As we begin turning the page on the final week of October, we are surely at the heart and splendor of Fall. With Fall, especially as we head through the last week of October and the great, mysterious and trick-filled holiday, that is Halloween, come pumpkins, scarecrows, jack-o-lanterns, costumes, trick-or-treat, Halloween parties, hayrides and many other festivities representative of the holiday also known as “All Hallow’s Eve”.
Before we delve into a fantastic and delicious holiday recipe I’ll share with you, I wanted to take a moment to divulge some of the lesser known history of Halloween. or as it originally was termed, “All Hallow’s Eve”. As we all know, Halloween has become holiday where people of all ages dress up in costume, go around their neighborhoods, and ring the doorbell of any house whose porch light is on and say “trick-or-treat”. The door would then open (hopefully) and the trick-or-treater would be greeted with candy or chocolate or any other kind of Halloween treat. People of all ages would do this on Halloween night until their hearts were content with the amount of Halloween goodies that had aggregated over the entirety of the night. Because of this tradition of going from house-to-house, saying trick-or-treat, and receiving treats on Halloween night, this night also became known as “Beggers’ Night”.
Now for the untold story of Halloween, and while many are versed in this story or are familiar with bits and pieces of the story, allow me to divulge the history of Halloween, in a nutshell, of course. Halloween was original called, “All Hallow’s Eve” and had more religious and spiritual meaning than it does today, as commercialism has taken over the holiday, as it does with most. The original intent of “All Hallow’s Eve” which still is observed today, for the most part, was to wear costumes and masks to disguise oneself in order to thwart off and frighten the evil or “malignant” spirits that, according to legend, roamed the world of the living for one night, “All Hallow’s Eve”. This night had a connection to the Christian Holy Day of “All Saints Day” which falls the day after Halloween. So, for all intents and purposes, All Hallow’s Eve was a night in which people dressed up to disguise themselves in mask and garb in order to scare off any evil spirits that may “stain” the purity of the Holy Day of All Saints Day. Through the years and centuries to come, as you can see, All Hallow’s Eve garnered much attention, especially through commercialism and transpired into what is known today as Halloween.
To celebrate the spirit of the holiday, here is a famous recipe for Pumpkin Rolls. A recipe that will have you begging for more!
What You’ll Need:
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, divided
- 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 stick butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
What To Do:
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Coat a rimmed 10″ x 15″ baking sheet with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice.
- Stir in pumpkin and eggs. Pour mixture onto prepared baking sheet, spreading evenly.
- Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and invert onto a clean kitchen towel that has been sprinkled with 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar.
- While cake is still hot, roll it up in the towel jelly roll-style from the narrow end; cool on a wire rack.
- When cool, unroll cake and remove towel.
- In a small bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and remaining confectioners’ sugar.
- Spread onto cooled cake and immediately re-roll (without towel).
- Place on serving platter and refrigerate until ready to serve. Cut into slices just before serving.
- To give this the final touch, sprinkle on some confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
Recipe Source: http://www.mrfood.com/Cakes/Pumpkin-Spice-Roll
Cheese is great anytime of the year, but as with many foods out there, cheeses can be different in taste, texture, and quality with the changing of the seasons. For example, a number of cheeses will exhibit their peak flavor and texture during the cooler/colder months of the year. These types of cheese are classified into two groups, that is (1) cheeses made from the milk of animals that is produced during peak spring and summer months, usually falling between May and October and (2) cheeses made from the milk of animals produced during peak fall and winter months, usually falling between November and March).
Not only do cheeses themselves vary fundamentally from season to season, but they can also exhibit distinct seasonal variability from region to region. This revolves around when the temperatures turn too cold for animals to remain outside. During peak spring and summer months, animals producing dairy products consume fresh grass, wild flowers, herbs and any other plants, shrubs or grasses that nature may sprout up. On the contrary, as the weather turns colder, these animals remain in sheltered environments and their diets consist mainly of dried hay or silage (grasses which are harvested and gathered at their peak state and preserved for the winter by fermentation processes). With this change in seasonal diets, particularly during the winter months, the animal still produces milk, albeit, the volume and flavors are not at their peak as they would be in spring and summer dairy production; during the spring and summer months, the milk has a distinct sweet, herbal flavor from the grasses and wild flowers the animals consume from the mountain side.
