Divas on a Dime: Easy-going spice blend great for goodies and gifting

Here’s a quick recipe for easy homemade gingerbread spice mix, the perfect addition to your holiday repertoire. If pumpkin spice is the flavor of autumn, then gingerbread spice is the spice blend of winter. The ingredients are similar, but the balance of the spices yields a completely different result.

Gingerbread spice can replace cinnamon in many recipes and this versatile mix is wonderful added to hot chocolate, coffee or chai tea. I love it stirred into oatmeal or yogurt. It will also add unique flavor to cakes, cookies, pancakes and so, so much more!

GINGERBREAD SPICE BLEND

Time: 5 minutes

Yield: Makes about 1/3 cup

What You’ll Need:

2 tablespoons cinnamon

2 tablespoons ground ginger

1 ½ teaspoons ground allspice

1 ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon finely ground pepper

Here’s How:

Blend all ingredients together. Store in an airtight container. Th-th-th-th that’s all folks!

Please note – this stuff is potent! Now, what do we do with all this goodness?

Gingerbread Cream Cheese – With a hand mixer, whip 8 ounces of softened cream cheese until fluffy then add; ¼ cup each chopped pecans and raisins or dried cranberries, 2 tablespoons each chopped crystallized ginger and maple syrup with ½ teaspoon gingerbread spice. Schmere on bagels.

White Chocolate Gingerbread Bark – Melt (12 oz.) bag white chocolate chips in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until smooth. Spread in a thin layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon gingerbread spice mixed with ¼ cup turbinado sugar. Let set, break into pieces.

Shortcut Gingersnap Snickerdoodle Cookies – Mix one (16.5 oz.) tube refrigerated sugar cookie dough with 1/3 cup molasses, ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup diced crystalized ginger and 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice. Roll tablespoonful sized balls of dough in cinnamon and place 2 inches apart onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 16 to 18 minutes or until set around the edges.

Gingerbread Palmiers (pahl-me-yay) – Pulse 2 gingersnap cookies (the cheap ones), and ¼ cup diced butter, 2 tablespoons each unsweetened cocoa powder, diced crystalized ginger and granulated sugar and 2 teaspoons gingerbread spice in a food processor to make a paste.

Spread on a sheet of thawed frozen puff pastry. Fold in 2 opposite sides to meet in the middle; fold into the middle again. Sprinkle with sugar. Slice crosswise into ¼-inch pieces. Bake at 425°F on a parchment-lined baking sheet, 12 to 14 minutes.

Gingerbread Monkey Bread – Spray a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix ½ cup granulated sugar, 1 teaspoon gingerbread spice in a zip-top bag. Take 2 cans refrigerated biscuits, separate biscuits and cut each into quarters. Shake in bag to coat and arrange in pan.

In a small bowl melt 1 cup brown sugar and ¾ cup butter and pour over biscuit pieces. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool for 10 minutes, turn upside down onto serving plate and serve warm.

Gingerbread spice makes a great gift. If you do nothing else, sprinkle it with sugar on hot buttered toast.

Frugal and festive food by Patti Diamond from “Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!” – www.divasonadime.com Join the conversation on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom.

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