90744B82-

In a wondrous act of both Yankee thrift and ingenuity, I managed to get three pumpkin recipes from a single 15 oz. can of pumpkin puree:
last week’s pumpkin apple bread
last night’s pumpkin spice caramel budino
and now, these delightful pumpkin harvest CCCs.

Using my usual CCC recipe, I added fall spices and the last bit (1/3 cup) of puree. Oh, and pecans, because they taste like fall. Of course, I threw Maker’s Mark in there, too. It seemed wrong not to.

These cookies are soft and pillowy with the addition of pumpkin–and the spices lend a tasty twist to the classic, all-American cookie. Hope you love them. We did!

PUMPKIN HARVEST CCCs

1 stick butter (salted), softened
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon clove
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
¾ cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, room temperature
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon Maker’s Mark
½ cup dark chocolate Valrhona feves
½ cup pecans, chopped

Cream the butter and the sugars until light. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add lightly beaten egg, pumpkin puree, bourbon and vanilla; mix just till egg is incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again.

Sift flour, baking soda, salt and spices into a separate bowl. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients in three passes. Mix only until combined: do not overmix. Fold in chocolate chunks and pecans.

Chill dough for one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Adjust racks to lower and upper thirds of the oven. I used an ice cream scoop to make big beauties. Space them 2 inches apart.

Bake for 11-14 minutes (14 in my oven, so that’s 7 minutes up and 7 minutes down). Turn the sheets front to back and switch racks halfway through.

Remove the sheets from the oven to cool a few minutes before moving the cookies to a cooling rack. Makes 22 cookies, but who’s counting?

cookie monster cookies

I hate to speak for the Cookie Monster, but since we share a birthday … I think he’d say these pumpkin harvest CCCs are AHM NOM NOM NOM!!!

Advertisements

DF7D69C1-

PUMPKIN SPICE CARAMEL BUDINO

It smells like fall in here! Which is a pleasant change, as it sure feels a whole lot like summer outside. But I digress. You can still climb aboard the pumpkin spice train and not heat up the house too much with this tasty budino. It’s easiest to break down in steps, so  here we go.

1. In a small bowl, whisk and set aside:
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch

2. In another small bowl, whisk and set aside:
3 egg yolks
Then whisk in:
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon clove
1 cardamom pod, crushed

3. In a small saucepan, combine and heat just to a simmer; then set aside:
½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
½ vanilla bean, scraped

4. Get ready to add at the end:
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark

5. In a separate saucepan, stir to combine over medium heat till sugar dissolves:
1/3 cup light brown sugar
1/3 cup water
Increase heat; cook without stirring for approximately four minutes, then remove from heat.

Now, here’s where we start moving quickly and combining the previous steps.

a. Slowly whisk hot milk mixture into eggs.

b. Whisk milk/eggs into milk/cornstarch.

c. Slowly whisk all the above into saucepan with caramel in it and cook over medium-high heat until it thickens, about 3 minutes.

d. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons Maker’s Mark.

e. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a large pitcher/mixing bowl (makes it easy to pour).

f. Pour budino into four ramekins.

g. Proceed to lick all whisks, spatulas and spoons using during the cooking process. AHM NOM NOM NOM! Or shall we do it in Italian? AHM GNAM GNAM GNAM!!!

18FBB61A-

Rainy Sundays are perfect for baking and yesterday was no exception. I’m hopping on the pumpkin spice train–ALL ABOARD FOR DELICIOUSNESS, WOO-WOOOO! What could be better than the fabulous fall flavors of pumpkin, apple and pecans baked into tasty little mini-loaves?

PUMPKIN APPLE BREAD WITH PECAN STREUSEL TOPPING

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 a stick), softened
1/4 cup oil
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin
1 cup apples, diced (I’m a Macoun girl, they’re perfect in baked goods and as a snack!)
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon bourbon
1 teaspoon vanilla

Pecan streusel topping
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter
¼ cup chopped pecans
Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl; cut in butter with a knife–or fork together. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease four mini-loaf pans.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

Beat oil, butter and sugar.

Add eggs and pumpkin. Beat well. Add sour cream, vanilla and bourbon. Beat some more. 🙂 Gradually add dry ingredients in three or four additions. Combine well. Fold in apples.

Spoon batter into mini-loaf pans. Top with streusel. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35 minutes (in my oven, anyway) or till toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Enjoy the taste of fall–share it with a friend!

70BCC048-

87A92556-

The beauty of a tried and true recipe is how easily you can change it up. If you love the buttery, chewy deliciousness of a blondie and you’re a peanut butter fan, you’ve gotta try these. You could easily add chocolate chips if you like, but I thought I’d make these a little different and add my favorite chocolate lovers’ frosting.

PEANUT BUTTER BOURBON BROWNIES with CHOCOLATE LOVERS’ FROSTING
adapted from Mark Bittman’s original recipe for blondies

1 stick salted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup peanut butter (I like Skippy creamy)
1 large egg
2 tablespooons bourbon
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup + 1 1/2 teaspoons flour (the extra amount is to compensate for the Maker’s Mark)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 x 8″ baking dish. Combine melted butter with brown sugar till smooth. Beat in peanut butter, then egg, bourbon and vanilla.

Combine salt, soda, baking powder and flour. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stir in chopped chocolate.

Pour into baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely, then frost with chocolate lovers’ frosting.