While a number of cheeses are best when aged, this is not the case for all cheeses. Non-aged cheeses are at their peak during the spring and summer months. This would include cheeses such as mozzarella, feta and chevre. Cheeses which are aged, however, can take a longer time to reach their peak flavor and texture. This means that cheeses made from animals’ milk during the spring and summer months may have to wait until the following year to be able to enjoy the full value of the cheese.
Cheeses made from animals’ milk in the spring and summer months which are at their peak flavor and texture by the following winter are:
- Colston Basset Stilton
- Rogue River Blue
- Uplands Cheese Pleasant Ridge Reserve
With the colder months of winter, come cheeses that are produced from the milk of animals whose diet consists mainly of dried hay. These cheeses will be void of many of the distinct, vibrant flavors of cheeses produced from milk produced in spring and summer. However, cheese produced from milk during winter months have a higher fat content which yields very rich cheeses. One of the most highly touted cheeses on the planet comes from winter milk from the same breed of cows that produce summer milk that makes Gruyere called, Vacherin Mont d’Or.
Because of the overall decrease in the overall production of milk during the winter months, winter milk cheeses are generally on the smaller end of the size spectrum while the aging process is over a much shorter time period.
While historians and banana bread “experts”, if there is even such a thing, claim knowledge to the origin and primitive creations of banana bread, the true origins and historical beginnings of this delicious dessert-style bread is not entirely known, albeit large doses of speculation exist at the forefront. What we do know is that banana bread is a a moist and delicious after-meal eat.
One thing we do know is that history of bananas gives us insight that bananas have been around and a mainstay of agriculture for about the last 200+ years.With the birth and inception of such ingredients as baking powder ad baking soda, came the invention of banana bread. When baking banana bread, the ideal bananas are not the green ones that came in just hours ago, but the ones that are soft, yellow and much more ripened and appear golden-yellow in color. Bananas tend to ripen very quickly. A good practice is when you have very green (not yet ripe) bananas, place them in a brown paper bag and they will nearly-instantly begin turning ripe, albeit, by “instantly”, we’re looking at about 12 hours in a brown bag, rather than 12 minutes.
Essentially, a banana muffin recipe nearly parallels banana bread as it exhorts a very similar texture and flavor. A critical component to both recipes (banana muffin and banana bread) is to mix the ingredients when dry with wet ingredients only until they become blended with each other. Of both recipes, banana muffins seem to be the easier recipe. Banana bread and banana muffins are a great breakfast item and a very easy to grab, on-the-go food. Both recipes are taken to an entirely different level when nuts are added, increasing the moisture and sweetness of the bread and muffins.
Here is some recipes for banana bread, banana muffins and all-bran banana bread:
HOW TO MAKE BANANA BREAD
- 2 bananas (ripened, yellow-look)
- 1 cup of sugar
- ½ cup of oil
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups of flour
- 3 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1/8 Teaspoon salt
- 1 Cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees.
- Grease and lightly flour bread loaf pan.
- Mash ripe bananas in a bowl; add sugar, oil, and eggs and beat until smooth.
- Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt; stir in the nuts
- Combine the dry mixture with the banana mixture and stir in until blended.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
BANANA MUFFIN RECIPE
When I learned how to make banana bread, here is my muffin recipe.
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1 ¾ cups of flour
- 2 teaspoons of baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 1 beaten egg
- ½ cup of milk
- ¼ cup of cooking oil
- ¾ cup of mashed ripe bananas
- ½ cup of chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 400°F degrees.
- Line muffin tins with paper liners.
- Combine in a mixing bowl flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nuts; Blend and make a well in the center.
- Combine in another bowl the milk, egg, oil and bananas; blend well.
- Add the banana mixture all at once in the well of the dry ingredients; stir just until moist.
- Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full and bake about 20 minutes or until pick comes out clean.
