Halloween Cookies- Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

I love fall. I love the weather turning chilly. I love sweaters. I love changing leaves. I love cinnamon. And I love pumpkin.

I was thinking about cinnamon which led me to thinking about snickerdoodles. (recipe here). I really associate those cookies with Christmas, though, so I started thinking about how to fallify them. And landed on pumpkin.

So, here are my pumpkin snickerdoodles.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 sticks salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • plus more cinnamon and sugar for rolling

This dough is really easy to make. Just keep in mind it needs to be refrigerated for 1 hour before you roll and bake your cookies.

To make the dough, start by creaming two sticks of butter.

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When the butter is fluffy, add sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and egg and stir to combine.

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In a separate bowl, mix your remaining ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon) and slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet.

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Stir until combined

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At this point, the dough needs to go into the fridge for at least one hour.

…Time lapse…

Preheat the oven to 350, grease two cookie sheets and take your dough out of the fridge. in a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. I tend to a 2:1 sugar : cinnamon ration, but mix to your taste.

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Let’s start making cookies! I made roughly ping pong size balls of dough and wound up with 6 dozen cookies.

Roll the dough into a ball

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Roll the dough ball into the cinnamon and sugar and place on the cookie sheet.

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When your cookie sheet is full, lightly press down on the dough balls to flatten them. These cookies don’t spread, so flattening them is necessary.

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Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes.

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The best part? The house smells like pumpkin pie. The bestest part? You get to eat cookies that taste like pumpkin pie. And who doesn’t love a cookie?

And the bestest bestest part? You’ll have 72 cookies to share with friends or coworkers.

Happy Halloween!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins

There is a hint of a chill in the air here. The mornings start out crisp. The sky is a clear turquoise blue. Summer fruits no longer abound on grocery store shelves.

Fall is coming.

Fall is a warm mug of tea, a hint of cinnamon in the air and pumpkins.

These muffins packed with pumpkin, oatmeal and cinnamon give you something to accompany that mug of tea.

No all you need is a good book.

For the muffins:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon¬†cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable¬†oil
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat the oven to 375 and line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. I got 12 muffins out of this recipe.

In one bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

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In another bowl, mix the egg, pumpkin, milk and oil.

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Add the wet to the dry.

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Stir until combined.

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Then add in the oats

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And stir until combined.

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Spoon the mixture into the cupcake liners.

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And bake for about 15 minutes. The house will smell like pumpkin pie. Is there anything better?

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Snickerdoodles

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It’s that time of year.

Cookie swap time!

It’s snowy and cold so it’s the perfect time to hang out in the kitchen, warmed by the stove preheating, and fill the apartment with smells of butter and sugar and cinnamon.

It’s even better when you share those cookies with friends. And, you know, when they share some with you.

These are my cookies for this holiday season.

I made them and brought them into work, because who better to experiment on than your coworkers? My coworkers in London got excited when they heard Snickerdoodle. But then they felt cheated when they learned that there was, in fact, not a snicker to be found.

This of course led to us googling the origin of Snickerdoodle. (see here)

What you really need to know is that the cookies are butter, sugar, cinnamon goodness. Do I have your attention?

For this recipe you will need:

  • 2 3/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • cinnamon
  • sugar

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar until fluffy.

I forgot to take a picture so moving to the next step.

Add the eggs, flour, baking powder and salt and mix until combined.

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Set yourself up with a little assembly line. Bowl with dough, small bowl with cinnamon and sugar mix, cookie sheet.

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Roll the dough into one inch balls, dunk each dough in the cinnamon and sugar and rolling it around until totally covered.

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Continue until all the dough is rolled.

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Bake for about 12-15 minutes. I got about 30 cookies out of this recipe.

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If you’re doing a cookie swap, a great way to transport the cookies is in these cute little mason jars. A stack of them on a plate is great too.

 

 

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Peachy Keen Cobbler

I’ve been in a baking mood lately.

Not like all from scratch, make your own bread kind of baking. More like, simple and yummy desserts that I can whip up and toss in the oven while I’m preparing dinner.

This little concoction is one of my most recent favorites.

Peaches are one of the best parts of summer. Those fresh, fragrant piles of them in the store are so tantalizing.

But, canned peaches are good too and totally have their place in the kitchen.

This cobbler starts with a can of peaches, drained.

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Look at those peach slices! Don’t you just want to devour them?

To begin the transformation of canned peaches into an awesome cobbler, layer half of the peaches in each of two small ramekins.

When it’s just the two of us, I like making little individual-sized desserts. Maybe it’s the only child in me that doesn’t want to share, or maybe it’s the little kid in me that gets really excited about being able to eat the whole thing.

You can also make just one of these if you’re home alone.

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Either way, he gets one and I get one.

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In a bowl mix together

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons butter, diced

a mess of cinnamon

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Combine the ingredients. I used my hands so I could crumble the butter and the brown sugar into nice sized crumbs.

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Divide the mixture in half and sprinkle over each ramekin.

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To make baking easier, place the ramekins on a cookie sheet or pizza pan. This way, you only have to remove one thing from the oven. The pan will also catch any spillover so you don’t have to clean your oven.

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Bake at 375 for 20-30 minutes. The butter will melt into the peaches. The crumb mixture will get all crunch and gooey. The peaches will release their juices, forming a sticky syrup in the ramekin.

Add a dollop of whipped cream for some extra indulgence.

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The fruit and the nuts you use are entirely up to you. I can imagine a strawberry and blueberry cobbler topped with hazelnuts. Or apples with pecans.

