Back to baking

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Apples, pumpkin and cinnamon are three of my favorite things about fall. We haven’t had a killing frost yet, but a few chilly nights are pushing me out of the garden and back to the kitchen to start baking again. Apple pies, pumpkin bread and bars with cinnamon swirled throughout brings a warm flavor to each of the treats. It is also a quick way to take the nip out of the house without turning on the furnace.
There are a few things we need to wrap up in the garden. The frosty mornings have brought an end to my tomatoes … thank goodness. I’m at the point of calling it quits with canning for the year. There are potatoes to finish digging to store in the basement for the winter months. Hopefully we’ll be able to squeeze in a day or two of making apple cider as the cooler weather brings the sweetness of the apples to light.
Did you know that all pumpkins are squashes but not all squashes are pumpkins? Most of the canned pumpkin is made from squash or a blend of squashes. Apparently, there is no botanical distinction that makes a pumpkin a pumpkin. According to All Recipes magazine, any round, hard-skinned winter squash can technically be called a pumpkin. For years I would freeze squash to make into pumpkin pies and bars. I figured they were pretty close cousins, and I could swap them out when I didn’t have pumpkins to freeze. Who knew I was on the right track.

Pumpkin-pecan muffins
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spices (mix cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Whisk together oil, eggs, sugar and pumpkin in bowl. In another bowl, whisk together dry ingredients, and stir into wet mixture until combined. Add vanilla and pecans. Transfer batter into muffin tins. Bake 16-18 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes then remove muffins from tin. Cool completely.
Make a glaze with 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream and 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin spices. Drizzle over muffins.

Mom’s muffins by Ree Drummond
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
1 banana, mashed
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups. In a large bowl, combine flours, flaxseed and oats. Add brown sugar, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and walnuts. Mix. In a separate bowl, mix together buttermilk, egg, applesauce and banana. Add molasses and vanilla. Stir. Pour wet into the dry. Stir until mixture just barely comes together. The batter should be really wet and sticky; if needed, splash in a couple extra tablespoons of buttermilk. Finally, add raisins. Scoop 1/4 cup of batter into prepared muffin tin. Bake until deep, golden brown, 16-18 minutes.

Apple bars by Reggie Popp
8 or 9 apples, peeled, sliced 1 teaspoon flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons sugar 2 egg yolks
1 cup shortening
2 egg yolks
Milk (when mixed with egg yolks to equal 2/3 cup liquid)
1 cup corn flakes 2 egg whites
Mix together apples, 1 teaspoon flour plus 1 cup sugar and let stand. Then mix salt, 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons sugar and shortening for pie crust. Then to pie crust mixture, add 2 egg yolks and milk to make 2/3 cup liquid; roll out half of the mixture and put on bottom of cookie sheet. Sprinkle 1 cup corn flakes on crust. Put apple mixture on top of corn flakes. Roll out other half of pie crust mixture and put on top of apple mixture. Beat 2 egg whites until frothy and brush on top of crust. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. As soon as you remove from oven, brush top with a powdered sugar-water mixture to make a drizzle.

Cinnamon-cranberry oat bars
3 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup canola oil (or sunflower oil for different flavor)
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
In a large bowl, combine oats, Rice Krispies, cranberries, flaxseed, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. In a large saucepan, combine brown sugar, corn syrup, oil and honey; cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. Stir in oat mixture; toss to coat. Press firmly into a 9-inch square pan coated with cooking spray. Combine sugar and remaining cinnamon; sprinkle over bars. Cool completely. Cut into bars.
As their four children pursue dairy careers off the family farm, Natalie and Mark are starting a new adventure of milking registered Holsteins just because they like good cows on their farm north of Rice, Minnesota.

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