Pumpkin Butter–Mantequilla de Zapallo

Are you sick of me yet?  I know, right!  When I am I going to get over fall?  But, seriously.  How could you not look at this and think anything negative or ill-willed toward something so lovely.  I found this by accident and thought maybe I would be inventing something when I typed in the words, “pumpkin butter.”  Que sorpresa! It actually exists!

There are some things about having The Handicapped Kitchen in Peru that are an advantage.  One of those things would be that there is pumpkin all year long.  The word for pumpkin in Spanish is calabaza, but calabaza here refers mostly to anything in the squash family (even zucchini which is Italian squash if you translate it literally).  The closest thing that we could find here in Peru that’s verdaderamente pumpkin is something called zapallo.  It’s a really ugly looking thing, but it’s the exact consistency and color of the pumpkin I know in the States.

Regardless what the pumpkin was, this turned out delicioso.  It’s great for toast and I even read a review where it said you could put it on pancakes… I have yet to try that, but it sounds really really good.  I could even tell you that I thought about eating this stuff straight from the spoon, but that would be irrational and would only be getting half the delight by missing out on crunchy toast texture!  A mi me encanta la textura.

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Pumpkin Butter

1 can (29 oz/3 cups) pumpkin puree
1 cup apple juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp clove
1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 cup sugar

I’ll tell you how easy this was to make.  I woke up and it was the first thing I did… before making myself a cup of coffee.  Yea, it’s that simple.

My handicap was that my pumpkin puree only turned out to be about half of what it should’ve been.  Simple enough, I cut the recipe in half.

Put the pumpkin puree and spices and apple juice all in a pot and bring to a boil.  This is strange because the mixture is rather thick and may not boil like you would picture a rolling boil.  Once it starts to bubble and spit, turn down the heat to let it simmer.  Let it simmer for 30 minutes.  If it starts out looking really thick and want to thin it out just add some more apple juice.  As you simmer, the mixture will turn darker and darker.

When it’s simmered 30 minutes or if it’s cooked down to the consistency you want it (keep in mind it may thicken up even as it cools) remove from the heat and spoon into sterile jars.  Put in the fridge and chill before serving.

Spread this stuff on some toast or some cookies or… whatever you can think of.  Maybe ice-cream?  Does that sound good?  Just don’t put it on Pumpkin Pie… that would be dumb.  What will you put it on?

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Cinnamon Bread Twists

I think I may have mentioned this in the past, but I love Mondays.  Now, I can already hear the grumbling coming from the Northern Hemisphere, but this is my day off.  And it’s such a beautiful day.  It’s the only day that I do not leave the house.  Seriously, I don’t step a foot out the house.  My hair stays a comfortable rat’s nest, my contacts have an extra day to sleep in their solution watery bed, and a blanket is carried around my shoulders wherever I go in the house.  Sigh.  It’s true bliss.

Another part of my Mondays that I love, that involves you, is that I write my new blog posts!  For this very reason your grumbles about Mondays should turn to giddy shrieks and playful dances.  Mondays are a blessed day. 

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These are the pretty, pretty, twisty, yummy cinnamon sticks you’ll make this week, right?  They are pretty simple to make also!  Yummmmm

Cinnamon Bread Twists

Bread Twists
2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm buttermilk
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
6 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Glaze
2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoon butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoon hot water

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NOTE: Warm buttermilk looks curdled… that’s normal.
NOTE: These go really well with coffee too.
NOTE: You’re going to love these and maybe eat them all by yourself.

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the 1/2 cup warm water and let sit 5 minutes or until the yeast is foamy.  (If you want to learn about yeast go to my last post).  Then add the buttermilk, butter, sugar, eggs, salt and baking soda and mix well.  I used a fork to cut in the butter. 

Stir in the flour bit by bit until a soft dough is formed and then turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  Put the dough in a bowl and let rise for 1-1/2 hours in a warm place. 

When the dough has risen double it’s original size punch it down and turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half.  Roll out each half into a 16”x9” rectangle.  Brush the melted butter on the dough leaving about a half inch untouched along the side that measures 16”.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture overtop and press down with the palm of your hand lightly.  This is just to secure the sugar on the dough and make sure it’s sticking.  Fold the dough in half lengthwise.  Your dough will now be 16”x 4 1/2”.  Along the 16” side pinch the dough to seal the edge.  Then cut into 4 1/2×1” rectangles.  Each strip you cut, twist two or three times and set on a pre-greased cookie sheet.  Cover and let rise 30 minutes.

Bake at 375 degrees F for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown.  While cooling mix the glaze ingredients and then spoon over the warm twists.

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That’s right… so easy, so yummy.

