Pumpkin Sugar Cookies with Spiced Glaze

It’s time for the next installment of What’s Baking?. This time around the theme is pumpkin or squash (appropo, no?).

I love these sugar cookies!! They’re pillowy soft and so chewy and delicious. A hint of pumpkin, a hint of spice and sugar all rolled together with a thin layer of spiced glaze.

They were very easy to make and have stayed perfect in an airtight container for a few days. I froze half of the dough so that I can make them again soon.

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Pumpkin Sugar Cookies with Spiced Glaze

Ingredients:

Cookie:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus 1/2 cup more for topping
  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 4 cups AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Glaze:

  • 3 cups confectioners sugar
  • 4 tbsp almond coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare cookie shee(s) with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl put the butter, oil, pumpkin, and eggs. Mix until well combined and smooth.
  4. In a small bowl combine the flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt and pumpkin pie spice.  Whisk well to combine and break up any lumps.
  5. Add 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the wet. Mix to combine, scraping down any on the sides of the bowl. Repeat until everything’s combined.
  6. Spoon large 1 tbsp mounds of the dough onto the prepared cookie sheet, 2 inches apart.
  7. Place the additional 1/2 cup sugar on a deep plate.
  8. Using the bottom of a glass dipped in the sugar, flatten each cookie round to 1/2 inch, dipping the glass into the sugar before each cookie.
  9. Bake for 8-10  minutes. They will not brown.
  10. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes then transfer to cooling racks with waxed paper or foil underneath.
  11. Mix the glaze. Spoon about 1 tsp over each cookie.
  12. Allow glaze to harden.

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Adapted from wishesndishes.com

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Perfect Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I generally am really not so good at making chocolate chip cookies from scratch. They’re either too dark on the bottom, too soft in the inside etc….it’s pretty sad really. I’ve baked those ones from the mix or the tube a few times, and they’re great, but I feel like it’s a real cop-out.

But these–these were perfect.  Perfect I tell you.  And so easy to make! It took me less than 20 minutes from start to getting them out of the oven to cool.

I found the recipe that I adapted to make these cookies on a container of Crisco that I had bought-probably during the holidays intending on baking tons of goodie-but never did.

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Perfect Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1&1/4 firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark-your choice)
  • 3/4 stick Crisco butter flavor all-veggie shortening
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1&3/4 AP flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a rimmed baking sheet (or 2) with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine the first 4 ingredients and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl when needed.
  3. Add the egg and mix until combined.
  4. In a medium bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Stir with a wisk to evenly combine.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the bowl of the mixer on low speed and mix until just blended.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.
  7. Place rounded tbsp of dough 2.5 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 11 minutes for chewy insides and crispy outsides, a bit less for all chewy.
  8. Remove from the oven, let cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheet then carefully slide the parchment with the cookies off of the sheet to cool.

The full recipe makes about 36 cookies. I baked half and froze the other half in a ziplock bag with the instructions written on the bag.

Strawberry Delight Muffins

These muffins are lovely and light and oh so tasty–perfect muffins to go with slices of delicate strawberries for the summer.  

There’s not really all that  much else to write except for the recipe…..

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Strawberry Delight Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 6 ozs Greek Yogurt (I used Fage 0%)
  • 2 ozs fat-free Sour Cream
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1&1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or 2 large eggs)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp strawberry extract
  • 2 cups AP flour
  • 1&1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped small

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Place liners in muffin tin and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using an electric mixer cream together the yogurt, sour cream, butter and sugar. Then add the Egg Beaters, milk, vanilla and strawberry extract.  Stir until  combined-being careful to not over-mix. Set aside.
  4. In another bowl place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and whisk to combine.
  5. Add 1/4 of the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just combined. Continue adding the dry ingredients in increments and mixing. Do not over mix.   Gently fold in the fresh strawberries.
  6. Fill the liners in the muffin tin to about 3/4 of the way full and bake for about 23-28 minutes or until the tops are light golden brown. Allow to cool in the tin for about 10-15 minutes then remove the muffins from the tin and place onto a cooling rack.

Yield: about 18-20 muffins.  I made 12 muffins and froze the remainder of the batter to use another time.

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Greatly adapted from the Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins from http://www.bos-bowl.com

Beef Burritos in the slow cooker (with make ahead and freeze instructions)

I must have 3 trillion lists that I’ve found on Pinterest and all over the internet from super savvy ladies who make these mountains of meals and stockpile them in their freezer. Seriously they could feed their entire town for a year if they needed to. It makes me feel very inadequate considering I only having frozen berries and ice cream in mine. So I decided to try one and see how it worked out. All in all it was a great success.  It was easy to just pull the ziplock bag out of the freezer, thaw it for a bit and then just pour everything into my slow cooker. I honestly didn’t see it saving any time. The thawing time was far more than it would have taken me to chop the onion and measure out a few ingredients but it was nice to have it there and ready to go.  I cooked it on Sunday all day and then put it in a container in the fridge with other toppings to eat during the week.

