Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Autumn is Fueling my Baking Passion

Okay, Have I mentioned that I love Autumn? Check! And, have I mentioned that I love Baking? Double Check!! Well, there is something about Autumn that just fuels my passion for baking. I love the aromas, tastes, and visual appeal of pumpkin and apple desserts and breads. So, you can imagine that my home is almost daily filled with these wonderful scents and tasty baked goods from September 1st until the end of November. This week alone, I have baked a Pumpkin Pie, Harvest Pumpkin Cookies, Snickerdoodles, and Caramel Apple Cinnamon Bars.

I am super excited because this weekend I am making my very first wedding cake for dear friends who are getting remarried! I feel truly honored that they trust me with this. There will be lots of kiddos at the wedding so I will be making red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and a special surprise on top (no hints, Amelia :-)). For the wedding cake, I plan to make a basic 3 layer white cake with chocolate frosting and jewel toned roses to keep with the autumn theme. I will be sure to post pictures after the weekend.

I have been feeling a little overwhelmed lately-lots of commitments, lots of stress, Savannah’s birthday was last week, and Satan has really been attacking my heart with anxiety and fear. Baking is therapeutic to me, and I often find myself talking to God while I bake. As I was petitioning God about a particular hurt in my heart, He spoke this verse to me, and I wanted to share it with you:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upjon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Sometimes when life is spiraling out of control, we just need to stop and turn everything over to God. It is in that surrender that we will find the rest that our soul needs the most. He longs to carry our burdens for us. We just have to COME.

I am including the recipe for my Favorite Pumpkin Pie as well as the Harvest Pumpkin Cookies. Enjoy something made with pumpkin with your pumpkin! And, if you are more of an apple fan, then check out the caramel apple cinnamon bar recipe included in this previous post:

Perfect Pumpkin Pie with
Maple Whipped Cream

3 large eggs
2 cups fresh pumpkin or 1 can (15oz) canned pumpkin
½ cup heavy whipping cream
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 deep dish refrigerated pie crust
Fit pie crust into 9 inch pie plate. In a large bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie shell and place on a baking pan to prevent spills. Bake 45-55 minutes at 375 degrees or until the filling is set and the crust has slightly browned (the center will still look wet). Place on a rack to cool. Refrigerate and serve with Maple Whipped Cream.

Maple Whipped Cream:
Place 1 cup heavy whipping cream and 1 ½ Tablespoon pure maple syrup in the bowl of your kitchen aid mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Refrigerate and serve with a slice of pie!


Harvest Pumpkin-Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1⅓ cups quick or old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
½ cup Sugar
½ cup Brown Sugar
1 cup LIBBY’S® 100% Pure Pumpkin
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup chopped walnuts
¾ cup raisins or cranberries

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking pans with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter, Sugar and Brown Sugar in large bowl at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract; mix well. Add flour mixture; mix well. Stir in walnuts and raisins or cranberries. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto prepared baking sheets.Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are lightly browned and set in centers. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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