I love fall. I love the colors, I love the smells, I love how the weather gets a bit crisper and you have to wear a bit more clothing. I love everything about it. Fall and winter bring out my baking with a vengeance. On top of that, I love throwing parties. I find them to be amazingly fun. I love decorating, and I love making themed foods. I love it all.
Today is not so much a baking day, though I have been doing a fair amount lately. I just haven’t had much time or energy to actually sit down and write about it. I keep wanting to put photos up but I just haven’t gotten my stuff together quite enough to do it.
Anyway, I woke up today burning to bake a couple of sugar pie pumpkins I have, and finally getting around to syruping and canning some strawberries we have in the fridge. With one pumpkin in the oven and the strawberry juice cooking, I realized…. I have no idea where my jar lids are >< Not that I can find that many of my jars – I have four that I know the location of. So I dashed out the door to grab more jars and some more half-and-half because I was out, and that makes me sad.
It’s one of those beautiful days out – it’s going to be pretty warm today, because it’s decently warm already, but it’ll be beautiful and perfect, and I want to take advantage of it because it’s my day off. I took my time walking to the stores, looked at the succulents outside of Orchard Supply, as well as the fall/halloween decorations. I have so many ideas! At one point on Thursday when it finally slowed down toward the evening at work, I started looking through the Food Network and Sunset websites for ideas – my halloween party is just a month away!
I know I’m going to make a really awesome pumpkin soup I made last year – you cook a soup of broth and spices, possibly some other stuff (can’t quite remember), then you hollow out a pumpkin and serve it in the pumpkin with gruyère cheese on top. Amazing! I’ve also decided on leaf-shaped cookies, probably the cardamom sugar cookie recipe I have made for xmas before. I want to figure out a good molasses cookie recipe – if anyone has any that are tried and true, I’d love to see them – because those are amazing for fall. I might even do whoopie pies, not sure. Never made them before >.>
I may attempt a pumpkin cheesecake, too. I’m not really a fan of flavored cheesecakes; I like my cheesecakes nice and naked, thank you very much. But I have a feeling that the flavor of the pumpkin would actually do really well with the cream cheese, and compliment it rather than making funky with the texture or flavor.
Other thoughts on things to try: pumpkin caramels, pumpkin waffles (need wafflemaker), pumpkin seed brittle, pumpkin pie parfait, pumpkin punch, etc.
The one thing I’m not so certain on are decorations. I know I will be bringing my witchy Domo down – can’t have a party without him. But other than that I have no solid ideas. I don’t want to have to put down too much money on it, so it’ll probably be home-made, but I don’t want to be spending forever on it. I know Mikal has volunteered to put stuff together, but we haven’t made any solid plans yet. I would definitely welcome ideas – both for fall and halloween themes.
And now for the good stuff. 🙂 I have a pumpkin bread recipe that I have been using for three years now, and it’s just perfect. The only hiccough I had with this batch was that my ground cloves came out a bit more densely packed than my other spices – kind of like brown sugar does – and so there was a bit of a strong hint of cloves. Oh well – it was still amazingly awesome.
Pumpkin Bread or Muffins
3 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil or 2 sticks butter (I use butter)
3 large eggs
2 cups pumpkin purée
3 cups flour
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two loaf or muffin pans (or use baking cups). Beat sugar and oil/butter in a large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin purée. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions.
Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center come out clean – about 1hr for loafs, 1/2 hour for muffins. Transfer to racks and cool 10 mins. Remove loaves from pans using a knife around the sides (and perhaps a spatula on the bottom – sometimes sticks even with butter/flour). Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.
Eat. Eat more. Share. Eat more.