Warm up fall foods with pumpkin pie spice

This blend of five common spices has gained popularity in recent years and can be used in numerous dishes

    As the crisp air of fall hits our senses, it seems as if we start craving comfort — and for some people, that means the warm flavors of pumpkin pie spice.
    The spice blend has soared in popularity in recent years, in part due to certain coffee houses spiking their joe with the flavor.
    But there are plenty of other ways to enjoy pumpkin pie spice.
    At its core, pumpkin pie spice is a blend of five spices commonly found in homes — cinnamon, ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg.
    Making a jar of this blend at home is much more affordable than buying a mix at the store. There are plenty of recipes — a popular one calls for two tablespoons ground cinnamon, two teaspoons of ground ginger, one teaspoon each of ground cloves and allspice and one-half teaspoon ground nutmeg — but they are endlessly customizable.
    If you’re a big fan of cloves, add another 1/2 teaspoon or so of it. If ginger is your jam, add a little more of that. Just go easy on the nutmeg, as it is particularly strong.
    Making pumpkin pie spice at home also allows you to make small batches. You’re more likely to use up the blend before the spices lose their flavor.
    Pumpkin pie spice can be substituted for a number of other spices. It’s particularly good in items that call for cinnamon, including classic cinnamon rolls, or it can be mixed with sugar and dusted over churros for a fall-flavored twist.
    You can also use it in pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice lattes,  pumpkin spice muffins, sweet potato pie, oatmeals, granolas  ... the list goes on.
    Following are a few recipes that feature pumpkin pie spice from www.tasteofhome.com.


Spiced Pumpkin Coffee Shakes

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup strong brewed coffee
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup crushed ice
Sweetened whipped cream
Additional pumpkin pie spice, optional

    In a small saucepan, heat milk, pumpkin, sugar and pie spice until bubbles form around sides of pan and sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a bowl, then stir in coffee and vanilla. Refrigerate, covered, several hours or overnight.
    Place milk mixture, ice cream and ice in a blender. Cover and process until blended. Serve immediately with whipped cream. Sprinkle with additional pie spice, if desired.

Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Granola

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds or pepitas
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

    In a large bowl, combine oats and pumpkin seeds.
    In a small saucepan, whisk canned pumpkin, brown sugar, honey, oil, water, cinnamon, salt, ginger, nutmeg and cloves. Bring to a boil, then remove from heat. Pour over oat mixture and toss to coat.
    Spread mixture evenly into two greased 15-by-10-by1-inch baking pans. Bake in a 325-degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown, stirring every 10 minutes.
    Cool completely on wire racks. Store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
Hot chocolate:
8 cups 2% milk
4 cups heavy whipping cream
2 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 15-ounce can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 cup white baking chips
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Additional pumpkin pie spice

    In a medium bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add sugar and vanilla and beat until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until serving.
    In a six-quart stockpot, heat milk, cream, cinnamon sticks, pie spice and orange zest over medium heat until bubbles form around sides of pan.
    Whisk pumpkin, sugar and baking chips into milk mixture until blended. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla.
    Discard cinnamon sticks. Pour into mugs and top with whipped cream. Sprinkle with additional pumpkin pie spice. Serve immediately.


Pumpkin Swirl Bread

For cream cheese filling:
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon whole milk
For pumpkin bread:
3 cups sugar
1 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
1 cup water
4 cups flour
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates
Optional toppings:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons 2% milk
Additional chopped walnuts

    In a small bowl, beat filling ingredients until smooth.
    In a large bowl, beat sugar, pumpkin, eggs, oil and water until well blended.
    In a third bowl, whisk flour, pie spice, soda, cinnamon, salt, baking powder, nutmeg and cloves. Gradually beat into pumpkin mixture. Stir in walnuts, raisins and dates.
    Pour half of the batter into three greased and floured 8-by-4-inch loaf pans, dividing evenly. Spoon filling over batter. Cover filling completely with remaining batter.
    Bake in a 350-degree oven for 65 to 70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in bread comes out clean.
    Cool 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. Wrap in foil and refrigerate until serving.
    Just before serving, mix confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and enough milk to reach a drizzling consistency in a small bowl. Drizzle over bread and sprinkle with walnuts.

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

1 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups water
1-1/2 cups 2% milk
Toasted chopped pecans, ground cinnamon and additional brown sugar and milk, optional

    In a large bowl, combine pumpkin, oats, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt. Stir in water and milk. Transfer to a greased 3-quart slow cooker and cook, covered, on low for five to six hours, until oats are tender, stirring once. Serve with toppings as desired.
    You may substitute almond or soy milk for the 2% milk.
    To make gingerbread oatmeal, replace half the brown sugar with molasses and sprinkle with candied ginger.

Gingersnap-Pumpkin Dessert

1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten, room temperature
For filling:
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten, room temperature
1 29-ounce can pumpkin
1/4 cup 2% milk
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For topping:
1/2 cup crushed gingersnap cookies
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed
1 cup chopped pecans
Additional gingersnap cookies, halved, optional

    Set aside 3/4 cup cake mix for topping.
    In a small bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs and remaining cake mix, then stir in butter and egg. Press onto the bottom of a greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Set aside.
    For filling, beat cream cheese and brown sugar in a large bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs. Beat in pumpkin, milk, cinnamon and vanilla and mix well. Pour over crust.
    In a small bowl, combine gingersnap crumbs, sugar and reserved cake mix. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over filling.
    Bake in a 325-degree oven for 70 to 75 minutes, until filling is set and a thermometer inserted in the center reads 160 degrees. Cool on a wire rack for 1-1/2 hours.
    If desired, garnish each serving with a gingersnap half. Store in the refrigerator.


Pumpkin Spice Latte

3 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1-1/2 cups hot brewed espresso or strong brewed dark roast coffee
Whipped cream and additional nutmeg, optional

    Place milk, pumpkin, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through. Stir in hot espresso. Pour into warm mugs. If desired, top with whipped cream and additional nutmeg.


Mini Pumpkin Spice Trifles

1 cup flour
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup canned pumpkin
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, room temperature
For filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
Additional ground cinnamon, optional

    Whisk together flour, espresso powder, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and allspice.
    In another bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually add flour mixture, beating until well blended.
    Line a nine-inch square baking pan with parchment, then grease the paper. Pour in batter. Bake in a 350-degree oven about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire rack.
    For filling, beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla until blended. Gradually beat in confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
    Cut cake into 1/2-inch cubes. In eight juice glasses or small parfait glasses, alternate layers of cake and filling, ending with filling. If desired, sprinkle with additional cinnamon.
    If desired, sprinkle the cake cubes with a little brandy, schnapps or rum.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 cups biscuit mix
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
For streusel topping:
1 tablespoon biscuit mix
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons butter, softened

    In a bowl, combine pumpkin, milk and egg with a fork. Combine dry ingredients, then add to bowl and stir just until moistened. Spoon batter into 12 well-greased muffin cups.
    Combine streusel ingredients, then sprinkle over muffins. Bake in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes, until golden brown. Serve warm.


Spiced Pumpkin Warm Up

2 cups half-and-half cream
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream and additional pumpkin pie spice

    In a small saucepan, combine cream, sugar, pumpkin and pie spice. Cook and stir over medium heat until blended and heated through. Remove from heat, then stir in vanilla.
    Top each serving with whipped cream and additional pie spice.



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