Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend!

To celebrate both my new site—and autumn—I want to share a recipe from my autumnal cookbook, The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook (Sterling Publishing).

Before I share, however, I want to talk just a bit about pumpkin pie spice. Who out there knows what this stuff is?

If you’re not quite sure, it’s a somewhat arbitrary blend of warming spices (one of the reasons our bodies crave it during this time of cooler weather), packaged by many spice companies, from the supermarket staple McCormick to health brand Simply Organic.

Typically pumpkin pie spice blend contains—in this order— cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and one or more of these: allspice, mace, and/or cloves. (FYI: Pumpkin Pie Spice is a bit different from Apple Pie Spice blends, which traditionally contain cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and sometimes cardamom.)

It’s a handy blend to have on hand, especially if you’re trying to healthy-up your cooking. Here’s why it supports your health:

  • The ingredients in Pumpkin Pie Spice blends are thermogenic, which means they warm the body. This is why we so often crave spicy foods in cool weather.
  • The good news about warming ingredients is they boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories your body burns.
  • Spices have been shown by decades of research to improve your body’s immune system function, helping it to ward off viruses.
  • Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have indicated that cinnamon has a positive effect on insulin.
  • A study in diabetic mice has shown that cinnamon lowers blood glucose, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, while raising helpful HDL cholesterol levels.
  • Research has found that ginger is a strong antioxidant and has strong anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Studies show that regular ginger consumption helps prevent cancer and shrink cancerous tumors.
  • Nutmeg has been shown in animal research to prevent colon cancer.

 

Good stuff, right? Here’s a few fun ways to use Pumpkin Pie Spice blend so you, too, can enjoy its great health benefits:

  • Dust your next batch of homemade popcorn with pumpkin pie spice and a bit of salt. Yum!
  • Toss cubed root vegetables with coconut oil, pumpkin pie spice and salt before roasting at 425 F.
  • Create a fast mole sauce by adding a ¼ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice, ½ teaspoon of cocoa and as much chili powder, garlic, cumin and salt as you’d like to tomato puree.
  • Add ½ teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to your next batch of chia pudding.
  • Mix 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, ¼ cup kosher salt, and 1/8 cup liquid coconut oil or avocado oil for a skin-brightening scrub.
  • Make your own dessert topping by adding ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 cup of raw cashews and ½ cup of water to a food processor or high power blender and whirring until smooth.
  • Stir into your favorite nut butter for an easy, fun spread.
  • Add to your favorite cookie, cake and quick bread recipe.
  • Add to your tea, coffee, hot chocolate, smoothies, or other beverages.
  • Add to oatmeal, breakfast porridge and other breakfast offerings.
  • Speaking of breakfast offerings, pumpkin pie spice gives an autumnal warmth to pancakes, waffles, French toast and muffins.

DIY types and the frugal among you will be happy to hear there is no reason to buy pre-packaged Pumpkin Pie Spice blends—they are super cinchy to make at home. Something I encourage in order to avoid the “sulfiting agents” that some mainstream spice companies sneak into their blends. My book, The Pumpkin Pie Spice Cookbook, gives you recipes for several different versions, I’ll share two of them with you right here.

 

Basic Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Makes about 8 tablespoons

This is your basic, yummy pumpkin pie spice. It’s similar to most of the premade spice blends you can buy at the supermarket, in specialty stores and from bakery suppliers. Feel free to play with it, omitting any spice you may not like or increasing any of those you adore. (Just go easy on the nutmeg, which can taste bitter in large quantities.)

8 tablespoons ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

3 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ground nutmeg

½ teaspoon ground cloves

½ teaspoon ground mace

 

1. In a small dry bowl, whisk ingredients together.

2. Place in an airtight container and store in a dry, cool, dark place.

 

 

Mexican Pumpkin Pie Spice Blend

Makes about 8 tablespoons

In Mexico, cinnamon, orange, chocolate, and other flavors often join together to create a sweet, spicy flavor profile

5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons ground allspice

2 teaspoons ancho chili powder

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground dried orange zest

 

1. In a small dry bowl, whisk ingredients together.

2. Place in an airtight container and store in a dry, cool, dark place.

 

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