Saturday, October 20, 2012

Pumpkin Pie Granola

Last year Amanda and I really screwed up. We skipped Halloween…and we've regretted it ever since. We're really good at Halloween, and we really love Halloween, so it was a big miss. This year we started our costume planning pretty early, just to make sure we'll be prepared. 

I've also been on a major pumpkin kick this year. I've made pumpkin pancakes and pumpkin chili, ordered pumpkin waffles, pumpkin bread, and pumpkiny drinks, and finally, after weeks of obsessing over various pictures of it on Pinterest, made pumpkin granola. When I first saw recipes for pumpkin granola, I figured it had pumpkin pie spices, but not actual pumpkin… but alas, I was wrong! Turns out your average pumpkin granola does have pumpkin in it. And my pumpkin granola is full of not only pumpkin, but tons of other good stuff: maple syrup, millet, flax seeds, almonds, oats, pecans, and coconut. Deliciousness. Throw some of this deliciousness in with a bowl of greek yogurt and chopped apples or pears. Or, if you're really looking for a treat, stir a little bit of extra pumpkin puree and maple syrup into your yogurt, then top with the granola. Seriously, it's like eating pumpkin cheesecake. For breakfast. 

Up next on my all Halloween, all the time agenda: pumpkin patch, Amanda's BFF Becky's family Halloween chili recipe (Ps. Happy due-date day, Becky!!), scary movies,  and The Biggest 80s Party of the Year (ahem, Billy Idol show!). 

Pumpkin Pie Granola

1/4 cup millet
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup whole flaxseeds
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup desiccated coconut 
1/4 cup plus a spoonful real maple syrup
1/4 cup plus a spoonful pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted, if needed)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 300. Add millet, oats, seeds, nuts, and coconut to a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine rest of ingredients. Taste, and add more spices as desired. Pour pumpkin mixture over oats and stir together with a spatula. Spread onto a baking sheet and bake 25-35 minutes, or until golden and crispy (longer will make it crispier). 


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spiced Streusel Brown Butter Pear Cake

It's October! And it's sunny still! And warm! I love it so much. I'm a big fan of October…especially when the weather is insanely amazing like it has been in Seattle. The trees are all red and orange, the air is a bit crisp, and fall flavors are all over the place. I love summer produce, and while saying goodbye to Mel's bright red tomatoes for a whole year makes me a bit sad, it means that its time for hearty fall and winter produce. Butternut squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, kale. Right now my Pinterest feed is full of pumpkin everything, warm spices, football snacks, and slow cooker favorites. Oh, and pears. 

When I visited the folks a few weeks ago, a friend gave Amanda and I huge box of pears that she picked from a local orchard. There are tons of orchards around my hometown, and by the end of September, a lot them had signs saying to pick as much as you want, for free. So obviously I needed to make an autumny pear dessert. When I think of fall desserts, I think of warm, homey flavors like brown butter and cinnamon. Like spiced brown butter pear cake with streusel topping. 

PS. Here are some things I'm digging this fall:
  • Check out this awesome seasonal food map on Epicurious (latest version of Flash required)
  • I'm dying to try Midnight Moon moonshine, aged with fresh fruit (um…apple pie flavor, yes please!)
  • Pumpkin pancakes! I made these ones this morning…so good! 
  • Listen, to my friend Kimber's band, Della Mae (check out the 2nd video, Jamie'll die)! I mean, I'm always digging them, but just imagine a sunny crisp fall day, a slice of pear cake (or a lil' apple pie moonshine) and the best bluegrass music ever. 


Brown Butter Pear Cake with Spiced Streusel Topping
Adapted from this recipe

1/2 cup butter
2 medium-large pears, chopped small 
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Streusel Topping:
1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

pinch salt

2 tablespoons butter

Step 1: Prep the Pears
Heat oven to 350°, and grease a 9 inch spring form pan. Mix pears and sugar in a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes (while butter browns) to get all juicy.

Step 2: Brown the Butter
In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, and cook, stirring & scraping bottom occasionally, while butter darkens to a light caramel color and smells nutty (and amazing). Be sure to watch it closely so that it doesn't burn. When browned, remove from heat and pour butter into a separate container to cool slightly. 

Add streusel butter to the sauce pan, and let melt completely (this will gather the remaining brown butter bits and get all nutty and good for the topping).

Step 3: Mix the Batter
Stir the rest of the cake ingredients, including the 1/2 cup brown butter, into the pear mixture. Pour into pan.

Step 4: Make the Topping
With a fork, stir together streusel ingredients, including the melted, slightly browned 2 T of butter. Crumble the topping evenly over the cake batter.

Step 5: Bake!
Bake for 30-45 minutes until center isn't jiggly. The toothpick doesn't really work with this one, since the pears will be moist regardless of how done the cake is. Just try gently poking the center of the cake (without burning yourself) to see if it feels set. Let cool slightly before removing springform ring and slicing. 

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