Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins Revisited

It’s not fall until Caitlin makes some sort of pumpkin muffin and, by golly, for a few days we felt the faint kiss of fall in the morning breeze!

So Caitlin made her classic chocolate chip pumpkin muffins but instead cinnamon she threw in some Chinese 5 Spice!

If you’d like to add a hint of intrigue to your fall and winter cooking we dare you to use Chinese 5 Spice, it will bewilder your friends and possibly leave your relatives speechless!

pumpkin chocolate chip muffins

Here’s how to make these muffins (if you prefer to play it safe, substitute Poudre Douce (that’s our pie spice) or cinnamon for the Chinese 5 Spice):

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons Chinese 5 Spice

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup Ginger Sugar (Optional, it adds a nice bite! Of course, you could just use all plain sugar)

1/4 cup olive oil

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons sorghum or molasses

1 cup pumpkin puree

1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional but highly recommended)

Preheat oven to 350° and line your muffin tins with festive liners ~ this recipe makes about 18 muffins.

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and spices in a small bowl. Using your electric mixer or some serious elbow juice mix together the sugar and butter until it looks a bit like wet sand. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and add oil, eggs, molasses, and pumpkin. Mix thoroughly and scrape the sides down again. Add the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides at least once. Throw in the chocolate chips and mix until just combined.

Pour the batter into your prepared muffin tins. Fill each to about two thirds full. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean! Let cool in the tins for a few minutes then move to a wire rack to continue cooling. At this point, it is highly likely that they will start disappearing. However, if you manage to have some at the end of the day, they should last for a few days in an airtight container.

Happy fall, friends!


Charleston Spice Co.

Peach Upside-down Pound Cake

Peach Pound Cake

I found this recipe at the back of a recent issue of Southern Living. Well, sort of this recipe, they actually call it an Upside-Down Bourbon Bundt Cake, but I didn’t use any bourbon and I used some ginger sugar and called it a peach pound cake because alliteration is never a bad thing. Anyhow, I knew I had to try it when peach season came along. And I did try it, but the recipe had some questionable parts and the end result was okay but could use some work.

So I made it again, and boy howdy! What a cake! Worthy of daydreams, it’s the sort of cake that will inspire a multitude of variations.

To bring this dense moist hunk of goodness into your life this is what you need:

For the peachy upside-down bit:

1/4 cup butter

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3 peaches. peeled and cut into eighths

For the cake:

1 ~ 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups butter, softened

3/4 cups Ginger Sugar (optional, you could use all plain old sugar but the hint of ginger you get from the sugar is really quite fun)

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar

6 eggs

1 teaspoons vanilla bean extract

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups flour, sifted

1 ounce warm water

1 ounce honey

Heavily* grease a 15 cup (10.5 inch) bundt pan. Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat to 325°F. Melt butter and brown sugar for topping in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar and butter become one and mixture begins to bubble. Pour this thick sticky mess into the bottom of your pre-greased pan. Place your peach slices in an even layer on top of this.

Now on to the cake! Beat cream cheese and butter on medium speed until creamy, a minute or so. Add all the sugars: ginger, plain, and brown. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, roughly 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, mixing until the yolk just disappears before you add the next one. Add vanilla extract.

Combine honey and warm H2O ~ stir until honey dissolves in sugar. Combine sifted flour and salt. Add these alternatively, starting and ending with the flour mix. Blend until just mixed. Spoon batter out onto your peaches layer.

Bake for 1 hour and 25 or 30 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack until it is cool enough to handle but still hot. Turn the cake out onto the wire rack and let cool completely.

Serve with coffee and good conversation.

Stay sweet,


Charleston Spice Co.

Peach Pound Cake

*Yeah, you heard me, bold AND italic, the caramelized sticky sugar peach topping is exactly that, sticky, it will stick to your pan so make sure you grease it properly.

Basic Scone Recipe

This here is a mighty fine recipe for hearty filling scones. Scones in afternoon light

We found it in our go-to cookbook, The Settlement Cookbook (1965edt). Add dried fruits and different sugar toppings to give these scones some extra pizazz.

2 cups flour

4 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

1/3 cup cream

Sift the dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a fork. Add well-beaten eggs and cream. Toss on floured board, pat or roll in 3/4-inch thickness. Cut or score in diamonds about 2 inches across, brush with egg white, and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon, OR Pecan Pie Spice (pictured above), or also lovely, Lavender Flower Sugar! Bake in on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in a hot oven, 425ºF, for 15 minutes. Serve hot and piled high with fresh fruit and vanilla bean whipped cream!

Fresh fruit and scone

Stay sweet,


Charleston Spice Co.

Ginger Strawberry Jam

If you happen to have a bucket of freshly picked strawberries hanging about your kitchen, you should make this jam! The sweetness of the strawberries combined with a bite of ginger is fantastic!

