Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Food

With every season there are a handful of recipes that are on my absolute must-make list. For fall, we’re talking butternut squash, homemade applesauce, cheesy bowtie bratwurst casserole and pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

It’s no secret that pumpkin spice is a an all-time favorite for most (#PSL season started two months ago), and this recipe combines the rich, rustic spices of fall with milk chocolate for a winning combination.

As I’ve mentioned before, I also love this recipe for the cookies’ consistency (think dessert AND breakfast) and love how many batches the dough renders.

And while this recipe is super simple, it’s also quite elegant – great for both cookie connoisseurs and beginning bakers alike!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
  3. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy.
  4. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.
  6. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds.
  7. Stir in the chips.
  8. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges.
  9. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks or paper bags.
  10. Share with friends and family for a hyggelig time!

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*Original recipe retrieved from FoodNetwork.com
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How to Make Muddy Buddies

Food

This time of year, it’s easy to become cookied-out. In other words, feel as if one more Christmas cookie will simply cause you to burst, being as sick of them as you are.

So what sweet treat do you make when planning for a New Year’s Eve get together? Simplest answer: Muddy Buddies.

One of the easiest dessert snacks you can make in THE entire world, this treat is immensely satisfying and (quite frankly) a bit addicting.

Ingredients:

  • 9 cups of wheat Chex cereal
  • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar

Directions:

  • Measure your cereal out into a large bowl
  • Melt the chocolate chips, peanut butter and butter together in the microwave (approximately 1 minute)
  • Stir your melted ingredients
  • If not fully melted, place in the microwave for an additional 30 seconds
  • Stir in the vanilla extract
  • Pour melted ingredients over top of the cereal
  • Mix everything together
  • Place the coated Chex cereal into a sealed plastic bag with the confectioners’ sugar
  • Shake it up!
  • Lay the Muddy buddies out on waxed or parchment paper to cool
  • Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator or in a cool space
  • Enjoy!

Whether you’ve made these a million times or are a muddy buddies novice, I know you will enjoy this sweet and savory treat!

*Recipe and featured image retrieved from Chex.com

 

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll Recipe

Food

‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice and nothing is more decadently delicious than a pumpkin roll!

As I’ve mentioned before, this dessert certainly looks more complicated then it truly is. So if you’re looking to break the usual thanksgiving pie cycle, look no further.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more for sprinkling
  • 9 oz of cream cheese
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter (3/4 cup), room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions to make the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Grease and flour a 17 1/2- by 12 1/2-inch jellyroll pan.
  • Beat the eggs, granulated sugar, pumpkin and lemon juice until smooth, using an electric mixer.
  • Sift together the flour, ginger, salt, baking powder and cinnamon.
  • Add the sifted ingredients to the egg mixture and blend until fully combined.
  • Spread the batter in the jellyroll pan.
  • Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, approximately 15 minutes.
  • Cool the cake in the pan for 5 minutes.
  • Sprinkle some of the confectioner’ sugar on a large tea towel.
  • Invert the cake onto the towel.
  • Fold the sides of the towel over the cake.
  • Roll the cake up in the towel starting with a 12 1/2-inch side. (In other words, roll it “hamburger style”).
  • Cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.

Finishing touches:

  • Combine the confectioners’ sugar, cream cheese, butter and vanilla and beat until smooth.
  • Unroll the cooled cake and spread the mixture on top of the cake.
  • Re-roll the cake and refrigerate until ready to be sliced and served.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
  • Enjoy with family and friends!

pumpkin-roll

The original recipe has been adapted by the author, resulting in the recipe above.

Happy Halloween!

Festivity, Holiday

As I mentioned last Halloween, we don’t have children and don’t hand out candy, so typically, our Halloweens are pretty low-key. This year we stuck to the basics by carving jack-o-lanterns…

Jack-o-lanterns 2016 🎃#Halloween #pumpkincarving #harrypotterforever

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

 

Watching “Hocus Pocus”…

And handing out candy and cake to our few trick-or-treaters, AKA: Andy’s younger siblings.

Though simple, we had a pleasant evening, enjoying candy and Halloween classics on TV. So whether you went all out with a party, costumes and haunted houses or stayed in for a low-key celebration, I hope that you all had a Happy Halloween!

Chocolate Frosting (Happy Birthday Dad!)

Food

Growing up, my mother would always get annoyed with my father’s birthday cake request: cake made from packaged mix (such as Betty Crocker, Duncan Hines, etc.). Although she always wanted to make a homemade cake, he insisted that he liked pre-packaged mix the best.

