Pumpkin Dried Cherry Quick Bread


Pumpkin Dried Cherry Quick Bread


2 c. all-purpose flour or white rice flour

1 T. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground mace

1/2 t. salt

1 c. packed pumpkin puree

1/2 c. canola oil

1/2 c. low-fat buttermilk

2 lg. eggs

2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. packed light brown sugar

3/4 c. dried cherries+extra for garnish

confectioner’s sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray baking pan* with vegetable oil.
  2. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, mace and salt. Set aside.
  3. Stir together pumpkin, oil, buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract until well combined. Stir in sugars until well moistened.
  4. Stir flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until no dry spots remain. Fold in dried cherries.
  5. Scoop batter into baking pan, smoothing the surface with the back of a large spoon. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean or with large crumbs that look cooked through.
  6. Cool for 10-20 minutes on a cooling rack.  Invert bread onto another rack, then re-invert onto a serving plate. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving. Serve warm or cool. Garnish with dried cherries.


*The pan that I use is a non-stick fluted cake pan that is a little bit over 8 cups in volume.



Have a lovely day!

Pumpkin Snack Cake


Pumpkin Snack Cake


2 c. all-purpose flour (stir before measuring)

1 t. baking soda

1/2 t. baking power

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground cloves

1/2 t. ground ginger

1/2 t. ground mace

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

15 oz. (425 gm.) canned pumpkin

3/4 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/3 c. canola oil

1/3 c. buttermilk

1 lg. egg

2 t. vanilla extract

1/2 c. dried currants

1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe at bottom of page)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×9″ pan with baking spray or with butter and flour.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, mace and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. In a separate bowl, stir together pumpkin, sugars, canola oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla until smooth and well-blended.

4. Stir pumpkin mixture into dry ingredients until smooth and no dry spots appear. Then fold in currants and walnuts. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Level top with the back of a spoon.

5. Bake for 38 – 48 minutes or until firm on top and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a cooling rack.

6. While cake is cooling, prepare cream cheese frosting. Once cake is cooled, invert onto a cooling rack, then re-invert onto a cutting board. Frost top of cake, then cut into squares. Enjoy!


Cream Cheese Frosting


6 oz. cream cheese, softened

1/2 c. + 1 T. confectioner’s sugar

1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1 T. + 1 t. milk

1/2 t. vanilla extract


Beat ingredients together until perfectly smooth.


Indian Pudding

Indian Pudding is a traditional New England dessert which can be traced back to the 18th century. I developed a  fondness for it when I lived in the Boston area. For some reason, though, it is relatively unknown outside of New England.

Here is a brief history of the dish …

When British settlers moved to this country they brought their Hasty Pudding recipes with them. I’ve never had Hasty Pudding, but apparently it is a dish made from wheat cooked in water or milk until it develops the consistency of a porridge. Wheat was in short supply in New England, so the settlers adapted to the new world by substituting corn meal – which they called Indian flour. Being along a trade route with plentiful molasses and spices, they embellished the dish with these flavorful additions as well as with dried fruits and sometimes nuts … and thankfully, the new dessert, Indian Pudding, caught on.


Indian Pudding Ingredients

Butter or vegetable shortening to grease the cooking dish

4 c. milk (soy or almond milk can be substituted for vegan)

1 c. coarse cornmeal or polenta

4 T. melted butter (coconut oil can be substituted for vegan)

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/3 c. unsulfured molasses

1/2 t. salt

1 t. ground ginger

1/2 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground nutmeg

2/3 c. dried fruits (such as raisins, yellow raisins, cranberries, cherries)

3 large eggs (3/4 c. packed pumpkin can be substituted for vegan)

Cooking Methods

(1) Prepare cook surface  Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. and grease a 2-quart baking dish; or grease and then preheat a crockpot on low or high heat. (A crockpot works well for holiday cooking when oven space is at a premium.)

(2) Cook the cornmeal  Bring the milk (or substitute) to a low boil then whisk in cornmeal. Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook, whisking frequently until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is softened (about 15 to 20 minutes).

(3) Add remaining ingredients  Whisk together the remaining ingredients.  Once the cornmeal mixture has thickened and the cornmeal has softened, set it aside to cool slightly and then whisk in the mixture of remaining ingredients. If you are not using eggs, then you can skip the brief cooling period.

(4) Finish cooking  Pour the pudding mixture into greased baking dish or crockpot. Bake in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes; or cook in the crockpot for 2 hours on high heat or 4 to 5 on low heat . The finished “pudding” will be quite thick.

(5) Serve  Serve hot with ice cream or whipped cream and serve leftovers cold with ice cream, whipped cream or just milk.

Improvised Tomato Pumpkin Soup

After making Bumpkins  yesterday, I found myself with leftover pumpkin that I wanted to use for dinner in some way. Being a great believer in the art of culinary improvisation, I decided to make something using only ingredients that I already had in the house; and besides, it was 7 pm before I started cooking dinner, I was still waiting for one room to check in, and there was no way that I was going to the grocery store. So here is what I came up with along with some suggested variations. The point of this post isn’t “Oh, this is the best soup ever … you’ve got to try it.”  (It is really good, though; otherwise, I wouldn’t have posted the recipe!) Rather, the point of this post is an exhortation to be creative. Go ahead, have fun and improvise … you might come up with something you like!