CHOCOLATE LOVERS’ FROSTING (half batch for 8×8″ treats)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) salted butter, softened
2  tablespoons milk (or sour cream, if you have it handy)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/4 cup cocoa (by now, you know my heart belongs to Valrhona)

Beat together butter, milk (or sour cream) and vanilla, then gradually add cocoa and sugar. Frost blondies and enjoy the two great tastes that taste great together!

A74CD29A-

A dough you simply spread in a skillet rather than scoop as individual cookies sounds like the right recipe for right now. You see, I’m getting around on one foot for the next month as I recover from surgery. Not to worry–soon, I’ll be back in action without the pain of plantar fasciitis to slow me down.

In the meantime, it’s amazing how much you can accomplish at your kitchen table–measuring, whisking, chopping–with some brief hops into the kitchen to gather ingredients. Oh, and your mom to run the mixer and put the skillet in the oven. Thanks, Ma!

0A913910-

The dough is spatula-licking good. My shared birthday buddy, Cookie Monster, concurs!

Cookie Monster licking spoon

So let’s get on with the recipe already!

CINNAMON-CHOCOLATE CHUNK SKILLET COOKIE
adapted from Epicurious

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 cup dark chocolate in chunks (my weapon of choice is Valrhona Guanaja 70% feves)

The original recipe calls for a 12″ cast iron skillet. We have a 10″ skillet, so it’s just an adjustment in baking time I’ll share when it’s time to put this in the oven.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Butter skillet and set aside.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda and Kosher salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk together two large eggs and vanilla extract.

In a stand mixer, combine butter and sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add egg/vanilla mixture and beat, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl, till mixture is pale and fluffy–again, about 3 to 4 minutes.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Gradually add dry ingredients. Beat just till combined. Fold in chocolate chunks with a spatula.

Spread dough evenly in skillet. This is a handy job for an offset spatula. Bake till cookie is golden brown around the edges and center is still soft.

For a 12-inch skillet, bake for about 20-25 minutes.
For a 10-inch skillet, it’s more like 25-30 minutes. Take a peek at the 25 minute mark, but it may take even a couple more minutes than 30, depending on your oven.
It’s OK that the center remains soft–when the cookie cools, it will be perfect.

Let cookie cool completely before slicing into wedges and serving. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

C91E30E4-

Warmer weather calls for easy dishes that come together quickly and take advantage of what’s fresh and may be even growing outside your door. For a pasta salad that practically screams TAKE ME TO A PARTY! look no further than this easy recipe. 🙂 And for a simple summer supper at home, just halve the recipe and enjoy.

CAPRESE PASTA SALAD

Dressing
good handful of fresh parsley, chopped coarsely
2/3 cup olive oil
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
zest of 2 lemons (and juice of 1 lemon)
Optional: a couple of thyme sprigs

Pasta Salad
1 pound pasta, cooked/drained (I used bite-size rigatoni; double elbows would be great, too)
2 pints grape tomatoes, halved
3/4 pound ciliegine (small, cherry-sized fresh mozzarella), halved
1/3 pound peppered salami, sliced about 1/4″ thick, then cubed–about two slices
1/4 cup basil (I used a combo of Genovese and lemon basil), chiffonade

Whisk together dressing ingredients to let the flavors meld. Just before I started cooking the pasta, I let the tomatoes hang out in the dressing a bit.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Right before you’re ready to add the pasta, combine dressing, tomatoes, mozzarella, salami and basil–mix well. Drain pasta, add to other ingredients, making sure everything is coated/combined. Serve warm. Leftovers go in the fridge, of course. GNAM GNAM GNAM. Mangia! Mangia!

 

 

 

carrot cake cookies

As a carrot cake lover, I was intrigued when I started seeing carrot cake cookies. Not a fan? It might help to think of these cookies as a convenient delivery system for my very best and favorite frosting: bourbon salted caramel. I halved a recipe from Land o’Lakes and adapted ever so slightly, adding coconut and my own frosting. I’d rather bake, share and enjoy a small batch than drown in cookies. Though, if I had a choice, drowning in these cookies wouldn’t be so bad. At all.

CARROT CAKE COOKIES WITH BOURBON SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING

1 stick butter, softened
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup carrots, shredded (you’ll need about 2 medium carrots to shred 1 cup)
½ cup pecans, finely chopped

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. In your mixing bowl, combine butter and sugars. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add egg and vanilla; beat till well incorporated. Sift (or whisk) together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet. Beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well combined. Stir in carrots, coconut and pecans.

I used my Zeroll #60 (pink) scoop to portion the dough. Barring a scoop, drop by rounded tablespoons onto greased cookie sheets. I baked mine 6 minutes on the upper rack of the oven, then swapped front to back and top to bottom for another 6 minutes, for a total of 12. I found the cookies easiest to move to the cookie rack after letting them sit a minute or so after taking them out of the oven. As the cookies cool, let’s make the frosting.

BOURBON SALTED CARAMEL FROSTING

First, make the salted caramel. In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, whisk together:

1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
good pinch of salt

Continue to whisk till sugar dissolves, then cook for one more minute. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, get the rest of the frosting together.

3 oz. cream cheese (I got away with Neufchâtel, so can you), softened
4 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons bourbon
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Cream together butter, cream cheese, bourbon and vanilla. Gradually blend in powdered sugar. Then blend in salted caramel. This makes plenty of frosting, so you can frost generously and should still have some extra frosting to enjoy on a spoon or your fingers!

Enjoy with a cuppa tea, a glass of milk and/or a good friend.

carrot cake cookies and a cuppa