Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter

Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter

Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter

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My inspiration for today’s sweet and spicy honey butter comes from my recent 50th birthday celebration. Not only did I get to spend it with some very special people, but I also got to enjoy cake and a few gifts. As a food blogger, nothing says happy birthday more than a foodie gift, right? One of the birthday gifts received was a trio of flavoured gourmet honey. One of them being maple honey, which was fantastic mixed with butter and melted over steamed carrots. Another was pumpkin spice honey which I cheerfully mixed with butter and spread onto a toasted bagel. It was ohhhh so good!

Butter, honey and spices arranged on a wooden board in preparation for Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter.

So in the fashion of sharing, I mixed warm fall spices with honey and butter so you can enjoy Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter without having to worry about finding and buying specialty honey. It’s super easy to make at home and wonderful on baked goods like zucchini bread, muffins, bagels/toast, pancakes and French toast. All I can say now is thank goodness for turning 50, thoughtful people and foodie gifts. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter spread on zucchini bread and arranged on a wooden board with extra butter.
Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter served in a small stainless steel dish and arranged with pine cones.

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Pumpkin Spice Honey Butter

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup salted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground clove

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a medium bowl and mix until smooth.

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Jan Hagel Cookies

Jan Hagel Cookies

A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.

Jan Hagel Cookies

(Dutch Almond Shortbread)

 

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Who can say 2020 was a wonderful year?  I am thankful and happy to report that I can! What makes my year something special is searching for and finding my biological father. My year started with spitting into a test tube through Ancestry.  I’m excited to say the DNA test result matches were more than I expected.  Although they were not a direct match with my biological father, they were a 100% match with three of his close family members. One message sent to my matches got the ball quickly rolling, and within two weeks I had my first contact with my biological father. His name is Bernie, and imagine his surprise, not knowing that I existed until now. How someone digests such a thing I cannot say, but what I found was a very welcoming, warm and sincere man who was “pleasantly surprised” to learn of me. What I also quickly learned was that Bernie is very much a family man with a family of four children. How cool, now I have more siblings!  Wait, not quite… not only was Bernie the man being searched for by an adopted child but also one who has adopted his own four children and over time has assisted them in finding some of their biological roots. So I have to say half-siblings in spirit but not biologically. But the interesting twists in my story don’t end here.  I was adopted by a family who live in the same small town as my biological family.  I went to the same high school his children did, shopped at the same stores and practically grew up right under his nose. Ooooh how small the world just became!

I have since had the pleasure to meet Bernie, his lovely wife Joan, most of his children, two aunts, and cousins. I also have a biological grandmother still gracing the earth at 92 years old, but sadly with our pandemic world I have not been able to meet her yet.  It’s truly hard to find the words to describe what an experience it all has been and continues to be, but I do know that time spent with Bernie and his family is very much a gift and I look forward to our continuing story.

A sheet pan of freshly baked Jan Hagel Cookies resting on a wire rack.

Now, on to the Dutch Jan Hagel cookies, also known as Dutch almond shortbread. As you’ve probably guessed I have learned that I am Dutch on my father’s side. My biological grandparents immigrated to Canada from Holland in 1949 on the vessel RMS Seythia. They settled in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada to farm and raise a family of seven children. I’ve been dabbling in several different Dutch recipes but these cookies are my favourite so far. Jan Hagel Cookies are crisp, buttery and very addictive. They are a traditional Dutch cookie often made at Christmas and will become part of my holiday baking line-up from now on. I’m excited to continue to experiment in Dutch cookery and hope to share more recipes as time goes. Till then, enjoy!

A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.

Author Compelled to Cook, adapted from Jan Hagel Koekjes.

A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.
Jan Hagel Cookies
Print Recipe
    Servings Prep Time
    1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20-22 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
    Cook Time
    20-22 minutes
    A box of crisp and buttery Jan Hagel Cookies wrapped with a navy blue ribbon.
    Jan Hagel Cookies
    Print Recipe
      Servings Prep Time
      1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20-22 minutes
      Servings Prep Time
      1 10"x15" tray 20 minutes
      Cook Time
      20-22 minutes
      Ingredients
      Servings: 10"x15" tray
      Instructions
      1. Preheat oven to 350°F and set oven rack to the middle position. Lightly butter a 10"x15" baking tray, set aside.
      2. Cream together butter and granulated sugar. Divide the egg and add the egg yolk, cinnamon, salt and almond extract. Beat to fully combine. Add flour and mix only until dough starts to come together.
      3. Press or roll dough evenly into prepared pan. Whisk egg white with 1 tbsp water. Brush evenly onto prepared dough. Sprinkle evenly with almonds and then sprinkle with coarse sugar. Just enough to create a nice sparkle.
      4. Bake for 20-22 minutes until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 3-5 minutes and then cut into squares or diamonds while the cookie is warm and soft. Once cut, allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. The cookies will firm up as they cool.
      Recipe Notes

      -coarse sugar is a larger crystal sugar that doesn't melt when baked so it keeps a sparkle on the goods it's sprinkled on. It may also be called pearl sugar, decorators sugar, sparkling sugar.

