Don't you just love apples this time of year?
As much as they define one of the flavors of this season, there is another possibly more characteristic component to Fall baking. It is none other than the spices used to bake them. Nowhere is spice more indicative of a time or season, that in Autumn. Wafting aromas from an opened bottle of apple pie spice hit me with a heady, cozy image of Fall, cooler temperatures, big, warm sweaters, trick-or-treating, streets lined with red, yellow, and brown leaves that crinkle underfoot, and of course, Thanksgiving. Mmmm, delicious.
So, in this post, I am going to teach you how to make one spice blend that is essential to Fall baking - apple pie spice. And no, it is not only great for apple pie. It is fabulous in cookies, cakes, cheesecakes, pancakes and muffins, breads, and any other dessert you want to label "spiced" or "Autumnal" which to me, is entirely synonymous with comfort.
You can use pre-ground spices for the below recipe and end up with a really nice result. Some spices, such as nutmeg and cloves, I like to buy in whole form and grate when I need them. It lends a distinctively fresher flavor. Making your own spice blends is quite an economical way to go. Plus you will have many more spices in your pantry to play around with. And remember to do just that - play around with your spice blends to come up with your favorite flavors. There are so many variations on spice blends that the possibilities are endless. Good luck and have fun!
Apple Pie Spice
(Created by Leelabean)
Yield: a little under 1/2 cup
1/4 c ground cinnamon
2 T ground nutmeg
1 T allspice
1 t ginger (optional)
1 t ground cardamon (optional)
Blend all spices and store in an airtight container for up to 18 months. Experiment by varying the amounts or throwing in some ground cloves (make sure to use very little as clove is a very potent spice) for a slightly different variation on this apple pie spice blend.