Monday, November 28, 2011

Pumpkin pillow cookies with brown butter frosting

Meet Dwight Eisenhower. He's our new pet. We call him Ike for short (or Craig, or Randy, depending on who you ask...). He enjoys apples, being scratched, and sitting in people's laps. Deighton and I just adopted him yesterday, and he's been an absolute joy to have so far. I can't wait to have guinea pig adventures with him, dressing him in felt hats, dinosaur costumes, etc! Slightly joking but mostly serious.

And he matches these fantastic pumpkin pillow cookies, which pretty much taste like clouds of pumpkin spice with a slightly nutty brown butter frosting. Which are so delicious that I may have to make a second batch.

For the cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin (14 ounces)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the icing:

4 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon evaporated milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside.

Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. Add flour mixture; mix until combined.
Transfer 1 1/2 cups batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip (such as Ateco #806). Pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing 1 inch apart. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.
While the cookies are baking, put confectioners' sugar in a large bowl; set aside. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, swirling pan occasionally, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Immediately add butter to confectioners' sugar, scraping any browned bits from sides and bottom of pan. Add evaporated milk and vanilla; stir until smooth. Spread about 1 teaspoon icing onto each cookie. If icing stiffens, stir in more evaporated milk, a little at a time.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gingersnap molasses cookies

It's definitely holiday season. The supermarkets are playing holiday music, people are bringing out their sweaters in full-force, and Starbucks Christmas cups are back. And seeing as I now live in a state with nearly 6 months of winter, it seems fitting to embrace this cold weather as much as I can. So on come the holiday treats. Starting with.... gingersnap molasses cookies!

For the gingersnaps:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup (6-ounces) vegetable shortening
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 extra large egg at room temperature
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)
1/3 cup granulated sugar for rolling

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, clove, pepper, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the shortening and sugars together until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and molasses and beat until combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat again. Add the flour in three additions and mix until just combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour to firm. (Dough can be made in advance and refrigerated up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month).

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Place the 1/3 cup sugar in a shallow bowl. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside. Using a small ice cream scoop or spoon, shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and roll in the sugar. Place the balls 2-inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the tops are rounded and slightly cracked, about 12-15 minutes (12 minutes for a chewier cookie, 15 minutes for a crisp cookie). Allow the cookies to cool on the pan for 2 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!

Recipe from The Galley Gourmet

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin cheesecake muffins

There's nothing like cooking with friends. Everything tastes better, calories count less, and you get to be with the people you love. I highly recommend this recipe with friends on the side. So0o0o corny but so true.

For the muffkeys:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup canola (or /vegetable) oil)

For the cream cheese swirl:

8 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add eggs, oil, milk, vanilla, and pumpkin puree. 

Grease muffin trays. Pour half of the pumpkin batter into 12 muffin cups. Then add half of the cream cheese filling on top. Swirl with a knife to create a marbled effect. Scoop the remaining half of the pumpkin mixture into the 12 cups. Top with the second half of the cream cheese mixture. Swirl again with your knife to combine. Dust with ground cinnamon. Bake until knife comes out clean when inserted into muffin, about 20 minutes. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Apple oat bars with dulce de leche

If you're like me and you like apple crisp but wish the crisp to apple ratio were a little bigger, try this recipe. Mostly crisp, then some apple on the side. Hehe. And the brown sugar/oats combo is awesome. Add in some dulce de leche for some caramelly goodness and you've got yourself a really really good dessert.

Makes ~32 bars

For the bars:

1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (NOT instant oats)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3-4 apples, peeled, cored, and diced
juice of half a lemon
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup dulce de leche or 1 cup from a 14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk (you can buy this in the store or you can make your own, I made my own so it's included in the recipe)

Peel the label off of the can of sweetened condensed milk. Fill a pot with enough water to cover the can, with about an inch between the top of the can and the water. Place the can in the water to check, then remove it and set it aside. Bring the water to a rolling boil over high heat, then reduce to simmering over medium to medium-low heat and add in the can.

Add in enough warm water to keep the water at the same level every 30 minutes or so (I did about 3/4 cup of water every 30 minutes). Simmer the can for a minimum of 3 hours. After 3 hours, turn off of the heat and place the pot on a different, cool burner. Do NOT remove the can from the water immediately, as the temperature change may cause the can to explode. Allow the can to sit in the water for 30-45 minutes, then carefully, with tongs, remove the can to another surface and allow it to sit for another 20 minutes or so, until it is cool enough to touch.

Use a can opener to open the can. Set aside.

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Cream together the butter and brown sugar, until fluffy, about 3 minutes. In another bowl, combine 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, the oats, the cinnamon, the salt, and the baking soda. Set 2 cups of this oat mixture aside and press the remainder into a greased and/or lined 9×13 baking dish.

Core, peel, and dice your apples into thin, bite-sized pieces. Toss them with lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour. Spread the apples over the dough pressed into the dish. Take your set aside dulce de leche and drizzle it evenly over the apples (it doesn’t have to be perfect). Sprinkle the 2 cups of oat mixture that was previously set aside over the apples and dulce de leche, then press down to be sure that everything sticks together. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until set and golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely. Cut into small bars and refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Recipe from Crepes of Wrath