This is my favorite time of year! It’s the time of year that wonderfully delicious goodies are baked for your friends and neighbors.
There are three items that are a MUST on my Favorite Treat List. First, my mother’s Pumpkin Bread. It’s moist, flavorful and made with real pumpkin. Did you know that most of the canned pumpkin you purchase in the stores is in fact squash, not real pumpkin. My father grows amazing French pumpkins, which makes an excellent puree. If he has a bad year in the garden we just turn to other local farmers or the farmers market for pumpkins for processing.
Second on my list is Pumpkin Pie- it’s classic and never goes out of style. I don’t care how many different recipes you will find for Pumpkin Pie, a good ole-fashioned recipe is always a crowd pleaser. Again, use real pumpkin for this recipe and really taste the difference.
(Processing pumpkins in the oven is very simple. Just split them in half and place pulp side down in a large pan with about an inch of water. Bake at 400 degrees until the pumpkin skin is dark brown and pulp is soft. Let cool, then remove seeds and scoop out the pulp. Puree in a food processor and freeze in ziplock bags. I always measure out 2 cups, as most of my pumpkin recipes call for 2 cups of puree.)
Lastly, no holiday treat list is complete without rich, chocolate fudge. However, I’m not a fan of the kind of fudge that makes you pucker up with richness, I prefer a milk chocolate fudge. My mother’s is just that and freezes very well, which makes it easy for you to make ahead and then cut into squares for your holiday gift baskets this season.
Merry Christmas to yours!
Baldwin Pumpkin Bread
3 C. Sugar
3 1/2 C. Flour
1 C. Oil (1/2 vegetable, 1/2 sunflower oil)
2/3 C. Water
2 cups Pumpkin
4 eggs well beaten
1 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons soda
1 teaspoon nutmeg (1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg)
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (1 teaspoon grated cinnamon)
Mix well about 50 strokes. Stir in nuts (I like walnuts). Fill in bread pan half full and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour.
This recipe makes 2 small 8 inch pies or one large pie in 9.5 inch pie plate.
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Ginger
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 1/2 C. Sugar
1 1/2 C. Fresh Pumpkin (key to making this pie the best it can be)
2 C. milk (1 5 oz can of evaporated milk fill rest with milk)
Mix well. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 350 degrees. It will be done when you can insert a knife into the pie and the knife comes out clean.
Baldwin’s Fantasy Fudge
By my mother
4 cups white sugar
1 tall can of condensed milk (12 oz)
2 sticks of butter
On medium-high and in a large pot, cook and stir constantly, until mixture forms a soft ball. Best way to do this is with a candy thermometer. But, be sure and continue to stir this all the way through the soft ball stage.
When a soft ball forms, remove from heat and add:
For milk chocolate fudge, (add 12 oz. of chocolate chips)
For richer, darker fudge, (add ¾ of a 24 oz. of chocolate chips)
2 cups of nuts of your choice (pecans are the very best though)
1 tsp. vanilla
Fold mixture, until all dissolved. Cool fudge in a buttered 13×9 dish. You can freeze the fudge as well.