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October Makes Me Fall in Love

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Graham Cracker-crusted Sweet Potato Bread w Molasses Caramel

Over the summer I took a little hiatus from baking and cooking on my personal time, but this fall I have returned to my roots. Thus far I’ve trapped friends in my home forcing them to drink cocktails with me while I wait for pumpkin + apples loaves to bake, chocolate cakes to experiment with, and halloween shaped graham crackers to cut out by the lot. They get to eat whatever comes out of the oven and I get drinking buddies for the day.

If you’re up for it, and care to make all the components, this loaf is super fall - it’s a dessert made for wearing flannel.

First, you make the Graham Crackers. Once those are made, break them up + line your loaf pan with them - a delicious crust. Then pour your Sweet Potato + Nutmeg Loaf batter over the Graham Crackers. Top it off with a few more crumbles of the Grahams and bake. Once it’s all said and done and cool, drizzle heavily with the Salted Molasses Caramel.

I ate my slice with butter and more caramel.

Graham Crackers:

Preheat oven to 350

1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour

¼ cup sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of cloves

½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp salt

2 TB maple syrup

2 TB pumpkin puree

1 TB molasses

¼ cup +1 TB canola oil

Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the wet and then use your hands to combine into a dough. Roll out - on a floured service, it will be sticky - nice and thin (think of how thin graham crackers are, you want them crisp). Cut into squares, place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet, sprinkle with lots of sugar and bake 15 minutes.

Let cool.

Sweet Potato + Nutmeg Loaf:

W/ oven at 350 degrees

Yields 2 loaf pans

4 ½ cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ TB salt

1 ½ TB baking powder

½ TB baking soda

1 cup pureed sweet potato - roast it, remove from skin, puree

1 cup + 1 TB canola oil

1 ½ TB vinegar

2 ½ cups milk - any kind

Mix together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the middle and combine all the wet ingredients. Whisk until integrated and there are no chunks.

Grease loaf pans with canola oil. Crumble 10-15 graham crackers so they coat the bottom of both loaf pans. Divide the batter between the two. Top with more graham crackers. Bake 50-60 minutes, or until a knife comes out completely clean. Let cool all the way before removing from the pans.

To serve/eat:

Drizzle the top with your caramel

Salted Molasses Caramel:

(This makes a lot, but no one ever had too much caramel on hand)

1/2lb butter (regular or vegan)

2 ½ cups brown sugar

¼ cup molasses

1 TB salt

1 ¼ cup milk - if you can have dairy I suggest heave cream.

Melt butter, brown sugar, molasses + salt over stove. Stir until it just dissolves. Add the milk and let boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool or use right away.

Roasted Sweet Potato w/ Avocado, Pomegranate w/ Herby Goat Cheese

Since I’m into luring my friends over with the promise of cocktails and baked goods, I’ve got to feed them something while the treats bake. Or else they might drink too much and stay forever.

I like this salad for early autumn in Charleston because it’s very warm and cozy with the hot roasted sweet potatoes, but it also has the cool qualities from the avocado, goat cheese and juicy pomegranates. I want it to feel like a New England Fall but in reality it’s still 90 degrees out, so this salad satisfies my nostalgia and gives in to that Charleston sunshine.

Eat this salad however way you want, but I layered everything like I was making nachos (the only thing I ever truly want to make and eat) and when I ate the extras later for dinner I added two fried eggs. Also, the extra leftover marinated goat cheese is good on anything.

1 large sweet potato

1 avocado

1 pomegranate

1 TB black sesame seeds

1 TB pumpkin seeds - toasted

1 lime

Marinated Goat Cheese:

1 4oz log log chevre

6-8 chives

3 scallions

8-12 sprigs cilantro

½ cup pickled red onion (either store bought or follow the recipe below)

¼ cup olive oil

Juice from 1 lime

1 tsp salt

2 tsp chili flakes

Pre-heat oven to 450. Cut sweet potato into even wedges. Coat w/ olive oil, salt, pepper and if you’d like some heat add chili flakes + sriracha. Roast until caramelized and fork tender.

Toast pumpkin seeds 5-10 minutes until brown.

Aril your pomegranate and cut your avocado into cubes

Make the marinated goat cheese but chopping the herbs and onions, crumbling the goat cheese and mixing all the ingredients together. Let sit (can even sit overnight).

To assemble: Arrange the roasted sweet potato wedges on a plate. Top w/ the avocado cubes and pomegranate arils. Sprinkle the seeds on top. Depending on your appetite for marinated goat cheese, start with ¼ cup and layer it on top of everything - trying to distribute evenly. Drizzle with a final squeeze of lime and you’re all set!

Pickled Red Onion:

2lbs red onion - mandolin or thinly sliced

½ cup sugar

1 cup boiling water

1 cup vinegar

Mix the sugar and the boiling water until it dissolves. Cover the onions with the sugar water and the vinegar. Let sit overnight.

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