiving food. The day was special in many ways, not least of all that it was the first Thanksgiving in years that either of us have spent with family.
It was the first time since I started helping with the sticky buns at the age of eight that I’ve not had something to contribute–a pie, a galette, green bean casserole, something! It felt strange and foreign coming to the Thanksgiving table empty handed but I was welcome nonetheless by gracious hosts with warm hearts.
We returned to our home in Manchester a few days after all the celebration. It had been a long time since I’d made sticky buns. The tradition fell away as Mamaw aged. The holiday spirit lingered with me this year and I felt like I needed this recipe. I needed the reminder of little traditions and memories from the past to come alongside all of the new ones I’ve picked up. I didn’t make them for Thanksgiving morning, but the smell of the sticky buns baking in my kitchen days after the holiday transported me back to the Thanksgivings of my childhood in the kitchen with Mamaw. I think that this recipe will be something I go back to, not only on Thanksgiving, but for other special occasions. They may even make a debut at Christmas. They’d be perfect for a brunch-y celebration situation!
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The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!
The English have a long-standing tradition of enjoying spiced, warm beverages in the cold months. If you walk into a pub during November or December, you’re likely to see a big cauldron-like vat containing some kind of mulled beverage, be it wine or cider, sitting on the bar. Mulled cider, wine, and even the German version, Glühwein, abound at our Christmas markets. It seems as though every other vendor sells some version of these drinks! Hot mulled winter beverages have become one of my favorite things about the cold months here, and I’ve figured out why. They’re the adult versions of something I loved as a child.