Pumpkin Apple Cake

Pumpkin Apple Cake 086 Edited Pumpkin Apple Cake

Fourteen days later and it seems like four. Changes in my offline life have distracted me from the finer things in life. Finer things like pumpkin cakes.

I fear I learned too late in life that I can do anything (except sing like a rockstar), but I can’t do everything. Lately, that anything has been packing up my stuff in preparation of said changes and refinishing furniture I have wanted to paint for the eight years I have called these digs my home.

And now, two weeks before I nest elsewhere, I become the Tasmanian Devil with a paintbrush. It gets in the way of baking.

Apple Gouda Galette 011 Edited Pumpkin Apple Cake

Still, I carved out some quality time with my oven this weekend. Actually, I baked a pumpkin cake last weekend too. In fact, I baked it twice. You never saw it because the recipe failed. Twice.

I was beginning to think I could do anything except sing like a rockstar and bake a decent pumpkin cake.

Fortunately, the pumpkin cake I made this past weekend turned out much better. It combines the loveliest of fall flavors – pumpkin, apple, cinnamon – in a dense crumb that is perfect for dessert. Or breakfast. Or an afternoon snack. Enjoy!

Apple Gouda Galette 009 Edited Pumpkin Apple Cake

P.S. – In true “Lets change all the things!” spirt, I’m trying out some new photo sizes. What do you think?

Pumpkin Apple Cake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated (I had two cups of grated apple)
  • Optional: confectioners' sugar
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and oil until thick and creamy, about one to two minutes.
  3. Next, whisk in the pumpkin until well incorporated.
  4. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in the buttermilk, and then fold in the apples.
  6. Pour the batter into a greased cast iron skillet or a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes until the top is golden and a skewer inserted into the center come out clean.
  8. If desired, dust with powdered sugar or pour over a glaze before serving.
Notes
The original recipe calls for baking this cake in a spring form pan, but necessity dictated I use a cast iron skillet. Fortunately, it worked.

Dusting the cake with confectioners' sugar is also part of the original recipe. I opted to add a glaze by mixing 1 cup of confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla instead. The cookbook also suggests covering the cake in a vanilla buttercream if so inclined.

Like any spiced cake, allowing the flavors to meld for a day makes it even better.
 

Tahini Cookies {Secret Recipe Club}

Tahini Cookies 002 Edited Tahini Cookies {Secret Recipe Club}

When someone writes, “…cookies are appropriate all the time, everyday…”, the thought that runs through my mind is, “How are we not friends?”. That line is how Francesca at Della Cucina Provera began the blog post in which she shared this Tahini Cookies recipe.

I explored Francesca’s blog as part of the Secret Recipe Club. With an Italian mother and an Iranian father, Francesca grew up outside of DC, now lives in Amsterdam, shares recipes that reflect her heritage, and has a travel page that makes me wistful.

My heritage stems from many generations that settled quite nicely into a small pocket of the world. With the exception of my grandmother’s grandfather who traveled to the US from Germany when he was a boy, my people have lived in this land a long time. I am talking pre-Revolutionary War long time.

I’ve always thought it a bit odd that I live in a country settled by immigrants, yet my family is distinctly American. Dishes from far-flung homelands have never made an appearance at our family dinner table or holiday celebrations, so I am always a bit intrigued by people with vivid connections to other places.

Tahini Cookies 016 Edited Tahini Cookies {Secret Recipe Club}

Francesca shares some of her family traditions through her Persian Kitchen recipe page. I am looking forward to trying her Mom’s Jeweled Rice recipe to spice up my standard brown rice with beans or peas lunch.

Also the Veggie Sushi Bowl. And the Thai Shrimp Salad, and the Kale Lasagna, and the Chocolate and Pear Tart… What I’m getting at is that I had a tough time picking a recipe this month!

I am in fall cleaning mode and a bit busier than I would like to be at the moment, so a simple cookie recipe that allowed me to use up the last of my tahini paste seemed like the way to go. And since we’ve established that cookies are always appropriate, I baked up a batch.