A few weeks ago my supermarket had top round roasts on sale. I bought one, took it home, put it in the ziplock with a bunch of ingredients, zipped it up and put it in the freezer.  Easy. I wrote the instructions for cooking with a sharpie on the bag before I put the ingredients in so that I wouldn’t smudge it and I wouldn’t have to write with meat/tomato sauce to lean on.  I did add some of this seasoning to the slow cooker too. The best part-the beef was DELICIOUS!! It also didn’t make too much-I’d say enough for between 5-7 burritos depending on how much you put in each.

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Beef Burritos in the slow cooker

Ingredients:

  • 2lb top round roast
  • 2 8oz cans tomato sauce
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • taco seasoning to taste
  • 1 small can green chilies, drained

Optional Ingredients (to taste):

  • sour cream
  • grated cheese (don’t use pregrated-that stuff doesn’t melt nearly as well due to preservatives and anti-sticking additives–YUCK!!)
  • sliced avocado
  • salsa
  • burritos
  • refried beans 

Instructions:

  1. Write all cooking instructions on a large freezer bag and make sure it won’t smudge.
  2. Add all ingredients through and including the cider vinegar to the ziplock bag, remove all of the air from the bag and seal. Place in freezer flat to freeze.
  3. When you’re ready to cook it thaw the bag in some water until no longer frozen. Place contents of bag in the slow cooker and add the taco seasoning and chilies. Cook on low for 7 hours.
  4. After 7 hours carefully remove the meat and place on a board. Remove any fat and discard it.
  5. Pour the liquid through a strainer into a bowl, discard the contents of the strainer. 
  6. Add the beef back into the cooker and shred with 2 forks.  Pour enough of the strained liquid over the beef to cover it half way and cook on low for an additional 30 minutes.

Then make a burrito how you like it. This time I used beef, beans, a sprinkle of white cheddar and monterey jack, sliced avocado and sour cream. I put the burrito on my panini press to heat it up and melt the cheese and to give the burrito that nice crispy crunch.

Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker

I had pinned this recipe a while ago as I’m always on the lookout for healthier stuff to cook in the slow cooker and they didn’t disappoint. They were easy to put together, smelled awesome while browning and I froze half of the meatball mixture in one bag and half of the tomatoes and onion in another bag to use at a later date . Easy peasy! These would be great on a toasted roll with melted provolone or added to other sandwiches. I just ate them plain and I really enjoyed them. They’re smaller than a golf ball, the tomato sauce is just right.  I served them with roasted broccoli.

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Miniature Turkey & Quinoa Meatballs for the Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

  • 1lb 99% lean ground turkey breast
  • 1lb 94% lean ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus more for browning)
  • 2 tbsp pecorino romano cheese, freshly, finely grated
  • 2 tsp italian spices
  • 1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut into rounds
  • 2 28 oz cans crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1 28 oz can peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp white wine

Instructions:

  1. In a large bowl combine all ingredients through and including the white pepper. Mix thoroughly by hand, being careful not to over-mix.
  2. Roll each meatball to just under the size of a golf ball and set aside.
  3. Layer sliced onion on bottom of slow cooker insert, add 1 can of crushed tomatoes and 1/2 the can of peeled tomatoes.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add 1/2 tbsp to the pan and, when the oil is shimmering, add a few meatballs to brown-about 1 minute on each side. Be careful not to crowd the pan. When browned snuggle them down into the tomato sauce in the cooker, stacking as more are browned.
  5. When all are browned add the white wine to the pan and deglaze, scraping the brown bits off of the bottom of the pan. Allow the wine to reduce to half then add it to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the remaining crushed and peeled tomatoes to the cooker, making sure that all of the meatballs are covered.
  7. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.

Be sure to brown the meatballs! It adds extra flavor and locks in moisture. Lean turkey dries out easily-browning will help avoid that.

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Adapted from howsweeteats.

Santa Fe Chicken in the Slow Cooker

It’s official. I love my slow cooker. I was looking around online for a new recipe and came across a chicken recipe for the slow cooker. I adapted it a bit and the recipe below was born.  Really easy and super tasty.  The chicken in this recipe was really nice and moist, easy to shred and the veggies, herbs and spices are just right for a great balance of taste. 

I like that this can be made in either 6 hours or 10 hours (great for weeknights after work). I would assume it freezes well but we didn’t have enough left to try.

