Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Glaze

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It’s been a busy fall, as they always are with back-to-school time, our anniversary, Lily’s birthday, Halloween, and getting ready for winter and the holidays.  On top of the usual, we went to the weddings of both my brother and Jake’s sister (not to each other) and planned a trip to Disney World (that’s still a secret from the guest of honor).  And poor Jake spends every weekend raking leaves, yet there are still more hanging on the trees waiting to fall.  And now it’s already started snowing in Pittsburgh.  How is winter starting already?!

In October, Lily had what she calls “the best birthday ever.”  She turned 4(!) and celebrated in style with a pool party at the local rec center.  We invited her whole class thinking that maybe 5 kids would be available, so weren’t we surprised when almost all of them RSVP’d with a yes.  And then they all actually showed up!  I’ve never been so thankful that we held the party somewhere other than our house.  The kids were adorably happy going down the slide and drifting around the lazy river, and Lily loved having them to play with, so it was a great day for everyone.

Now we are hunkering down and getting ready for two Thanksgivings.  One here in Pittsburgh (topped off with a trip to the Pitt v. Syracuse football game) and one in Syracuse with Jake’s side of the family.  For my own sake at the second Thanksgiving, I hope Pitt fares well at the first!  I’m not responsible for cooking the dinner for either celebration, but I’ve still been trying different recipes so that my oven doesn’t get too lonely.  I’ll try to get them all posted in the next couple of weeks!

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Maple Glaze

Cookies:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/3 cups rolled oats (not instant)
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling)

Glaze:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk (not nonfat), plus more as needed
2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the cookies:

Heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

Whisk the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg; set aside.

Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Add the egg and vanilla, return to medium speed, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides again.

With the mixer on low speed, add half of the reserved flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add half of the pumpkin and mix until just incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and pumpkin.

Drop eight 1/4 cup dough rounds on the baking sheet, leaving at least 2 inches between them. Place the remaining dough in the refrigerator.

Bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back and continue baking until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and around the edges.  For me it was about 5-7 more minutes, but the original recipe said it can be up to 12.

Let the cookies cool on the sheets for a few minutes and then transfer them to the wire racks to cool completely. Let the baking sheet cool to room temperature and then repeat with the remaining dough (you can use the same parchment paper).

For the glaze:

Whisk all of the ingredients until evenly combined. Drizzle in more milk if it’s too thick.  Dip a fork into the glaze and drizzle it over the cookies. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze has set, about 20 minutes.

Source: Chow

Loft House-Style (Soft Baked) Sugar Cookies

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I’ve been looking for an excuse to try making loft house-style sugar cookies, so when I saw cute green and white sprinkles at the grocery store, I figured there was no time like St. Patrick’s Day for cookies.  You need something sweet to offset that salty colcannon and sauerkraut , right?  My dad had us over to his house for corned beef sandwiches (I had a grilled cheese made from swiss cheese, tomato, and thousand island dressing and it was actually pretty delicious!) so I brought these cookies.  They got thumbs up from everyone, as did the ones I took to work on Monday.  So, I guess this recipe is a keeper!

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I like them because they are soft and fluffy (and because when you make them yourself, you can use as much frosting as you want… read: a lot), but it’s also nice that they are so easy to make.  I didn’t chill the dough in the fridge because I figured that since they weren’t going to be cut-outs it wouldn’t really matter.  And it didn’t.  Which is glorious.  They were mixed and baked within half an hour.   I made the frosting while they cooled, and then they were ready to go.  These are like the cookie version of a quick bread (which, to me, is perfect in every way).

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Loft House-Style (Soft Baked) Sugar Cookies

For the cookies:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 400º.

Mix the dry ingredients and set aside.  In a separate bowl, combine the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Beat until they are well combined. Add the dry ingredients in slowly and mix well. Form dough balls (about 2 Tbsp. each) and flatten into thick circles with your hands.

Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 8-10 mins or until just the edges of cookies start to turn a very light golden brown. Don’t over-bake!  Cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 Tbsp milk
Up to 6 cups powdered sugar (thicken to desired consistency)
food coloring

Whisk butter, vanilla, milk and egg yolk together. Slowly mix in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until the frosting reaches your desired consistency. If it gets too thick, add more milk in very small amounts.

Source: Hostess with the Mostess

Waffle Iron Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Bean Glaze

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I almost accidentally murdered my brother and his fiance, Lea, last night.  They were staying in our guest room while in town for the Arcade Fire concert, and came home well after I was already asleep.  As it turned out, they opened the front door at the exact moment that I was having a nightmare about someone breaking into the house to steal Lily (yes, I might need a therapist).  So, the door chimed loudly as it opened, Buster jumped off the bed and started barking, and I went straight into full panic mode.  Like, screaming bloody murder.  In that moment, I truly thought that I was in the middle of a baby-snatching invasion.  Jake took my screams as a sign that something was dramatically wrong, so he jumped into action, too, sprinting toward the staircase and screaming himself.  By the time we were both awake enough to realize who the intruders were, we were halfway down the stairs and they were plastered against the wall with shocked faces, wondering what the heck was wrong with us.  They’re lucky I didn’t have my pepper spray in hand (and they’re really lucky I don’t keep a loaded gun under my pillow)!  I have a feeling the next time they are in Pittsburgh, they’ll couch surf at my dad’s house.   I wouldn’t blame them.  

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Before the concert and subsequent home invasion, they kept Lily home from school yesterday to play with her and to practice taking care of a 3-year-old.  Which I loosely compare to when a wealthy, well-fed person spends a week doing the food stamp challenge: the participant feels accomplished in the end but leaves with very little knowledge of the actual situation they are trying to emulate (she didn’t even bother to puke, pee her pants, or throw a major tantrum in a public place).  BUT, in this specific situation, it all worked out for the best because Lily had a great time, Dan and Lea experienced enough booger picking/eating to last them until they have a kid of their own, and Jake and I woke up to the kid crying this morning because she is going to miss them so much.  Super cute.