The cookies mildly resemble a peanut butter cookie, and I could not get over how much I liked the cinnamon flavor that shone through. Why so cinnamony? Because I dumped the tablespoon in with the batter instead of sprinkling it over the cookies before baking as instructed in the original recipe. Well, to each her own. Enjoy!

Tahini Cookies 013 Edited Tahini Cookies {Secret Recipe Club}

Tahini Cookies
 
Author:
Serves: 24
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup tahini
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnammon
Instructions
  1. Beat the sugar and butter together until just combined, then add the tahini, vanilla, and 1 teaspoon of milk and continue to mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Add the flour and cinnamon and mix until the dough is slightly crumbly.
  3. Transfer the dough to your counter and knead. The dough should hold together when patted into a ball. If it does not, add another teaspoon of milk.
  4. Scoop a tablespoon full of dough and roll it into a ball.
  5. Place the dough ball on a parchment-lined baking sheet and then gently flatten it with your palm or a fork.
  6. Repeat until all of the dough is used, leaving about an inch of space between each cookie on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10- 15 minutes or until just brown.
Notes
To dial down the cinnamon flavor, sprinkle the tablespoon of ground cinnamon over the cookies before baking rather than adding it into the dough.
 

For another tahini cookie recipe, see Tahini Lime Cookies.

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Oktoberfest! Chicken Beer Chili

Oktoberfest Chili Oktoberfest! Chicken Beer Chili

In my experience, telling someone how to make chili goes over about as well as messing with their first born. You make a suggestion, and they look at you like they want to knock you out. So, I’m not here to tell you how to make chili or how to make your chili better or to suggest secret ingredients. I’m just here to tell you what I put in my chili on one particular day.

It is not often that I enjoy the process of cooking. I bought a knife this year that set me back about as much as a monthly mortgage payment. Like a hot knife through butter, an expensive knife through vegetables makes things easy, so using it on something is always fun. Other than that, I could do without the whole cooking process. Chili in a slow cooker let’s me do just that.

Oktoberfest Chili 012 Oktoberfest! Chicken Beer Chili

The chili starts off like most with a base of tomatoes and beans and meat. I used chicken and chicken broth, but you could use beef and beef broth or add an extra can of beans for a vegetarian version (I used red kidney and black beans for this chili). Fire-roasted green chilis pack in some heat, and chipotle en adobo sauce adds a warm smoky flavor.

As for the beer,  I used a bottle of Highland’s Gaelic Ale, which is best described as an amber ale in terms of flavor. Lighten the chili up with a pilsner or lager, or go bold with something dark. Work with the beer in this recipe the way you would any other “secret” chili ingredient.

My only real suggestion is to stick with the lime sour cream. If only I had thought to stir lime zest into sour cream before this chili. The best I can describe the flavor as is bright and refreshing, which makes it a nice complement to a heavy, warm chili.

Oktoberfest Chili 002 Oktoberfest! Chicken Beer Chili

Oktoberfest is drawing to a close, so this is my last “cooking with beer” recipe for the season. No need to worry if you are beer fan. Since time of year is good for a beer, I add recipes to my Beer + Food Pinterest board whenever I come across them.

If nothing strikes your fancy there, my pal Camilla has a virtual potluck featuring dishes made with beer recipes over on her blog Culinary Adventures with Cam. Now, it’s on to cookies… Enjoy!

Oktoberfest Chili 007 Oktoberfest! Chicken Beer Chili

Chili
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • For the Chili
  • 2 pounds cooked, shredded chicken
  • 2, 15 ounce cans beans of your choice, rinsed and drained
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1, 12 ounce bottle of beer
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1, 14 ounce can tomatoes of your choice (whole, diced, etc.)
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1, 4 ounce can green chilis
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce (from a can of chipotles en adobo)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • For the Garnish
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • zest of 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Combine all chili ingredients - from the cooked chicken to the minced garlic - in a slow cooker and allow to cook on low heat for four to six hours until simmering.
  2. To serve, top with a garnish of lime zest mixed into sour cream.
Notes
For the chicken, I cooked two pounds of thighs in one cup of beer in the slow cooker over low heat for four hours. I allowed the chicken to cool, shredded it, then started the chili. The above recipe assumes the chicken is already cooked. Leftover rotisserie chicken would work well here.