I made a burrito/taco bar including sliced avocado, sliced tomato, lettuce, sour cream, shredded cheese, salsa and large tortillas.  Husband at his like tacos and I made burritos out of mine and put them on the panini press to heat and make the tortilla crunchy.  YUM! I had 2. I was a pig. But  they’re GOOD!  And since it’s pretty low cal and low fat and since I used fat free sour cream and low fat cheddar cheese I didn’t feel so bad.

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Santa Fe Chicken for the Slow Cooker

Chicken Ingredients
  • 1&1/2 lbs boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • 14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
  • 4 oz can green chilies
  • 10 oz frozen corn
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • salt to taste

Toppings:

  • Fat free Sour Cream
  • Low Fat Cheddar Cheese, freshly grated
  • Ripe tomatoes, sliced thin
  • Avocado, sliced thin
  • Salsa
  • Cilantro

Instructions:

  1. Place everything except the chicken listed in the ‘chicken ingredients’ in the slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  2. Place the chicken on top of the combined ingredients.
  3. Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.  30 minutes before serving shred the chicken with 2 forks (you don’t need to remove the chicken from the cooker-just stick your forks in and shred). Stir it all back together and let it all come together for the remaining 30 minutes.
  4. While the chicken is finishing cooking prepare the taco/burrito bar and lay out toppings.
  5. Serve on tortillas with toppings.

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Adapted from skinnytaste.com.

Hush Puppies with Maple Butter

Husband and I have been eating and drinking at Brother Jimmy’s BBQ for years and years. First there was 1 in Manhattan, then 2, then 3, then one at  Yankee Stadium (woot woot go Yankees!) and now there’s one in Puerto Rico (will visit that one in April) and on St. Maarten (will also visit that one in April). We spent countless hours at the bar watching football on chilly fall and winter afternoons, laughing with friends, enjoying each other’s company and Husband and I were introduced to each other at one by a very good friend. In other words-for nearly 13 years it’s held a special place in our hearts.  They serve southern BBQ food. They have skee-ball. They have some drinks served in goldfish bowls.  It’s a happy enough place that people bring their kids for lunch on the weekends and everyone enjoys themselves.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that they have a cookbook out!! I bought it for Husband for Christmas and made one of his favorites, Hush Puppies, for Super Bowl Sunday.  They’re so good. They’re easy to make!  They’re perfect for football or hockey or staying in and reading. And the butter-YUM!!  If you don’t know they’re about the size of golf balls-enough for a few bites.

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Hush Puppies

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 5 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup diced Spanish onion
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 2&3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1&1/2 tsp granulated onion
  • about 5 cups canola oil for deep frying

Instructions

  1. Heat 6 inches of oil to 325F in a heavy-bottomed stock pot. While the oil is heating lightly heat the eggs in a large bowl. Whisk in the baking powder, add the buttermilk and mix well. Add the oil and onion.
  2. Im a separate bowl combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, cayenne and granulated onion. Add the dry ingredinets itno the bowl with the wet ingredients, mix to incorporate but don’t over-mix. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Carefully drop round heaping tablespoons of the batter, one at time, into the hot oil being sure not to over-crowd them. Cook until golden brown, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Using a spider or metal slotted spoon remove them from th oil to a wire rack to cool.
  5. Serve warm with maple butter.

Note: this recipe makes about 24 hush puppies which is a lot as they’re heavy. I made the full amount of batter, cooked half and froze the other half for use later.

Maple Butter

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl beat together the butter and maple syrup until incorporated. Set it aside at room temperature. 

Note : the maple butter needs to be at room temperature to serve. You can also feeze it too and it’s great on other things like pancakes, cornbread etc…

Meyer Lemon Pound Cake

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm Meyer Lemons. The part tangerine tasting lemon that is the shape of an average lemon but a different color and different taste and smell.  See? Here they are below next to some navel oranges and below that you can see the contrast in color next to the yellow border of my dish. They’re closer in color to an orange than a lemon. Here’s a good article about them but, at the risk of sounding like a snob, they’re hardly undiscovered 🙂 And conveniently I have a pound cake pan with a lemon pattern on top. Cute no?

Note: this recipe calls for a few different additions of the lemons-juice, zest etc…get 3 large ones and that will be just enough.

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Meyer Lemon Pound Cake

For the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cups AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Meyer Lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Meter Lemon zest
  • 1 cup granulated sugar plus 2 additional tbsp
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten

For the syrup:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup Meyer Lemon juice

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
  • 1 tbsp Meyer Lemon juice

Instructions:.