      -I get about 45 - 2" diamond shaped cookies, plus the best and crispiest half diamonds around the edges.

      -I've tried sliced almonds with and without the skin and both are good to use and is a matter of preference.

      -I find it just as easy to cut the squares instead of just scoring them while they are warm, but if you're having difficulty just score them and cut when cool.

      -cookies are best if eaten while fresh, however they will last in a sealed container at room temperature for several days. If freezing, allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container away from strong odours.

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      I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
      Garlicky Buttered Beans

      Garlicky Buttered Beans

      Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.

      Garlicky Buttered Beans

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      Some will say it’s all about the turkey or roast, but how many of us scour through recipes looking for the perfect side dishes to serve with the turkey? We search for recipes because we dream of the perfect meal, and the meal generally includes side dishes. I definitely fall into this group of recipe searchers, partly because it’s nice to try something new and because I believe accompanying dishes are equally as important to any meal as the main item. Even though everyone will not agree with this sentiment, it’s hard to resist buttery green beans. Add in a good dose of garlic, Dijon and lemon juice and you’ve got a bright and zesty veggie that is perfect served with roast turkey, beef or ham. These Garlicky Buttered Beans just might steal the show.

      Sauteed garlic, butter and Dijon mustard in a stainless steel pan with blanched green beans in the background prepared for Garlicky Buttered Beans.

      Garlicky Buttered Beans start with simple ingredients and the whole dish comes together quickly with little fuss. To help with a busy day in the kitchen, the beans can be cooked and cooled in advance, leaving only a quick sauté in garlicky butter. The Dijon, lemon juice and chili flakes help to liven up plain old green beans. If it’s weeknight cooking for just a few people, go ahead and use only half the amount of the green beans, they’re just saucier. What’s not to love about that. Enjoy!

      Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.

      Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.
      Garlicky Buttered Beans
      Print Recipe
        Servings Prep Time
        6-8 people 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Servings Prep Time
        6-8 people 10 minutes
        Cook Time
        10 minutes
        Garlicky Buttered Beans served in a shallow, oval dish with a wedge of lemon.
        Garlicky Buttered Beans
        Print Recipe
          Servings Prep Time
          6-8 people 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Servings Prep Time
          6-8 people 10 minutes
          Cook Time
          10 minutes
          Ingredients
          Servings: people
          Instructions
          1. Heat a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add green beans and cook at a gentle simmer until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain well.
          2. Meanwhile, gather remaining ingredients and melt butter in a medium skillet. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and saute on low heat until fragrant and slightly softened, about 1 minute, being careful not to brown. Whisk in lemon juice, Dijon, salt and pepper.
          3. Add cooked beans and toss until evenly coated with butter sauce. Serve immediately.
          Recipe Notes

          -Green beans can be cooked and cooled in an ice bath up to one day in advance.  They will need more time to warm in the butter sauce if adding from a chilled state.

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          I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
          Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce

          Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce

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          Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce is an elevated meal for two and takes only a few quality ingredients and less than 30 minutes to prepare.

          Tenderloin steak, butter and balsamic vinegar arranged on a wooden board in preparation for Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce

          Beef tenderloin steaks can be a bit pricy, even for us here in beef country. But what I really like about beef tenderloin is that it’s a relatively lean cut of beef, it’s super tender and flavourful. It deserves a good sear to hold in the moisture and a generous drizzle of balsamic butter sauce.

          Butter sauce comes in many forms, like Beurre Blanc-French butter sauce, Piccata sauce and the sauce on my Tarragon Chicken Cutlets

          A butter sauce is quite simple and uber quick to pull off with a little know-how. In any butter sauce, it’s very important to use cold butter cut into small chunks. Cold butter melts more slowly, allowing the fat particles to breakdown and be dispersed throughout other liquids like wine, lemon juice, stock or in this case, balsamic vinegar. Adding butter gradually is equally as important. It allows all the fat particles to become completely emulsified but at a slower rate. This process creates a thicker and more stable sauce. Scientifically it’s a little more involved, but this gives you the idea behind it.  Enjoy!

          Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce sliced and ready to serve garnished with fresh rosemary.

          Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce sliced and ready to serve garnished with fresh rosemary.
          Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce
          Print Recipe
            Servings Prep Time
            2 people 10-15 minutes
            Cook Time
            12-15 minutes
            Servings Prep Time
            2 people 10-15 minutes
            Cook Time
            12-15 minutes
            Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce sliced and ready to serve garnished with fresh rosemary.
            Steak with Balsamic Butter Sauce
            Print Recipe
              Servings Prep Time
              2 people 10-15 minutes
              Cook Time
              12-15 minutes
              Servings Prep Time
              2 people 10-15 minutes
              Cook Time
              12-15 minutes
              Ingredients
              Servings: people
              Instructions
              1. Pat steaks dry with a paper towel and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
              2. Add oil to a medium stainless steel skillet and heat on high. When the oil is hot add steaks and cook 4 to 4 1/2 minutes per side for medium-rare, flipping only once and getting a good sear on both sides.
              3. Remove steaks to a plate and cover with foil.
              4. Add balsamic vinegar, beef broth and rosemary to the same pan whisking to pick up any beefy bits left behind by the steak. Continue to cook over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes until sauce is reduced by at least half and can coat the back of a spoon. Remove rosemary sprig.
              5. Turn heat to low and whisk in butter one chunk at a time, allowing the butter to be incorporated before adding more. Once all the butter is incorporated remove from heat and adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over steak or on the side as a dipping sauce. Makes about 1/3 cup of sauce.
              Recipe Notes

              Cooking time for steaks will be dependant on size.  The steaks I used were approximately 8 ounces each and 1 1/2 " thick.

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              I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
              Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

              Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits

              Make a better biscuit…

              It’s hard to resist a flaky, buttery biscuit and these Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits are tender and flaky.  So good on their own, dunked or piled high with your favourite fillings. The good thing is, they’re easy to make using basic ingredients.  So what makes a good biscuit?  Let’s look at the basics.

              -use quality butter.

              -use fresh baking powder and baking soda, they do EXPIRE!

              -cut butter into flour evenly to ensure a flaky biscuit.

              -do not overwork the dough, once mixed, only knead enough to bring the dough together.  Overworking dough will result in a tougher biscuit.

              -use a sharp cutting tool for the best edges.

              -brush tops and sides with a whisked mixture of egg and cream for a nice golden exterior.

              What’s a biscuit good for?

              By far my favourite thing to do with a flaky biscuit is dunk it into soup, stew or chili.  But, they’re also wonderful as a sandwich.  Especially these Flaky Jalapeño Cheddar Biscuits, because they spread out a little, making them just the right size for a fried egg…just saying!

              Flaky Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
              Print Recipe
                Servings Prep Time
                8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                Cook Time
                18 minutes
                Servings Prep Time
                8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                Cook Time
                18 minutes
                Flaky Jalapeno Cheddar Biscuits
                Print Recipe
                  Servings Prep Time
                  8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  18 minutes
                  Servings Prep Time
                  8-10 4" biscuits 25 minutes
                  Cook Time
                  18 minutes
                  Ingredients
                  Servings: 4" biscuits
                  Instructions
                  1. Preheat oven to 425℉ and line a large baking tray with parchment.
                  2. In a large bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
                  3. Add cubed butter and using a pastry cutter, cut butter into dry ingredients until pea-sized and evenly distributed.
                  4. Whisk together buttermilk and one large egg. Add to dry ingredients and stir until just starting to come together. Add grated cheese and diced jalapeno and continue to mix until incorporated being careful not to overmix. It will be a bit of a scraggly mess.
                  5. Flour your work surface and dump out the dough. Knead dough a few times to bring everything together. Flatten dough into a 3/4"-1" disk. Using a 3" round cutter, cut out biscuits.
                  6. Reform remaining dough and cut out biscuits. Place biscuits on a parchment lined baking tray.
                  7. Whisk together one large egg and one tbsp of milk or cream. Brush each biscuit top and sides generoulsly. Bake in preheated oven for about 18 minutes until golden and puffed.
                  8. Remove from oven and allow to rest on the tray for 3-5 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. Serve slightly warm.
                  Recipe Notes

                  -these particular biscuits spread out some and are wonderful sliced as a sandwich.

                  -I used a 3" cutter, however for slightly smaller biscuits that would be good for soups or stews a 2 1/2" cutter is probably preferred.

                  Affiliate Disclosure

                  I may receive compensation for purchases made through this site, at no cost to the purchaser. Compelled to Cook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com