Changing of the Guard

It’s the changing of the guard—of sorts. Summer turns to autumn. Pastel warm-season tones give way to deepening intensities of ochre, bronze, and burgundy. Light fruity flavors and textures bid “Adieu” as more intense spicy flavors reappear for another tasty encore palette.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe photo by Taste of Home

We’re in that guard-changing time at Miss NiNi’s Dessserterie, Dear Readers, during which pumpkin and apple desserts become king and queen sweet treats! Maybe, you, too, have been perusing cookbooks in anticipation of visiting past seasonal recipe friends?

Has pumpkin pie or apple crisp recently been a welcome guest in your home? Hold on as the sights and smells of fall often preclude their entrance!

When aromatic teams of apple and cinnamon, pumpkin and nutmeg, and ginger and cloves are kissed with heat such as from a range top or oven, the atmosphere is permeated with warm and cozy fragrances. Adore the aroma, Dear Readers! It is glorious!

If you are a baker, perhaps this has been your association with an unopened spice container. A bottle of spice was purchased with a single use in mind. The container was opened in order to sparingly flavor your special recipe. But then, what happened to the rest of this flavorfully packaged spice?

More than likely, it continued to occupy space within a kitchen cabinet—forgotten. A year or two later, your eyes just happened to have brushed upon its existence in the far back corner of that cabinet. Does this sound familiar?

Time Will Tell

Dear Readers, have you ever wondered if the aromatic integrity of that spice lost its potential over time?

Wonder no more! According to stilltasty.com, as a general rule, whole spices will stay fresh for about four years, ground spices for about two to three years.

Just a little helpful Miss NiNi Note—write the date of purchase on each container of baking aromatics. This certainly will help take the “Is-this-still-good-to-use” doubt out of the equation.

And, Dear Readers, if you presently store spices right next to a heat-producing appliance such as the oven, the following storage tip will be helpful. Store spices in a cool, dark cupboard, away from direct heat or sunlight. That, along with keeping the container tightly sealed will maximize a spice’s shelf life.

Miss NiNi’s fondness for typical autumn-flavored desserts is never ending! As a matter of fact, pumpkin and the spices that are so well known to flavor these desserts kiss my taste buds each month of the year!

 

The Super Spice

My pumpkiny recipes often call for pumpkin pie spice. Have you heard of this spice, Dear Readers?

Pumpkin pie spice is the name given to a collection of spices mixed together to produce a well-known pumpkin flavor. It can be purchased, but if you have the individual components already in your spice arsenal, why not make your own pumpkin pie spice? That’s what Miss NiNi does!

Some recipes call for combining five individual spices. I prefer to use a four-ingredient recipe such as one published by tasteofhome.com. It has received numerous five-star-rating reviews. Five minutes—just five minutes is all it will take to complete the mixing process. When stored in a tightly sealed container, the fall-flavored treasure will last for months.

Mmmm, just think of all of the wonderful beverages and desserts you can whip up with this concoction of fall yum!

Dear Readers, I’d love to hear how you entertained your taste buds with this intensely seasoned Pumpkin Pie Spice mix! Did you add it to cookie or cheesecake batter? Was a teaspoon of the amount shared in your favorite pumpkin bar or muffin recipe? Did you introduce it to your I-must-have Chai tea mix?

Chat with me by sending a note to nini@missnini.com. I’ll be sure to reply!

In the meantime—enjoy the journey of cinnamon season fragrances!

Pumpkin Pie Spice—tasteofhome.com

Ingredients:

  • 4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 2 t. ground ginger
  • 1 t. ground cloves
  • ½ t. ground nutmeg

Method:

Whisk together all ingredients. Store in an airtight containter in a cool, dry place up to 6 months.

Miss NiNi