Pumpkin spice—oh, that’s nice

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                With Thanksgiving only weeks away, I’ve been busy formulating recipes to make for our big family feast. Whenever I can find an occasion to contribute one of my original dishes, I jump at the chance. By doing so, I get unbiased opinions as to whether or not the taste-testers liked my food creations.

                One of my favorite events to try out new recipes happens to be at the quarterly meetings of the Edom Historical Society. While I’m currently holding the offices of both secretary and treasurer, I recently volunteered to provide all of the refreshments for our March, June, and September meetings.

I also contribute to the smorgasbord of delightful appetizers and snacks at our Christmas party each year. For this occasion, all of our members bring one or more dishes. After a brief meeting of business, we talk, laugh, eat, and thoroughly enjoy our time together.

Today I’m sharing two of my latest creations, both of which were inspired by my love of pumpkin spice. I served them at our September meeting and received many wonderfully kind compliments on them.

Either recipe would be a nice addition to your Thanksgiving meal or any holiday party. If you try them, I hope you enjoy them as much as the EHS members did.

For anyone interested in attending one of our meetings, you can email me at hattiekirkwoodkemp@gmail.com to get the times, dates, and locations.

Autumnal Pumpkin Sheet Cake with Spiced Cream-Cheese Frosting

Cake Ingredients:

1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened

1/2 c. organic coconut oil

1/2 c. pumpkin purée

1 1/2 c. sugar

1/2 c. light-brown sugar

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

1 t. vanilla extract

1 c. milk

2 c. all-purpose flour (A gluten-free flour blend works perfectly, too.)

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. finely ground sea salt

3/4 t. ground cinnamon

1/8 t. each ground nutmeg, ginger, and cardamom

Pinch of cloves

Frosting Ingredients:

1/4 c. organic coconut oil

4 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/6 c. milk

1/2 t. vanilla extract

3/8 t. ground cinnamon

1/8 t. ground cardamom

2 3/4 c. confectioner’s sugar

Directions:

                Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 13- by 18-inch jellyroll pan with Baker’s Joy or grease with butter, dust with flour, and then discard excess flour.

                Into a medium-sized bowl, add flour and spices, stirring to combine; set aside.

Into a bowl of a stand mixer, place melted butter and coconut oil along with the milk, pumpkin, both sugars, beaten eggs, and extract. With paddle attachment, mix to combine, scraping down bowl once or twice.

Add the flour-spice mixture and mix just until fully incorporated. Do not over-mix. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until done when tested in center. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare frosting, cream together the softened cream cheese and coconut oil in the bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Blend in the spices. Starting and ending with the confectioner’s sugar, alternate the addition of sugar and milk, beating well on highest speed after each. Scrape down the sides several times during this process.

Using an offset spatula, spread frosting on top of the cooled cake just to the edges of the pan. For best results, refrigerate cake to let the frosting set. Before serving, rest the cake on counter for at least 10 minutes prior to cutting and plating.

Yield: 24 pieces of cake, depending on size

Note: For a thicker cake, bake it in a 9- by 13-inch pan for 30 to 35 minutes or until done.

Festive Fall Punch

Ingredients:

                1 gal. jug apple cider or apple juice, divided

                2 (12-oz.) cans orange juice concentrate, thawed

                1 (2-lt.) bottle ginger ale

                1 c. sugar

                1 c. light-brown sugar

                2 t. ground cinnamon

                3/4 t. each ground allspice and cardamom

                1/4 t. ground cloves

Directions:

                Into a large pot, place 1 cup of cider, sugars, and spices. Cook over medium heat until the sugars dissolve, stirring constantly. Pour in the remaining cider along with the thawed orange juice and stir well to combine. Using a funnel, pour as much punch as possible back into the cider jug and then pour the remainder into another lidded container.

                Refrigerate punch and ginger ale until cold. Before serving, stir punch well as the spices tend to settle to the bottom of the container. To serve, pour punch into bowl, drink dispenser, or some other vessel and then pour in the ginger ale; stir to blend.

Yield: approximately 31 cups

                Note: I never use ice to keep my punch cold because melting ice will dilute punch, thereby ruining its flavor. Instead, I freeze some of the punch in small containers one day before serving it. Make sure you select containers small enough to allow the frozen punch to drop into the mouth of your serving vessel.

                For this large amount of punch, I froze three 16-oz. drinking glass-shaped containers since I was serving it in a large drink dispenser with a spigot. Remember to fill containers no more than three-fourths full because the punch will expand when it freezes.

                Initially, I put two of the frozen chunks of punch into my serving dispenser. I kept the other container in the freezer until needed.

                Anytime I have leftover punch, I freeze it for later use. I’m happy to say that my grandchildren thoroughly enjoy my punch recipes. Whenever I give them some, they think it’s a special treat.