Although I was once opposed to boxed cake mix myself, I have come to realize that it doesn’t really matter if your cake is homemade or not. What matters is the frosting. And you most definitely want homemade frosting.


This is convenient, as making homemade frosting is much quicker than making a homemade cake. That being said, below is an easy chocolate frosting recipe that is not only delicious but requires little effort and ingredients:

What You Will Need:

3 cups confectioner’s sugar

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 stick butter, softened

3-4 tablespoons heavy cream (or however much you need to achieve desired consistency)

1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

  1. Sift sugar and cocoa together.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of sugar mixture with butter and 1 tablespoon of cream. Beat until smooth.
  3. Keep adding the sugar mixture cup by cup, with each accompanied by another tablespoon of cream.
  4. Continue until all ingredients are combined and frosting is fluffy.
  5. Mix in vanilla.
  6. Frost your cake!

If the requirement for heavy cream isn’t enough indication that this recipe is delicious, take my word for it!

And if you find yourself in a situation that calls for packaged cakes, don’t fret. Simply enhance it with homemade frosting.

IMG_1127

I Finally Made Sugar Cookies

Food, Holiday

The semester is over!…Or at least it will be for me after Wednesday night. Only one more presentation and I can finally relax and enjoy Christmas break.

While I am clearly looking forward to this, I am also looking forward to the presentations because I will be bringing cookies to class. Because, ya know, ’tis the season.

While I had considered making tried-and-true recipes, I also thought it would be more fun to try something new. A friend recommended sugar cookies and, fairly confident in my baking abilities, I decided to go for it.

Although some people may think it odd I have never made sugar cookies before, it is honestly because I don’t much care for them. I am, however, in the minority and I know plenty of people adore them. My friend Rebecca does at least because she is the one who asked for them!

As it turns out, homemade sugar cookies are extremely simple. These cookies that I made turned out to be both crisp on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. They were also made of ingredients I already had in the house (always a plus). If you are interested, this is the recipe that I used.

The only thing that I did differently from the recipe was that I doubled the amount of vanilla that it called for. (Truly, vanilla extract is one of the most important ingredients in most cookie recipes).

I baked a dozen cookies today as a test batch and will only have to make two dozen for my relatively small class. This  means I will have plenty of dough leftover for Christmas!

Only having to wait a few days (less than a week) to bake it, I am just keeping it in the refrigerator. Cookie dough typically stays fresh in the fridge up to a week. However, if it is going to be longer than a week than I would recommend freezing it to hold the freshness. Freezer bags are a cheap and convenient way of freezing dough.

As it turns out, I don’t hate sugar cookies! In fact, I would highly recommend this recipe to both sugar cookie lovers and skeptics alike. So don’t get stuck in a rut this baking season, try something new. You might be pleasantly surprised!

Pumpkins. Everyone loves pumpkins.

Food

As heavily suggested by the title, this post is about pumpkins. More specifically, pumpkin-flavored baked goods! As we all know, eating pumpkin-flavored everything in the fall is extremely trendy, HOWEVER, my favorite pumpkin eats are the ones that I make myself.Perhaps you have already made these items yourself, but if not, here are some of the things that I like to bake in the fall along with the recipes I have used.

The first has quickly become one of my all-time favorites: Chocolate chip pumpkin cookies. Why do I like them so much? Several reasons. First and foremost, they are delicious. Second, the pumpkin gives the cookie a soft texture and, unlike many other cookies, they stay fresh for up to a week. pumpkin cookie batter

Third, due to the large amount of pumpkin used in the recipe they are actually more economically sensible to make than average chocolate chip cookies. In other words, you get more cookies for what you pay for.

I used this recipe minus the cloves. I have made these cookies many times and can vouch that they are delicious even if you omit this ingredient. They are, however, best when milk chocolate chips are used, not your typical semi-sweet.

pumpkin cookies

The second recipe I am focusing on today is that of a pumpkin roll. I had neither tasted nor made a pumpkin roll until very recently, but was pleased with how simple it was to complete. Aside from being delicious, I also like  the aesthetic of this dessert. pumpkin roll

No matter how you spin it, people are impressed when they see a cake (something that is typically brittle and breakable) rolled up in a swiss-roll fashion. So if you are looking for a seasonal dessert to bring to a party, I would recommend this one!

(Very impressive indeed!)

So this weekend if you are feeling creative (or perhaps inspired by “Halloween Wars” on Food Network) perhaps try your hand at one of these recipes. I know that your friends, family and whoever you live with will be happy you did!

(Both recipes courtesy of Food Network)