  1. Preheat oven to 315F. Spray a 9×5 loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk to combine.  
  3. In a small bowl whisk the sour cream and lemon juice together.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixture fitted with the paddle attachment combine the lemon zest and sugar. Using your fingers rub them together until the sugar is moist and fragrant and evenly mixed together.  Add the butter to the bowl and beat on medium speed until very pale and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in th eggs in 3 additions, beating well after each addition until the mixture is smooth (stop to scrape down the bowl as needed). With the mixer on low alternately add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the sour cream mixture in 2, starting and ending with the dry.  Once all of the ingredients have been added scrape down the bowl then beat on low for another 30 seconds to combine.  Use a rubber spatula to make sure the batter in the bottom of the bowl is uniform.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top then tap the pan on a hard flat surface to release any air bubbles.
  6. Place a piece of aluminum foil under the cooling rack.
  7. Bake the cake for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Place the pan on a wire cooling rack, let it cool for 10 minutes then turn it out onto the rack.
  8. While the cake is in the oven make the syrup.  Combine the sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan cook over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar has dissolved.  Bring to a simmer, cook for 2 minutes and then remove from heat and set aside.
  9. Once you’ve turned the cake out of the pan onto the rack brush the top and sides with the syrup.  Reuse any that falls below onto the foil below. Be sure to use all of the syrup. Then let the cake cool completely–about 2 hours.
  10. When the cake is cooled make the glaze by combining the confectioners sugar with the juice in a small bowl and stir to combine.  Drizzle it carefully over the cake covering it completely. Let the glaze set for 15 minutes before serving.

Source: Cook’s Country April/May 2006

I printed this from someone’s blog but didn’t write down who’s it was. If it’s yours please let me know.

 I drizzled a little extra juice that I had left over all over the cake after I poured on the glaze.

And don’t waste the left over pieces that you’ve squeezed-there’s still a ton of flavor in there-it would be a shame to throw out that deliciousness!!

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Note: this cake will keep for 5 days wrapped tightly at room temp for upto 5 days or freeze (unglazed) for up to 1 month.

Here is a photo of the cooling rack with foil underneath-the syrup will drip so it’s nice to catch all of it.

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Brickle Drop Cookies

Over the holidays I had a surpise appendectomy while on vacation in Mexico so I can’t cook anything that requires lifting etc…and I need to lay around on the couch to recover. I’ve also been craving cookies since the surgery. One of my favorite candy of all time is the Heath Bar.  While I was grocery shopping on Saturday I saw a bag of the bits in the baking aisle and decided to make the recipe for the Brickle Drop Cookies on the back of the bag. And the cookies are absolutely delicious!!!

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My dog was happy too-he got to lick the beaters as there’s no chocolate in the cookies. Happy Tim 🙂

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Brickle Drop Cookies

1  cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp salt

3 eggs

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

2 tsp cream of tartar

1 8oz package Heath Bits-O-Brickle Toffee Bits (one bag)

Pre-heat oven to 350.   Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and salt until blended. Add eggs and beat well.

Stir together flour, baking soda and cream of tartar.  Add gradually to the butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in the toffee bits.

Scoop heaping teaspoons of batter onto the cookie sheet, leaving about 1 inch between cookies. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until slightly browned.  Allow to cook slightly on the cookie sheet then eat them. 

Store cookies in an airtight container.

Makes about 6 dozen cookies.

I froze half of the batter for these cookies so that I only made about 30. I wrapped the dough twice in plastic wrap, taped the recipe to the top and put into a ziplock bag.

Slightly adapted from Heath Brickle Bag recipe.

Velvet Pumpkin Bread

The weather has gotten so nice and cool this week-high 70s during the day, low 60s at night-a great change from the super-humid hot weather we had for the past few weeks. So the air conditioning is off, the windows are open and it feels great-in other words the fall bug has bitten me. I was looking through some of the cookbooks that I’ve picked up for my Kindle and came across the Gooseberry Pumpkin Cookbook that I’d purchased last year- link.

This recipe made 2 gorgeous delicious loaves of super-moist, amazingly tasty pumpkin bread and they were really easy to make. Wow did my house smell amazing while they were cooking too!! I left one loaf at home and brought one to work for my co-workers to enjoy today.

(Next fall when I make this I’d like to try using greek yogurt instead of the oil. I’m not sure of the conversion amounts though-I will have to find out and put an alternate ingredient on this recipe.)

Velvet Pumpkin Bread

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1&1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin (one 16 oz can)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and spray 2 9″x5″ loaf pans with non-stick baking spray.
  2. Sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon 3 times and set aside.  In a large bowl combine oil and sugar and mix well then blend in flour mixture. Add the eggs and pumpkin and mix well.  Pour batter into the 2 prepared pans and bake for 1 hour.

Makes 2 loaves.

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