The spice of life

Jim Winstead, Wikimedia Commons

If you like cinnamon, consider baking a platter of snickerdoodle cookies. They won’t last long.

Spice blends can be rather expensive if you buy them in a store, and the containers are usually very small. If you bake a lot, you’re probably reach into the cupboard a lot for various spices.

Today I thought it would be fun to share some recipes for blends, plus a recipe or two that uses spices in the list of ingredients. I used to package, label and sell organic spices many years ago, and the delivery person used to comment on how good the packages made the delivery van smell. A one-pound box of cinnamon that I ordered must have reminded the driver of delicious cinnamon rolls.

I used to make homemade cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning every year, but this past Christmas I had to settle for the ones that come in a can and you pop it open to bake them. Edible, but I certainly missed my made-from-scratch ones.

Well, on with the show. (All the spices listed are dried and ground rather than whole.)

Pumpkin pie spice blend

4 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon

3 teaspoons ginger

3 teaspoons nutmeg

2 teaspoons allspice

2 teaspoons cloves

1. In a small bowl, combine spices and mix well.

2. Store in an airtight container, labeled accordingly. Makes about 7 1/2 tablespoons.

Apple pie spice blend

3 tablespoons cinnamon

1 tablespoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons cardamom

2 teaspoons allspice

1. In a small bowl, combine spices and mix well.

2. Store in an airtight container, labeled accordingly. Makes about 5 1/2 tablespoons.

Blackened seasoning blend

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon sea salt

2 teaspoons black pepper

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon thyme

1. In a small bowl, combine seasonings and mix well.

2. Store in a glass canning jar or other airtight container and cover tightly with lid. Stir or shake before using. Makes almost 7 tablespoons.

Poultry seasoning blend

2 tablespoons sage

1 1/2 tablespoons thyme

1 tablespoons marjoram

1 tablespoon rosemary (crush if necessary)

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper

1. In a small bowl, combine seasonings and mix well.

2. Store in airtight container with lid. Stir or shake before using. Makes about 6 tablespoons.


1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup shortening

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 3/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, combine butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, eggs and vanilla.

2. In a smaller bowl, mix flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Add flour mixture to the creamed mixture, stirring until well mixed. Shape cookie dough into balls.

3. Mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon. Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

Old-fashioned gingerbread

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 cup molasses

2 1/2 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

1/2 teaspoon cloves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup hot water

1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9-inch square pan.

2. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the egg, and mix in the molasses.

3. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cloves and salt. Blend into the creamed mixture. Stir in the hot water. Pour into prepared pan.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until cakes tests done. Allow gingerbread to cool in pan before serving.

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