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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Fun Fall Sketches

Art

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a creature of the seasons, and with my favorite time of year upon us, I’ve been finding (making) time to break out the colored pencil set!

Between the foliage, harvest vegetables and colorful clothing, fall is a beautiful time of year. And if you’re an artist, it can be especially inspiring. Despite still being  overwhelmingly busy with home renovations, I’ve been making art a priority the last few weeks, and have been taking advantage of even the smallest available windows of “free” time.

While these small chunks of time don’t allow for elaborate pieces, I’ve found that I am quite content completing small sketches, inspired by the season. Completed art doesn’t have to be elaborate for an artist to get their fix.

Using these small windows of time, I’m seeking to capture that which I love most about this time of year before it passes by.

I love natural elements (such as the pumpkin above) but I’m also obsessed with fall fashion. I love the colors that the season brings out in fashion and am always drawn to the idea of cozying up in oversized clothes (see my latest post on hygge).

Then there are the textured sweaters, plaid scarves and (my all-time favorite) boots!

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I’m so incredibly thankful that our home projects have just about come to a close and I’ll soon be able to enjoy this season to its fullest. Whether its through fashion, pumpkin spice lattes or hygge, I hope everyone out there is enjoying nature’s most magical time of year!

Stay tuned for more fall-inspired artwork and new recipes to come!

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!

Happy Fall: Seasonal To-Do List

Festivity, Inspiration

As my favorite season, I’m so excited (and inspired) that it is now officially fall! To celebrate, I’ve put together a to-do list for this fall season, a compilation of my favorite ways to celebrate the most anticipated time of year.

FALL TO DO LIST:

Decorate the porch with these awesome concrete pumpkin planters.

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Decorate the house with fall foliage, scarecrows and harvest-inspired decór.


Bake pumpkin-flavored goodies even if PSL season did start a month ago.

pumpkin cookies

Plan your own Oktoberfest! Because we all need another reason to eat a ridiculous amount of food and drink beer.

pretzels

Visit a fall-inspired location. Apple orchard, pumpkin patch, cider mill….Take your pick!

Start making Halloween plans (if you haven’t already). Between goodies, costumes and jack-o-lantern designs, you have your work cut out for you!

carving

Break out the sweaters, it’s officially #sweaterweather!

The weather is getting colder! #falliscoming #sweaterweather 😍🍁🍂

A post shared by Emilee Smith (@emileejaysmith) on

Drink fall beer. Between Oktoberfest and Pumpkin Spice varieties, fall time is beer prime time.

saranac darktoberfest

Make a fall craft, such as these lovely table textiles.

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Get ready for football season.

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Whether its following this list, or your own traditions, I hope you are as excited about this fall as I am. A fleeting time of year, let’s enjoy it while we can!

 

How to Make Concrete Pumpkin Planters

Crafts, Decorating, DIY

During the fall, most of us are overcome with a strong urge to decorate, filling our homes with fake leaves and throwing Indian corn and scarecrows up on our front porches.

In your transition from summer to autumn, I would highly consider giving this project a try. For less than ten dollars, you can create two beautiful and unique pumpkin planters, pieces that you will be able to use for many years to come!

pumpkin

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

  • 50 lb bag of concrete
  • Water
  • Bucket or wheel barrow for mixing your concrete
  • A concrete-mixing tool, such as a shovel
  • 2 plastic trick-or-treating pumpkins
  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • Styrofoam
  • Vessels to place inside the planters (we used gatorade bottles, but I would recommend something with straight and smooth sides)
  • An exact-o knife or cardboard cutter
  • Spray paint, acrylic paint and paint brushes (if desired)img_0388

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Mix your concrete following the instructions on the bag. We mixed our concrete by using a shovel and wheelbarrow.img_0397_
  2. Tape a small square of styrofoam to the bottom of your plastic pumpkins (this will be for the water to drain out the bottom of your planter).
  3. Spray the inside of the plastic pumpkins and the outside of the placeholders (gatorade bottles) with cooking spray.
  4. Set the placeholders on top of the styrofoam pieces inside the pumpkins.
  5. Fill the pumpkins with concrete while holding the placeholders steady. Occasionally shake the pumpkins to ensure the concrete is settling properly.IMG_0398_.JPG
  6. Once filled, leave the pumpkins to set and dry. If able, place them in the sun to speed up the drying process. I would recommend giving them 24-48 hours to set.IMG_0401_.jpg
  7. Once the pumpkins have properly set, cut away the plastic using a box cutter or exact-o knife.IMG_0402_.JPG
  8. Remove the placeholder inside each pumpkin.IMG_0415_.JPG
  9. Cure the planters by placing them in a bucket of water or misting them with a squirt bottle.

DECORATE:

We let our pumpkins sit for about a week, giving the concrete an adequate amount of time to set and cure.

If interested in decorating your pumpkins with paint, I would recommend first spray painting them with orange paint, creating a base layer for further decoration. I would also recommend two coats of spray paint, making sure you are filling in any small pores that may have formed in your concrete.

Once the spray paint has dried, you can use acrylic paint and a paint brush to fill in the your pumpkins’ faces.

FINISHING TOUCH:

Last, but certainly not least, fill your planters with mums or other fall-time plants.

And there you have it: two beautiful planters that you can use year after year for under ten dollars. So, what are you waiting for? Halloween  is only 6 weeks away!

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All Hallows Eve

Festivity, Holiday

A holiday that is associated with children and perpetuated by the candy companies, Halloween may not be every adult’s favorite holiday. I, however, have always had a tender spot for it, having loved it so much as a child.With my birthday the morning following on All Saints Day, I have many happy memories of trick-or-treating with my family, dining on candy and waking up to birthday surprises.

outdoor pumpkins

That being said, I will continue to celebrate Halloween into adulthood, even if it does not mean dressing up or trick-or-treating. Here are a few things I did/am doing this year to celebrate the holiday.

I recognize they are pretty traditional practices but they were fun all the same!

carving1. Playing with Pumpkins

Everyone has to carve a pumpkin for Halloween. It is just unavoidable. This year I tried to be creative and carve a sorting hat. Lacking a special set of tools, however, it came out far from perfect. Regardless, it was fun to make. I also separated the seeds from the two pumpkins, drizzled them with butter and salt and toasted them in the oven.

Aside from our jack-o-lanterns I also painted this small pumpkin (featured in a previous post) at a friend’s house. While they were meant for the children at the event, the left-overs meant that a few of us adults got to take part in the fun that is painting pumpkins.

painted pumpkin

2. Treats

Although we do not plan on passing out candy this year, Andy’s younger siblings will undoubtedly stop by for some sort of Halloween treat. While we did buy some candy (both of us having a particular fondness for it) I also plan on baking cookies-and-cream cupcakes.

I have yet to try this recipe but I am sure it will be delicious. I plan on dying the frosting orange for a Halloween appeal.

cookies and cream cupcakes

Cupcakes turned out great! The dye work, notsomuch.

3. Decor

I do not possess strictly “Halloween” decorations, neither having the money or the space for them. I do, however, have a lot of fall and Harry Potter decor that I plan on combining to create a festive atmosphere for our few trick-or-treaters.

halloween display

So no matter your age, I hope you all have a safe and happy Halloween! I know that I will!

pumpkins

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)