Apple-Cinnamon Scones

Bon Jour!  I love languages.  I’m currently teaching myself French.  J’aime le Francais.  Oui oui!  If you cannot not take yourself seriously, then you may have some trouble learning a language.  What’s the number one attitude needed in learning a language?  Humility.  You make a ton of mistakes and people will look at you like you’re an idiot.  You will say things like, “You’re mom is a fat cow,” when you really want to say, “You’re mom makes great cheesecake.”  People will cry.  You will cry.  You will have a black eye and that’s why you cry.  But, it’s all for the sake of learning the beauty of another language.  So, if you want to learn a language, just know, you will never save face.  You, in fact, do the exact opposite.

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I’ve only ever had one scone before I had these.  It was a tad on the dry side and then sat in the backseat of my ‘94 Mercury Cougar (yea, I was so pimpin’) until I found it a few months later moldy and crumbly.  It wasn’t the best experience to have for my first scone.  But, as a baker, I thought for sure scones would not be a popular as they are if they really were not that good!  I devised to try to make these Apple Cinnamon Scones!

You’ll notice I cut some of the shapes into hearts.  That’s because it was a month ago that I made these and am now just posting the entry.  Wow.  I’m such a great blogger.  If you saw me right now you’d scread, “Holy crap!  Go back to bed!”  But, that just shows you the dedication right now.  I hope that makes up for it.

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Apple-Cinnamon Scones

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup apple, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (I did not use these for two reasons… EXPENSIVE and I don’t like them)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 whole egg
  • A handful of sugar (for topping)
  • cinnamon to taste (for topping)
  • In a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.  Then, cut in the butter using a pastry mixer, or if you’re out of luck and don’t have such heavenly utensilry like me you can use a plain ol’ heavy duty fork.  Cut in the butter until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs.

    You can cut up the apples now, or have them cut up before hand.  I thought about grating the apples, but I worry for my fingers.  When your apples are cut up into small cubes mix them in the dry ingredients, along with the walnuts if you decide to go that way.

    In a small bowl mix the egg yolk (set the egg white aside for later) and milk well with a whisk.  Then, add that to the dry ingredients just until the dry ingredients are moist.  You don’t want super sticky dough.

    Lightly flour your working surface and roll the dough out to 1/2” thickness.  If you want round scones use a round biscuit cutter or cookie cutter.  But, if you don’t want to have to reroll the dough out, which can be a pain, separate the dough into four sections and form them so they are round.  Flatten them down a bit and cut each into four pieces so you should have 16 in total.

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    In another small bowl mix the egg white with a whole egg (no good reason for the extra egg white, just wanted to cut down on waste) and in another small bowl mix the handful of sugar and some cinnamon.  You can taste the sugar cinnamon mix to see if it has enough cinnamon in it.

    Dip each scone in the egg mixture and then the sugar mixture and place 2 inches apart on a baking sheet and bake at 400 F for 20-22 minutes.  They are soooo good fresh out of the oven.

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    Banana Foster On Toast

    New cities are full of new adventure.  We just recently moved to a city in Peru called Puno.  It’s famous for it’s highest elevated navigable lake in the world with the modest name Lake Titicaca.  It’s pronounced as you would imagine.

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    Unpacking all my things I decided to put together a goodie box.  That is, all the candies and yummy things people have sent me over the past month or two.  Over the past two weeks we haven’t had our kitchen stuff unpacked and I’ve been delving a little too far into the goodie box.

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    So, the other day I decided I should probably eat something a little more healthier.  I consider, since I made it in my own kitchen, then it’s healthier.  Don’t ruin my fun.  Let me live in this lie.

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    I mean, hello-o! How can this not be healthy?

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    That’s our stove top!  Isn’t she high tech?!  Don’t be jealous.  Wipe that drool off your chin.

    Banana Foster
    (for one serving)
    1 half banana
    2 tbsp butter
    2-3 tbsp brown sugar
    1 tbsp milk
    1 pinch salt
    Bread for a toastin’!

    Toast your bread and while it’s toasting get your banana ready.  Peel the half and cut into slices.  You can figure out whether you want thick or thin slices.  It’s a matter of taste.  I like to brown my bananas before I add the rest, so if you have a non-stick pan just throw your bananas in without any grease, or if you don’t have non-stick then use just a touch of butter or oil.

    Let your banana’s brown and then add the butter.  Let the butter melt and then add the sugar sprinkled even over top the bananas.  Let the sugar melt and caramelize with the butter.  Then, add the milk and mix it in good, don’t just let it sit or it may just scold.  Nobody likes the taste of burnt milk.  Then add the pinch of salt.

    It’s that easy!  Be careful though.  It stays hot for a while.  I have a nice burn on the roof of my mouth.

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