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!

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Mulled Cider Sweet Potato Tart

Mulled Cider Sweet Potato Tart

This tart is hearty yet sweet ~ the perfect treat for a fall afternoon!

And it’s easy to make!

For the dough:

2 cups whole wheat all-purpose flour

1/3 cup turbinado sugar (or half brown sugar/ half granulated sugar)

a pinch of salt

zest of one lemon

3/4 cup unsalted butter

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon milk

For sweet potato filling:

16 oz of sweet potatoes

1/4 packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon sugar 

1 cup mulled apple cider

First make the crust: Combine flour, sugar, salt, and zest in a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces over the bowl. Gently rub the ingredients between both hands until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.

Add egg yolk and milk. Work until dough comes together, handling as little as possible. If dough is still dry you can add water 1 tablespoon at a time. Wrap dough in parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before using.

Now make the filling! With a fork, poke holes in your sweet potatoes. Wrap them in foil and place in the oven at 375°F. Let them hangout in there until they are squishy all the way through. Cook time will vary depending on potato size, mine took about 40ish minutes.

Take the potatoes out of the oven and let them cool down enough for you to peel off the skin.

Throw the peeled potatoes in a small saucepan with the cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon sugar. Now mash it all together using whatever utensil suits your personal style (I used an avocado masher). Move the saucepan to the stove and cook over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble then reduce heat to low stirring occasionally.

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Take the dough out of your fridge and roll it out on a lightly flour dusted surface. Roll out a circle of dough a wee bit wider than your tart pan. Press the dough into the pan and trim off any excess ~ I used these scraps to decorate the top of the tart!

Pour the sweet potato filling into your tart crust and spread it out so it’s good and even.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Let cool and serve!

Mulled Cider Sweet Potato Tart

Killer Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce

This is a staple at our holiday gatherings. And it’s great on everything, on sandwiches, on scones, on yogurt, on a spoon…

You can’t go wrong with a good cranberry sauce, and you really can’t go wrong with this recipe:

1 cup H2O

1/2 cup ginger sugar

1/2 cup sugar

3 cups fresh cranberries

a couple Meyer lemons or a heaping handful of kumquats, sliced

Put H2O and sugars in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the cranberries and return to a boil. Reduce heat, and boil gently, stirring occasionally until desired consistency is reached.

Pour into a bowl and stir in citrus slices. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate until ready to serve.

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Roasting oysters & giving thanks

Hey, it’s been a while, huh? (embarrassed blush)

That’s on me, sorry, sometimes a girl gets all caught up in living life and eating all the food that the blogging and the photo editing fall to the wayside, ya know? (bashful giggle)

A lot has happened.

A lot of food has been prepared.

And consumed.

So let’s start slow, with a recent highlight from Thanksgiving:

Oysters

It’s not really Thanksgiving without an oyster roast.

And what a great way to start the feasting. With oysters, you are forced to pace yourself. There’s no wolfing down an entire tray of hors d’oeurvres or gulping down a whole bowl of homemade chex mix, you have to work for each little slimy nugget.

Oysters

And while you work you chat and catch up. Or you quietly plan how to pack your plate with the proper ratio of food.

This post doesn’t have a recipe, I’m taking small steps to get back into this blogging thing. One whole month and I’m outta shape! But there are so many things to look forward to: marshmallows, cranberry sauce, popcorn nachos….

You read that right, popcorn nachos. That’s not a joke, it’s a future blog post. Stay tuned.

XO

Charleston Spice Co

Oysters

Mulled Cider Old Fashioned

Fall has been such a tease this year, giving us cool mornings and leaving us with sticky warm afternoons that lead to evenings that are perfect for cocktail hour al fresco.

Mulled Old Fashioned

One chilly morning we made mulled apple cider with the hope that if we just consumed the flavors of fall Fall would decide to stay all day. While the warm cider was perfect for the morning, we froze the rest into large ice cubes in anticipation for the warmth of the day.

