At this time of year, while we're planning for Diwali and Christmas and the many November birthdays that we seem to celebrate in Guyana (including yours truly), in North America, it's all about Autumn and Thanksgiving (and Halloween! But let's leave that for another post). In fact, over the years, I've seen more and more restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinners over here. Globalization continues, and my personal opinion is that when it comes to food, it isn't necessarily a bad thing. During this season, Pumpkin Spice Lattes are all the rage. People go crazy, social media sites are flooded with pictures, and other companies introduce their own products that feature Pumpkin Spice in some form. So what exactly is Pumpkin Spice? No, it's not garlic and onions and other pumpkin curry ingredients. That's a different kind of spice mixture :) Essentially, Pumpkin Spice is a blend that consists of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and ground ginger. Some mixes even include ground mace. In fact, it is such a simple and versatile mix that you can make it yourself.
Personally, I'm not a fan of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but I'm a huge fan of Pumpkin Spice. The smell is incredibly welcoming and home-y and somehow kind of makes me anticipate Christmas. Warning though: The smell of Pumpkin Spice may conjure up memories that aren't even real (at least for me). Was I really part of the dozens of 90s TV (Family Matters, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Full House) Christmas specials, learning lessons in giving, baking cookies, and helping to decorate the tree with the Winslows, Banks or Tanners? I think not. I blame Pumpkin Spice!
Apart from Pumpkin Spice's popularity in lattes, it also works incredibly well in cakes, cookies, ice cream, yogurt, and even oats. It pairs really well with nuts like walnuts, almonds or pecans, and with other ingredients like maple syrup and chocolate. Then again, everything seems to go well with chocolate. Remember also that this is a potent mix so don't start out using too much. You'll see in the pictures that I added it to oats and ice cream, along with sliced almonds and pumpkin seeds. After these photos were taken, I added an embarrassing amount of spice to my ice cream, but you know what? I have no shame when it comes to experimenting with food. I apologize for nothing.
I should point out that I actually used cinnamon sugar instead of pure cinnamon, which mellows the taste a little. If you only have regular cinnamon, no worries. Go ahead and use it. You can add about 1/2- 3/4 tsp sugar if you want, or based on what you're using it in, add a squeeze of honey or maple syrup instead. Our recipe is below, but you can play with the amounts until you find what's right for you. Also, if you don't have any of the ingredients, just add a little more of the one you prefer (Helloooo Cinnamon!) .
I've listed a few ideas below on how to use your spice blend, and if you come up with another way to use it, I'm all ears! Experiment and share your results & reviews on social media. Be sure to tag us at #hotspotgyfood and we'll repost our favourites all month!
So. After you try it, tell me: do you buy into the Pumpkin Spice hype? I do, and now I'm wondering whether that makes me a...Spice Girl?
2 tbsp Cinnamon Sugar
1 tsp ground, dried Ginger
1 tsp ground Nutmeg
1 tsp Allspice
1/2 tsp Cloves
Add all ingredients to a dry, airtight container and mix well. Store in a cool, dark place.
Ways you can use Pumpkin Spice
- Mix 1/2 tsp into your oatmeal / porridge, top with a squeeze of maple syrup and handful of nuts
- Sprinkle on your Yogurt or Ice cream
- Spoon desired amount into (chocolate) cake, cupcake, pancake or waffle batter
- Add 1/4 - 1/2 tsp to your morning smoothie - Bananas, milk, peanut butter, protein powder
- Add a pinch to your icing when baking.