Ginger Strawberry Jam

This recipe is from The Vegetarian Epicure Book Two by Anna Thomas

Here’s what ya need (makes 3 pints):

2 1/2 pounds fresh, firm strawberries

3 cups Ginger Sugar

3 cups plain ol’ sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Wash and hull the berries. Cut them in half if they are very big, you can leave the smaller ones whole.

Combine berries, sugar, and lemon juice in a large pot.

Stir often and carefully with a wooden spoon, over very low heat, until the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup is clear.

Turn the heat up very high, and stirring constantly, bring the jam to a full, spitting boil. Boil hard and continue stirring gently, until jam sets ~ this could take up to 15-20 minutes.

As soon as the boiling jam starts to make a heavy plopping sound, test for set*. When it is starting to set, remove from heat. Let it cool for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Ladle it into hot, sterile jars**, leaving at least 1/4 inch of headroom. Wipe the rims until they are perfectly clean and dry and seal immediately.

Label the jars (yeah, do it, that way when you discover a jar that was shoved to the back of your pantry you’ll know what it is and when it was made). Store in a cool dry place.

*How to test for set: drop a small amount of jam onto a cold plate (place a plate in the freezer when you start your jam making process so it will be nice and cold). If it thickens enough to form a skin and wrinkle when touched, it’s time to put it in jars.

**How to sterilize jars: Place jars in a large pot, cover them completely with water, and boil for 20 minutes. Leave the jars in the hot water until you want to use them. Remove them with tongs and fill while still warm. Self-sealing lids with rubber strips should not be boiled ~ put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water, leave them there until you’re ready to use them.

Enjoy jam with freshly baked biscuits and bread!


Charleston Spice Co.

Ginger Sugar Marshmallows

Ginger Marshmallows

The question is not what would you do with homemade heart-shaped marshmallows, but what wouldn’t you do?

I made this marshmallow recipe again and this time I cut them into hearts. Because Valentine’s Day is coming, and I want to make sure you’re ready…. ready to express your love in the cutest way possible.

You can make these marshmallows with any of our sugars ~ Vanilla Bean, Lavender, or Ginger ~ whichever suits your Valentine best!

I cut the recipe in half because I didn’t want a plethora of mallows floating around my kitchen. Here’s the recipe for a smaller batch:

1.5 packs of unflavored gelatin

1/2 cup of cold water, divided

4 ounces of granulated sugar

2 ounces of Ginger Sugar

1/2 cup of light corn syrup*

a pinch of sea salt

2 tablespoons confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons cornstarch

Combine gelatin and a 1/4 cup of water in the bowl of your electric mixer.

Combine remaining water with granulated and Ginger Sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat, cover and allow to cook for 3 to 4 minutes. At this point uncover and clip a candy thermometer on the side and continue to cook until mixture reaches 240ºF (about 7 or 8 minutes) then remove from the heat.

Turn the mixer on low with the whisk attachment. Slowly pour the sugar syrup down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. Once combined, turn the speed to high. Continue to whip until the mixture is thick and lukewarm, about 12 to 15 minutes.

While this magic is happening, prepare the pan! Combine the confectioners’ sugar and cornstarch. Spray a 9X9 or 8X8 or 9 inch circular baking pan with nonstick spray. Throw in that sugary white powder mixture and shake it around to fully coat the sides and bottom of the pan. Return the remainder to a bowl for later use.

Once the gelatin mixture is ready, pour it into your pan and dust with a light coat of the confectioners’ sugar mixture. Let sit uncovered for at least 4 hours or overnight. Then flip your sheet of marshmallows out onto a cutting board and have at it. Cut big squares, cut small squares, cut letters, or shapes. Get crazy. Go wild. And then coat your freshly cut marshmallows with the remaining sugar mixture and store in an airtight container for three weeks.

Stay sweet,


Charleston Spice Co.

Ginger Marshmallows

* Edit: when I first published this downsized recipe I neglected to put the cornsyrup in the list of ingredients!! Luckily someone brought that to my attention.

Ginger Pomegranate Syrup

Ginger Pomegranate

To make a lovely simple syrup for cocktails and sodas combine 1 cup of Ginger Sugar and 1 cup of pomegranate juice* in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let steep for at least 30 minutes. Strain into a container and use immediately or store for several weeks in your refrigerator.

Add a splash to prosecco or ginger ale for a bubbly drink with a bite of ginger!


Charleston Spice Co.

*We juiced fresh pomegranate with our citrus juicer!


Peach & Blackberry Dessert Biscuit

Blackberry Peach Biscuit

This is such an easy dessert to put together.

Here’s what you do, take two or three peaches, chop them up and sprinkle them with about a quarter cup of Ginger Sugar. Place ’em in the fridge while you make these Cinnamon Pecan Biscuits.

When you’re ready to serve toss in some blackberries with your peaches and whip up a little homemade whipped cream to dollop on top!

Stay sweet,


Charleston Spice Co.