Apple Pumpkin Butter. OH yes. Made from scratch using real ingredients like pumpkin puree, applesauce, maple syrup, brown sugar, lemon, and all the signature holiday spices. All lovingly simmered until lusciously thick and irresistibly aromatic.
The scent practically begs you to pour it straight from the pot onto French toast, pancakes, bread pudding, or morning oats. Or to use as a cold spread on cream cheese smeared bagels, whole wheat bread, stirred into Greek yogurt, or eaten straight out of the jar shamelessly with a spoon.
It’s the holiday-spiced, sweet spread that all your “tis the season” dreams are made of.
This is that coveted time of the year when the fun parts of my spice shelf and pantry (that zone where the cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, and brown sugar live) get to come out and play on the reg. This is when they shine. This October-November-December domino effect where all the holidays start looming closer and closer on the calendar.
Oh, FALL. You gorgeous, cloudy-skies, cozy sweater-weather season. You have arrived. Fully and beautifully and (as always) much more quickly than I expected. All of a sudden it’s here and all the fun and fabulous seasonal recipes are calling my name. Screaming BAKE me, ROAST me, MAKE ME!!!!
All things that take some quality, luxurious time so that all those delicious deep flavors can marry together and reach their fullest potential. Pretty much any recipe that calls for apple, pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger, molasses, cranberry, squash, nutmeg, a casserole dish, a soup pot, caramelized onions, or brining a big old bird are all on my radar right now.
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But time hasn’t quite been on my side lately. The hands on the clock feel like they have been whipping around from morning to midnight at lightning speeds, round and round. Do you ever feel that way? Where you log onto your computer at 8 am and when you finally come up for air again, the sun is on its way back DOWN in the sky? It’s been a little something like that the past month.
Where blogging used to be my one and only (my passion-project, my part-time “job” if you will), wedding planning has stretched out its long limbs and taken its place. It’s wriggled its way into my every free waking moment. When I'm not working, running errands, or just generally adulting my way through the week, you can find me working my way down a long wedding to-do's checklist. The excitement building up to the big day hasn’t worn off, it’s just the planning itself that occasionally wears me down.
See what no one tells you about wedding planning is that well, it is exactly what is in that name. YOU are PLANNING a wedding. The whole thing. Yourself. You research vendors, make the calls, send the emails, read over & sign the contracts, make the spreadsheets, mail the checks, and make all the choices. It’s just a gigantic party that you’re hosting for pretty much everyone that matters in your life while they watch you on what is supposed to be THE most special day in your and your partner’s life. NBD, right? No pressure. None at all.
So there couldn’t be a better time for me to unwind and destress with some holiday recipes. To make a true unruly mess of my kitchen and whip up something simple that feels totally celebratory. You know, put on some music, rev up my fave essential oil diffuser, peruse the pantry and sink into my zen zone. Really, consciously, slow it all down.
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Because I’m a big believer in when you find yourself even mildly unhappy, it is time to pump the breaks, take a deep breath, and reevaluate how you’re spending your time. You can’t always escape from the things that have to be done in a day, but you can deliberately set aside a few moments that are just all about you. Ones that exist for no other reason than to bring back some sanity and calm and joy to your world. Talk a walk, read a good book, dip into a long bath, call your mom, grab dinner with an old friend, or bake a whole cake. In my case, it means sing-shouting all the lyrics to Ellie Goulding's latest and greatest while making a big batch of pumpkin butter.
I wanted to make something a little on the sweet side of the holidays, but something I could indulge in a little bit of everyday without tossing my wedding-dress goals out the window or throwing caution to the wind. So with an overabundance of canned pumpkin lurking in the kitchen cabinets, I went to work.
Some quick little notes about how to make today’s sweet little recipe…
It does thicken as it cools, so if you don’t mind a lighter flavor and slightly thinner texture you can stop the mixture after 30 minutes of simmering and transfer to a glass jar to cool. It’s still perfectly sweet at this point. I just really like that depth of flavor something gets from being cooked low and slow, so I opt to keep cooking mine for 50-60 minutes (or sometimes even more if I’m feeling extra saucy).
I highly recommend two things to make sure you don’t get burned while making this recipe.
- An oven mitt (or oveglove) – Wear it on the hand that is stirring the pot, just in case one of those bubbles really kicks up a lot of hot pumpkin mixture onto your hand. One of my knuckles was pretty pissed off at me the last time I made this without my trusty oveglove on.
- Splatter guard/ screen – If you have pan-fried chicken cutlets or breaded shrimp before, you are probably pretty familiar with the wonders of this kitchen tool. If not, this thin tennis-racket look-alike will save your stove-top from having splashes of pumpkin butter on it and will save you from getting burned if you’re standing near the pot. It also lets the mixture bubble and simmer for longer between stirring, making it a little less high maintenance. You can find it online pretty easily, but big stores like Macy’s and Target also carry it in their cookware departments.
And that is it my friends. Nothing much to this one except to stir and simmer your way to savoring the best of the holidays.
Speaking of the holidays! Anybody going full out this Halloween and dressing up in costume??
Apple Pumpkin Butter
- 2 c canned pumpkin puree
- 2 c unsweetened applesauce
- ¾ c maple syrup
- ⅓ c light brown sugar lightly packed
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
- pinch of cloves
- pinch of salt
- COMBINE ALL INGREDIENTS & SIMMER: Combine all ingredients in a medium sized sauce pot, mix until well combined. Over medium heat, bring the mixture to a low boil. When bubbles begin to form and sputter, stir and turn down heat to a simmer. Cook uncovered for 50 - 60 minutes, stir often. Let cool and then transfer to a tightly lidded jar to refrigerate for a week or more.