Every good Canadian girl loves Anne of Green Gables. She was the quintessential, quirky red head of literature before making fun of "gingers" became a cultural phenomenon. In the books, she captivates everyone around her with her imagination, curiosity and optimism, and even charms them with her mistakes and misadventures. There's a quote that has been going around Pinterest lately from the first book in the chapter where Anne invites Diana over to tea only to accidentally serve her alcohol instead of raspberry cordial. It is one of my favourite scenes in the book/film/musical--and I have read, watched and listened many times.
The chapter starts: "October was a beautiful month at Green Gables, when the birches in the hollow turned as golden as sunshine and the maples behind the orchard were royal crimson and the wild cherry trees along the lane put on the loveliest shades of dark red and bronzy green, while the fields sunned themselves in aftermaths.
Anne reveled in the world of color about her.
"Oh, Marilla," she exclaimed one Saturday morning, coming dancing in with her arms full of gorgeous boughs" 'I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers. It would be terrible if we just skipped from September to November, wouldn't it? Look at these maple branches. Don't they give you a thrill--several thrills?"
Maybe these days she would be considered too flighty or dreamy. I love that she is who she wants to be and respects everyone else she meets as "kindred spirits." She has good intentions, but still manages to accidentally make her friend drunk, hit her nemesis/lover Gilbert over the head with a chalkboard and die her hair green. I don't think Anne (with an "e") ever had a Pumpkin Spice Latte or Instagrammed a photo of fall leaves. I know I agree with her that October is such an essential month; it's when we see the seasons change, we give thanks for everything we have and we start dressing warmer--and a little stranger, for Halloween.
Before we start talking about fall pumpkin recipes, let's get one thing straight. There is no such thing as "pumpkin spice." See the diagram below: pumpkin plus spices equals a pumpkin dessert. Yes, there are spices that go particularly well with pumpkin, such as nutmeg, ginger and cinnamon; however, I'm pretty sure "pumpkin spice" was created by companies--we all know who--to cash in on tasty fall flavours. I have never seen a spice jar labelled "pumpkin spice" in my life. Feel free to challenge me on this one. It just refers to something that has pumpkin in it and also spices, such as these baked doughnuts.
Pumpkin spice doughnuts with cinnamon sugar (recipe from Cooking Classy)
1 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground ginger
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pure pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 6 or 12 piece doughnut pan. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar and brown sugar together until well combined. Add the oil, eggs, pumpkin, vanilla and blend until mixture is well blended. Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix. Spoon the batter into the donut pan up to about 3/4 full. Bake for 13-16 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool the doughnuts slightly.
In a large bag, combine the sugar and cinnamon and shake together. Add one warm doughnut to the bag and cover with sugar mixture. Place the donuts on a wire rack to cool completely. This recipe makes about 18 doughnuts.
These doughnuts are chewy and quite dense from the pumpkin. Because they are not fried they are a little bit "cakier" than regular doughnuts. I like how they are substantial and flavourful. If the coating doesn't seem to stick, dip each donut in a little bit of melted butter and then add the cinnamon sugar. A simple glaze made from icing sugar and milk would also work. Like, Anne, I am also glad we live in a world with Octobers where I can find endless pumpkin recipes and inspiration.