Pumpkin pie spice is a blend of the spices commonly used in pumpkin pie. It typically includes cinnamon, nutmeg, and at least one of the following: cloves, allspice, and mace. Sometimes it includes ground cardamom.
All of these are spices many of us would associate with the smell of a cozy kitchen on a cold winter day. They are commonly used in apple pie, apple sauce, and other apple dishes, as well as pumpkin pie. Indeed, pumpkin pie spice can just as easily be used for all of those things, and more. Here are some of them:
Chocolate and Coffee: Add a dash of pumpkin pie spice to a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. The spices it contains are the same that are commonly sprinkled in cocoa; restaurants often serve hot cocoa with a little nutmeg and cinnamon. Coffee shops usually keep cinnamon, and sometimes nutmeg, for customers to add to their coffee along with cream and sugar. All of the spices in pumpkin pie spice add a surprisingly delicious flavor to either drink.
Chai: For a lazy cook’s version, add milk, pumpkin pie spice, and sugar if desired, to a well steeped cup of black tea. Add about a teaspoonful of the spice at a time, and taste, until it tastes as you like it. This does not hold a candle to real chai, but it is a passable imitation.
Hot apple cider: Slowly heat apple juice, with about a teaspoonful of pumpkin pie spice per cup, in a pan on low heat, or for a couple of minutes in a microwave.
Pancakes: If you are making them from scratch or with a basic mix (i.e. Bisquick), add about a teaspoon (5 ml) of pumpkin pie spice. Many pancake recipes call for cinnamon and nutmeg, and one or more of the other spices adds a good flavor. Basic mixes and simpler recipes omit the spices, so if you add pumpkin pie spice, it will make your pancakes tastier.
French toast: Add a dash or two of pumpkin pie spice to the batter.
Muffins: No cookbook is complete without a simple, basic muffin recipe. Usually, it’s the same ingredients as a basic pancake recipe, only baked in a muffin tin. The most basic recipes do not call for any spices. To these muffin recipes, add about a teaspoon (5 ml) or so of pumpkin pie spice per dozen muffins. You can also add nuts or fruit.
Oatmeal: A sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice gives it a pleasant, rather sweet flavor, with or without sugar. Add raisins and/or apples if desired.
Squash: Cut any winter squash (except spaghetti squash) in half and remove the seeds. Sprinkle the fleshy sides with pumpkin pie spice, dot with butter or margarine, and bake in a covered baking dish at 350 F (175 C) until soft. This will usually take about 30 – 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. This is a simple way to enjoy butternut, acorn, delicata, and many other winter squashes, and a real treat for anyone who has never encountered winter squash outside of a pumpkin pie.
Apples: Again, pumpkin pie spice is the same as the seasonings used in apple pie and apple sauce. Baked apples are even simpler to make, and no less tasty. Core the apple, fill the inside with butter or margarine and spice, and bake, like the squash, above. Instead of a covered baking dish, the apples may be wrapped in foil. If you are camping, you can bake foil wrapped apples in the coals of the campfire, like potatoes. For a campfire variation, marshmallows may be added to the center of the apple.
Other recipes: Any recipe that calls for cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground cloves, allspice, or mace, may be made with pumpkin pie spice as a substitute.