Improvised Tomato Pumpkin Soup

4 oz. dry quinoa pasta shells

1/4 c. diced red bell pepper, sautéed in olive oil

3 c. chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi brand from Italy)

1 1/4 c. packed pumpkin

2 c. vegetable stock

1 c. frozen corn

1 T. Italian Seasonings

1/2 t. hot red pepper flakes

dry white wine

fresh grated Romano cheese.

1. Put the pasta on to cook.  Meanwhile, saute peppers.

2. While the pasta is cooking and the peppers are sauteing, add the following to a 4-qt. stockpan: tomatoes, pumpkin, vegetable stock, corn, Italian Seasonings and red pepper flakes.  Cook over medium heat. Add peppers when they are crisp-tender.

3. When pasta is done cooking, drain and then stir into soup. Add white wine to taste, about 2 T. Cook for 5 more minutes. Salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve topped with grated cheese. (Some crusty French bread would go really well with this soup.)

Suggested Variations

– substitute beans for corn (or use in addition to corn)

– substitute yellow onions for red peppers

– use another pasta, or use rice

– top with cheddar cheese

– use red wine instead of white

– add fresh herbs

– add croutons when serving

Have fun! Enjoy! I’d love to hear your ideas …

Bumpkins with Pure White Cookie Icing

These pumpkin oatmeal cookies are absolutely one of my favorite cookies to serve during autumn months. I made them yesterday afternoon for my guests. The recipes are from my cookbook, Confectionately Yours.


Makes about 34 cookies

1 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. rolled oats

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 t. salt

1 t. ground cinnamon

1/2 t. ground ginger

1/4 t. ground mace

1/4 t. ground nutmeg

1/2 c. unsalted butter, softened

3/4 c. dark brown sugar, firmly packed

1/3 c. granulated white sugar

1/2 c. packed pumpkin puree

1 lg. egg

1 t. vanilla extract

2/3 c. walnuts, finely chopped

2/3 c. baking raisins, sweetened dried cranberries, pitted and chopped fresh dates, and/or chopped prunes, combined

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In medium bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, mace, and nutmeg. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla. On lowest speed of mixer, beat in dry ingredients until well combined and then stir in nuts and fruit.
  4. Scoop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto baking sheets spacing cookies 3” apart.
  5. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes or until cookies are just set and are lightly browned on the bottoms. Place baking sheets on wire racks and allow cookies to cool. Serving suggestions: once cooled drizzle with Pure White Cookie Icing.

Pure White Cookie Icing

This icing will add  just a little sweetness to your baked goods, and will make them see a little moister, but is primarily used for decoration.


1 c. confectioner’s sugar

1 T. milk

2 t. light corn syrup

  1. Place confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl. Stir in milk and light corn syrup until perfectly smooth. The mixture will be a little on the thick side, but should pour from a spoon in a slow, smooth stream.
  2. Drizzle or pipe onto cooled baked goods right away. (This is thick enough to pipe thin lines but not thick enough to pipe firm shapes.)

Stuffed Pumpkin Butter French Toast

In yesterday’s Pumpkin Butter post, I said that I would be serving Pumpkin Butter for breakfast this morning.  Keeping my word, this morning’s special was Stuffed Pumpkin Butter French Toast. I know. There is nothing French about this dish; but it is what Americans call “French Toast”.  Whatever the origins … yum! It tastes like autumn is here!

For 2 servings:

4 thick slices cinnamon bread, edges trimmed

3 T. low-fat cream cheese

1 lg. egg

1/4 c. half-and-half

1/4 c. + 3 T. pumpkin butter, divided

3 T. maple syrup

1/4 c. pecans or walnuts

confectioner’s sugar for serving

(1) Spread cream cheese on 2 of the slices of bread. Top with remaining bread. Cut each “sandwich” diagonally into 2 triangles.

(2) Beat together egg, half-and-half, and 1/4 c.  of the pumpkin butter until perfectly smooth. Soak triangles in batter for 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Make sure that the edges are coated with batter.

(3) Preheat a skillet or grill over medium heat until a drop of water sizzles but does not skate across the surface. Coat with butter, canola oil, or vegetable spray. (Butter and vegetable spray work fine in a non-stick skillet, but when I make French Toast on our commercial grill, I use canola oil.) Grill bread on each side for several minutes or until egg is cooked and lightly browned. Remember to grill edges as well.

(4) Meanwhile, stir together remaining 3 T. of pumpkin butter and the maple syrup. Warm just before serving.

(5) Arrange nuts on 2 serving warm plates. Arrange French Toast. Drizzle with pumpkin syrup and then dust with confectioner’s sugar. Serve right away. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Butter – ‘Tis the Season

The hot weather has finally broken. It is rainy and in the 50’s here today. To make the house feel warm and cozy, I decided to make some aromatic Pumpkin Butter which I can serve for breakfast tomorrow. Oh, yum. This both smells so good while it is cooking and tastes delicious!In a heavy-bottomed pan, combine the following ingredients:

3 1/2 c. pumpkin puree

1 c. honey

2 T. lemon juice

1 T. ground Vietnamese cinnamon

1/4 t. ground cloves

1/4 t. ground mace

Stirring occasionally, cook over very low heat for about 45 minutes or until very thick and smooth. Store in the refrigerator, in glass jars,  for up to 2 weeks. Makes 1 quart.

Pumpkin butter can be served on breads, on top of yogurt, or used to fill tarts.