ALL BRAN BANANA BREAD RECIPE
- ¼ Cup solid shortening
- ½ Cup sugar
- 1 Egg
- 1 Cup All Bran Cereal
- 1 ½ Cups mashed bananas
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ Cups flour
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder
- ½ Teaspoon salt
- ½ Teaspoon baking soda
- ½ Cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven to 350°F degrees; grease loaf pan.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda; stir in the bran and nuts and set aside.
- Cream shortening and sugar; ad egg and beat well.
- Add mashed bananas and vanilla; beat until well blended.
- Add dry ingredients and mix with a spoon until well blended.
- Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan and bake about 1 hour or until the pick comes out clean.
Source: Recipes/photo from http://www.painlesscooking.com/how-to-make-banana-bread.html
As we delve further into the heart of Fall, with Winter to follow, moods get dull and that spice of life seems to dissipate over the course of time through the year’s last few months and the through the handful of months to start a new year. This is what we sometimes call the Fall and Winter Blues. But, it does not have to be this way. We can always enjoy the finer things Fall and Winter has to offer. For example, waking up on a Fall morning to a nice cup of coffee or tea, throwing on a hoodie and hiking the open trails painted with Fall colors, or, waking up on a winter morning with nowhere to go and wrapping that extra blanket around you for just another hour of sleep. While Fall and Winter can bring out the blues in many a number, I prefer to think the spice of life can still be found over these two seasons, if we just try to look hard enough.
Speaking of the spice of life, Shisler’s can help you bring out the best of Fall and Winter with our line of products that can add that extra zest to any blues-infested mood.
Who doesn’t love a good piece of cheese, complimented with a glass of fine wine. To see our line of fine, aged (or not aged) imported and domestic cheeses, please visit HERE.
Chocolates are amazing anytime of the year. However, they become increasingly desirable and irresistible as the seasons change, especially as colder weather becomes the trend. Shisler’s is well-known for the chocolates we carry, and we are proud to carry signature chocolates from Heggy’s and Stefanelli’s. Our selection of Heggy’s Chocolates is a vast one featuring everything from assorted milk chocolates to maple walnut creams. With such a vast selection to choose from, there is an option for almost everyone. Our selection of Stefanelli’s includes their signature “Sponge Candy” which a combination of sea-foam toffee covered in chocolate. From experience, let me tell you this… once you have one, it is essentially game over as you’ve fallen victim to the domino effect. Once you have one, that turns to two, two turns to three… and so on. Trust me when I tell you this, the effect is real. To see our selection of chocolates, please visit HERE.
Finally, if all this were not enough to cure the Fall and Winter blues, let our selection of gourmet foods help rejuvenate, not only your mood, but your taste buds. Wake up on a cold Winter morning to a buttered roll, and instead of using “Land O’ Lakes” butter, try some of our locally, homemade Rolled Amish Butter. If you’re in an undeniable mood for pancakes or waffles, choose from our selection of locally, homemade maple syrups and try them in our wide selection of flavors including: Blackberry Pecan, Blueberry, Cinnamon Sticky Bun, Lavender, Red Raspberry and Shagbark Hickory. With such a selection of incredible flavors, you really cannot go wrong. And, if you are up for a delicious, hot cup of tea, we some fantastic honey that will compliment any cup of tea. To see our selection of specialty foods, please visit HERE.
Photo Credit: Stephen Hamilton
When you think cinnamon, you think sweet, you might think of a spice, you might think of bread, pancakes, coffee or even cereal. But the quintessential creation involving cinnamon is none other than the Cinnamon Roll. The ooey, gooey, warm taste of a cinnamon roll on a cold, winter day with a cup of hot cocoa or coffee simply cannot be beat. Cinnamon, sugar and butter, on their own, are relatively mundane ingredients. When they come together, though, is when the fireworks shoot off and we can clearly see the marriage of these ingredients present in every cinnamon roll made on this planet, albeit, different variations of this sweet treat exist.