Later that afternoon, the Mulled Cider Old Fashioned was created:

Mulled Old Fashioned

Here’s what you need for this fabulous fall flavored beverage:

3 to 10 drops Angostura bitters

orange peel, about an inch or two long

1 large ice cube of mulled cider (or 2 to 3 small cubes)

2 ounces bourbon of your choice

1 cinnamon stick for stirring

1 anise star for kicks and giggles

Run the orange peel around the edge of the glass then throw it into the bottom. Douse it with bitters and muddle to your heart’s content. Add your mulled cider ice cube and the bourbon of your choice. Serve with a cinnamon stick for stirring and an anise star for added beauty and class.

Enjoy!

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Mulled Old Fashioned

Apple Pie Cheesecake

This guy is my granddad, and he had a birthday this week:

Apple pie cheesecake

And boy, was it a great day! We had a tasty lunch at Five Loaves in Summerville then headed to Coastal Coffee to grab coffee to go with our homemade apple pie cheesecake.

Apple pie cheesecake

The food, the service, the ambiance were all fabulous, really, 5 stars all around in both places. And because it was so great I could pause to appreciate the company I was with, and that really is priceless.

Apple pie cheesecake

Without further ado, here’s a classic fall cheesecake to make and share with the people who matter most to you:

Crust

2 cups crushed cinnamon graham crackers

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Filling

3 eight ounce packages cream cheese

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 eggs, room temp

1/4 cup apple cider

1 tablespoon Poudre Douce

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Topping

2 cups sour cream

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoons vanilla extract

Glaze

1 cup apple cider

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons Poudre Douce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup Craisins

For crust:  Preheat oven to 350 F.

Butter 9 inch springform pan. Blend crumbs and melted butter in a bowl. Press mixture into bottom and up sides of buttered pan. Bake 5 minutes. Cool.

For filling: Keep oven at 350 F.

Using mixer beat cream cheese until soft, gradually blend in sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Mix in cider, poudre douce, and vanilla. Pour into crust. Bake until slightly puffed, about 40 mins.

For topping: Oven should still be at 350 F.

Blend all ingredients in a small bowl. Spread on top of the cake. Bake 15 minutes; topping will not look set. Cool 30 minutes.

For glaze:

Combine cider and yolk in heavy saucepan. Stir in sugar, cornstarch, poudre douce, and salt. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes. Add butter and Craisins and stir until butter melts. Cool glaze for 20 minutes.

Spread glaze on cake. Cool completely. Refrigerate until well chilled, this cake is best made a day or two in advance!

Grad your friends and family and serve cold with a fresh pot of coffee and good conversation.

Apple pie cheesecake

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Pumpkin Soup

The weather here in Charleston can be deceiving, is it really fall or is summer still holding on? Sometimes the appearance of pumpkin flavored things is the only way we know fall has officially arrived.

soup&biscuitsWe spent hours dreaming about a time when it would be cold enough to make this pumpkin soup from Rachael Ray. Luckily, we’ve been having some fabulous fall weather and we finally got to make it. Well, we tried to make it but you know how things go in the kitchen, sometimes recipes just don’t get followed… So here’s what we did:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

2 handfuls of brussels sprouts, chopped

2 cloves of garlic

4 tablespoons Cocoa Nib Rub ~ more or less to taste

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 cups beef, chicken, vegetable broth

1 can pumpkin puree

2 cups heavy cream

Heat medium-sized soup pot over medium high heat. Add oil and melted butter. Add onion, brussels, and Cocoa Nib Rub. Cook until tender. Add flour and cook for a minute. Pour in broth and bring liquid to a bubble. Add in pumpkin in large spoonfuls to incorporate into broth. Simmer 10 minutes to thicken a bit then add cream. Reduce heat to low and keep warm until ready to serve.

We topped our soup and with chopped pecans roasted with our Pecan Pie Spice and served it with buttermilk biscuits!soup&biscuits