Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Gingerbread with Spiced Buttercream and Autumn Memories

One of the thrills of Autumn is the spicy aromas that fill so many kitchens. Heady scents of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger make our senses come alive! Autumn's bounty of pumpkins give us endless possibilities for scrumptious dishes and desserts that remind of us Autumns passed, holidays celebrated and people with whom we experienced wonderful fellowship. I used to love it when my mother made her famous pumpkin pies...and treasured the rare occasions when she made gingerbread. I can smell the intoxicating aromas in my mind and see my mother in the kitchen, even though she left us this past April.

In honor and celebration of Autumn and the wonderful woman, mother and cook who was my mother, I have combined two flavors which I associate with them both. Enjoy the beautiful glory of Autumn and treasure your mother if you still have her with you...if not, treasure the memories of her!

Pumpkin Gingerbread

1/2 c. white sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
1 egg 1 c. Grandma's Molasses (original, unsulphured)
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp.salt
1 c. hot water
1/2 c. pumpkin (canned purée, NOT pumpkin pie mix!)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water, then the pumpkin. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake 1 hour in the preheated oven, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan before serving.

Spiced Buttercream

1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter (1/2 c.), softened
1 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 1-lb. box powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream softened cream cheese and butter until well-blended. Slowly add powdered sugar, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and blend well. If mixture thickens too much or you accidentally put in to much powdered sugar, correct to desired consistency with the addition of a little milk. You want it to be thick but not extremely thick - you should be able to make a "dollop" out of a spoonful that "plops" easily. Put a dollop on top of a cut piece of pumpkin gingerbread and serve! After serving, put in airtight container and keep refrigerated.

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