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SO, after all that, I think everyone deserves a cookie fresh from the oven waffle iron.  While one could argue that making them on a cookie sheet in the oven is just as easy, I would argue that it a) isn’t as good in the summer when you don’t want to turn the oven on, b) doesn’t have the nooks and crannies to hold the vanilla bean glaze, and c) needs to be rolled and cookie-cuttered (?) to look this cool, which is decidedly not quick and easy.  So, there you go.  But if you are making these, you’ll have to play around with your waffle maker to see which heat settings work best.  Once you have that down, you really can’t go wrong!

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 Waffle Iron Sugar Cookies with Vanilla Bean Glaze

For the cookies:
2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup unsalted butter (1½ sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze:
2 Tbsp whole milk
1 vanilla bean
pinch of sea salt
1 cup powdered sugar
Sprinkles for topping

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt, and set aside.

In an electric mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat the butter on low until light and fluffy. Add the sugar and continue beating for until well combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 30 seconds after each addition (scraping the sides as needed). Add the vanilla and combine.

Slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and carefully mix until just combined (don’t over-mix).

Preheat your waffle maker to medium-low.  Place a heaping spoonful of batter onto the center of each waffle segment.  Close the lid and bake the cookies for about 1-2 minutes (depending on your cookies and waffle maker.  You will need to experiment with your machine to see what works best). Remove the cookies when they are just starting to turn golden.  If you overcook they will get hard quickly, so keep an eye on them.  Transfer cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

In a separate bowl, combine milk, salt, and vanilla bean seeds until combined. Slowly add the powdered sugar until everything is well combined.  Drizzle the glaze over the cookies and top with sprinkles while they’re still wet. Allow glaze to dry before stacking.

Source: The Blonde Buckeye

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Bars

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We went to the Great New York State Fair this weekend, which was really a lot of fun (I like to razz my in-laws about it being all that Syracuse has to offer, but I can’t deny that it was a good time).  I ate the obligatory funnel cake.  And 25¢ milk.  And oh-good-lord fried vegetables.  They were as unhealthy and delicious as you would imagine.  This was Lily’s first year at the fair and it completely blew her mind.  She was both thrilled and overwhelmed all at once.  There were huge slides and a roller coaster that she rode with Aunt Katie (and she rode with a huge smile until the moment the ride slowed to a stop).  She also got to pet prize-winning farm animals and get a chocolate ice cream cone all over everything within 3 feet of her stroller.  It was great!

But the fair also has another meaning.  It’s the end of August.  Summer is pretty much over.  I’m so SO sad to think that all of the fun plans we had for the summer are over.  The summer commute with half the cars on the road is over as kids go back to school.  Our CSA is going to wind down soon.  And my garden out back is winding down (without really ever winding up!).  BUT it’s time for apples and pumpkins and the smell of autumn and Halloween and the 3rd birthday of my best girl.  Hopefully, this season won’t fly by as quickly as the last one!

I had to ring in September with these snickerdoodle pumpkin bars and I didn’t realize until I ate them that they have a striking resemblance to pumpkin gooey butter cake.  Which is very much a good thing!  I found the recipe on Janie’s blog as a part of the Secret Recipe Club swap.  I love how it’s a double layer bar because there are two completely different textures and flavors that add an awesome element to the dessert.  Definitely give them a try!

Snickerdoodle Pumpkin Bars

Snickerdoodle Layer:
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla

Pumpkin Layer:
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (or a general mix of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger, and/or crushed cloves)
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Topping:
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease or spray a 9×13 inch baking pan.

In a stand mixer, stir together brown sugar, butter, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the baking powder and salt, and then flour. Pour into the prepared pan and press into an even layer.

For the pumpkin layer, cream together the sugar and butter.  Add the rest of the ingredients and pour over snickerdoodle layer in an even layer.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the pumpkin layer.  Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 33 to 40 minutes. Cool completely before slicing and serving.
Source: Adapted from Fantastical Sharing of Recipes

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

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Naturally, when making something indulgent, Paula Deen is a good bet in your search for recipes.  Also, naturally, when making these with the intention of sharing them with neighbors, coworkers, etc., you should understand that it will never happen.  You end up eating them all yourself.  Because who doesn’t love raw (egg-free) cookie dough dipped in chocolate?

I’ve been trying to have a healthy disposition lately, posting recipes made with vegetables or intended to be eaten with vegetables.  But no one is perfect, and I figure it is high time for a little break.  Jake, Lily, and I went on vacation to Deep Creek with my family last weekend and have been slow to get back into a normal routine.  Fear not: there is a big family wedding over the 4th of July, so back to the gym I go!  Or for more fun, out for long walks with Buster.  He and I got lost somewhere is a nearby neighborhood tonight and it was great!  By the end, I was dragging the poor dog up the hill to get home.  He’ll be sleeping soundly for the next few days.

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 Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1   (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup semisweet mini chocolate morsels
1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a stand mixer (or a hand mixer), cream the butter and brown sugar at medium speed until creamy and fluffy. Add the vanilla. Slowly add the flour and milk and mix until combined. Add chocolate morsels and pecans and mix until they are evenly distributed. Shape into 1-inch balls (a small ice cream scoop/melon baller helps a lot!). Place on waxed paper and chill for two hours.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler. Using 2 forks, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover, then shake off the excess chocolate. Place on waxed paper and chill to set. Store in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before serving.

Source: Adapted very slightly from Paula Deen