Cinnamon Rolls, while not having been around since the beginning of time, although sometimes its seems very hard to fathom our world every having lived without them, the ingredients used in making cinnamon rolls have been around for millenniums… literally. Bread, cinnamon, sugar and butter have all been around since before the time of Christ. Yeast bread dates back to around the year 1,000 BC and was first discovered in ancient Egypt. Cinnamon is nearly double in age as it dates back to around the time of the birth of Christ, circa 2,000 BC. Cinnamon was often imported from Egypt to China and was very highly regarded to where it was actually passed off as a gift for monarchs of the day. Butter, similarly, dates back to a similar period as cinnamon. Around the middle of the 19th century, machines began taking place of manual labor often done by farmers’ wives when it came to making mass quantities of butter. Finally, sugarcane was first discovered in a region, now called New Guinea. First cultivated in the US sometime in the 1700s, the first sugarcane refinery was built in the late 17th century in New York.
The Birth of the Cinnamon Roll
The very first cinnamon roll was created in Sweden. Cinnamon rolls are so well-acclaimed that it has its own national day, October 4th, National Cinnamon Bun Day. In Sweden, cinnamon rolls are not nearly as sweet and heavy as they are in the US. In Swedish practice, cinnamon rolls are made from dough that contains a hint of cardamom, a ginger-based spice. The cinnamon rolls are baked into muffin wrappers to make a more enjoyable and not so-messy treat.
Behind the Name
In Swedish lingua, “kanelbulle” is the coined term for cinnamon rolls, which literally means, no surprise, “cinnamon bun”. Other names that cinnamon rolls have adapted over its rich history is “sticky rolls” and “sticky buns”. However, with these various names comes various renditions of the original cinnamon roll. Some of these may not even contain cinnamon, but either more of a sugar-based glaze or a honey-based glaze.
Cinnamon Rolls hit the US
They say cinnamon rolls are a very popular commodity for breakfast in the US, but I say they’re great any time of the day. They don’t have to be restricted for breakfast only. One type of cinnamon rolls dating back to the 18th century called the Philadelphia-style cinnamon rolls, containing honey, sugar, cinnamon and raisins. Since the rise of the Philadelphia version, a number of renditions of the famed cinnamon treat have taken the nation by storm in the centuries since.
The time of the year is quick upon us where the air gets cooler and crisper, the leaves begin to gradually change colors and it is a tad too chilly to go to your car in the morning with shorts and a tee-shirt, as you did seemingly weeks ago. You go into your closet, and in the box in the far corner of your closet, it is that time to retrieve that “warmer-layered” clothing as Fall presses onward, and the terrible “W” is soon to follow. Fall is a beautiful time of the year. It is almost like the passing of one age to another. You go outside and you notice the fog beginning to settle in more across low-lying areas and the dew becomes slightly thicker on surfaces. You find yourself adding an extra blanket to your sleeping repertoire and drinking more coffee, tea and hot cocoa to keep you just a little warmer to combat the cooler days.
I love every season of the year, and each for their own reasons. I love Fall because of the changing leaves making for beautiful Fall foliage photography, or just taking in the scenes during a Fall afternoon hike. If there is something just as peaceful and serene as the turning of leaves to a myriad of Fall colors, is having a classic campfire with family and friends on a weekend night, or during a night of the week, just to escape from the daily demands of work and life, just even for an hour or two. Roasting marshmallows or eating delicious sweet treats makes the scenes and campfires of Fall that much more enjoyable and refreshing.
One of my favorite things to do as the weather gets cooler, and this gets as mundane as mundane can get, but for me, it’s the simpler things in life. I love the feeling of putting on a fresh hoodie. Just something about the softness and the warmth as it combats the cooler Fall air with cup of coffee or hot cocoa in hand, perhaps sitting alongside a campfire exchanging stories and laughs with family and friends.
Not to thwart these wonderful Fall feelings, but it appears as though this Fall could bring some milder air that Falls of years past. Grant it, we will probably see some cooler snaps, throughout October and November, like this past week for example, but the overall trend appears warmer through November and even into early parts of December before the cold and snow of winter take over. And, yes, it does like we will be getting our share of cold and snow this year, so get the shovels out and have the coats, scarves, hats, mittens and boots on standby.
In the mean time, be sure to stop by Shisler’s Cheese House for your own supply of cheese, sweets and other goodies that will enjoy the cool, but beautiful Fall months.