Let me know if you come up with some yummy combos!

When the Boyfriend’s Away… We Eat Peaches and Cream French Toast for Dinner

My boyfriend’s away tonight.

Know what that means?

Yup, we’re going to be a little naughty.

PJs. Couch. Bad TV and a decadent breakfast for dinner.

Girls, you know you could easily have cereal or a salad or a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner some nights. You had a long day or you’re tired, or you’re bloated, or you just want to sit on the couch and not think about dinner.

But when you live with your guy, that little guilty feeling in your stomach, that feeling that you’re being a bad girlfriend if you tell him you don’t want to cook and make him fend for himself, kicks in. And you stop at the store and you whip up something you know he likes that you haven’t made in a while because he had a bad day at work too.

Well all that can go out the window tonight.

I love my boyfriend. And I love Friday nights cuddling with him after a long week.

But this week sucked. And all I want is some Audrey Hepburn.

And a plate of warm, eggy, cinnamon covered French toast.

You will need:

  • Bread – you want something substantial. I have baguette leftover, so I’m cutting thick slices of that to cook up.
  • egg
  • heavy cream
  • cinnamon
  • butter

Instead of syrup, I’m topping mine with some peaches. Feel free to use syrup, or another fruit, or whatever you usually top your French toast with.

Melt a nub of butter in a frying pan. You just want enough to coat the whole pan.

Whisk together an egg, a touch of heavy cream and a whole mess of cinnamon. I can’t get enough cinnamon. It’s so warming and comforting, the spicy heat so soothing.

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And it’s good for you! It can help lower cholesterol, regulate blood sugar and can even help with menstrual cramps! Score. Check out this article in Women’s Health for more info and some ideas on how to incorporate cinnamon in your diet.

Okay, back to the French Toast.

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Dunk your bread slices in the egg mixture, soaking all sides.

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Place the eggy bread in the pool of melted butter on your frying pan and cook over medium, flipping half way through, until both sides are golden brown. The cinnamon will mix with the melted butter and will waft through your kitchen and down the hall, making the neighbors in 15 B jealous.

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If you like crispier French Toast, cook longer. I like mine kind of dough in the middle, so I don’t cook mine as long.

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Pile the pieces up on a plate and top with fruit or syrup.

I spooned out peaches that have been soaking in honey in the fridge for a few days.

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I felt less guilty about eating French Toast for dinner because I added in some fruit.

But then, because I was home alone and because no one would know but you and me, I added a heaping spoonful of fresh whipped cream.

Peaches and cream French Toast and Funny Face.

A perfect, self-indulgent, Friday night in.

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Oatmeal Bites

We are healthy eaters.

I mean that in both senses of the phrase.

We have big appetites and will rarely say no to food when it’s put in front of us.

But we also try to eat healthy. No crazy diets or anything like that. I love milk and cheese too much to be vegan, and mom’s meatballs (I promise the recipe is coming) and a juicy burger are just cravings I know I could never kick. But still, for the most part, we limit chicken and meat to 1-2 times per week and try to have as many fish and veggie-centered meals as possible. Our fridge is always stocked with a rainbow of fruits and veggies for munching- strawberries for yogurt, blueberries for cereal, apples to dip in peanut butter, carrot and celery sticks for pre-dinner snacking.

I don’t stress about food. But I like to feed my body well. And I just feel better when I eat fresh foods.

But I have a few weaknesses, namely bread (you will see a crusty loaf of bread play a role in many a meal on here) and cookies (okay okay and ice cream, but ice cream is milk and has a ton of calcium and vitamin D so it doesn’t count as a weakness since it’s good for me).

I’m Italian, so the bread is hardwired in my DNA. You will not take the bread away from me.

Cookies, though. I’ve indulged in my fair share.

And my share no longer fits in last year’s bathing suit.

And I really don’t have the money to spend on a new one.

So, a healthier cookie it is!

I’ll admit, this isn’t so much a cookie as an oatmeal bite.

I don’t really know what to call it, but I like the way oatmeal bite sounds. And that’s really what it is, oatmeal and cinnamon and almonds baked into a soft bite.

There’s no flour or eggs or butter to be found in this.

No joke.

For these bites you will need

  • 1.5 cups oats (instant or quick cook work here)
  • 2 bananas
  • 4 oz apple sauce (I had the single serves in my fridge and one of those is 4 oz)
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil if the mixture is dry

That’s the basic “dough” recipe.

In a bowl mash together (see, see, potato masher again!) the bananas and apple sauce.

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Stir in the oats and honey and the vegetable oil if mix is dry.

You will get a cookie dough like mix.

Now add in whatever you want.

I used cinnamon and almonds this time, but you can mix in some chocolate chips and hazelnuts to give them more of a dessert cookie feel, or toasted coconut and macadamia nuts for a taste of the islands or some walnuts and nutmeg for a play on banana nut bread.

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Spoon out the mixture in golfball size mounds onto a greased cookie sheet.

I got 20 bites.

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Bake at 350 for 15-18 minutes. The outsides will brown and the insides will be a little soft.

Your kitchen will be filled with scent of oatmeal and cinnamon and your neighbors will want to come make friends.

Bake these the night before for a grab on the go breakfast or to pack for mid-morning snacks, or for that 3 o’clock slump, or have them warm that night with a steaming cup of chai tea.

They’re even quick enough that you could make them in the morning before work. If, you know, you’re a morning person and capable of doing anything before coffee.

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