Sunday, November 11, 2018

Cranberry Pound Cake

With the season, a lot of bloggers are doing themes for the last few months of the year. For the rest of November, I have decided to focus on holiday quick breads such as muffins, scones and sweet loaf breads. The recipes are fairly easy and great for gifting this season.

As a first one, I decided on this cranberry orange pound cake. It is bursting with cranberries and has the tender crumb of a pound cake. My favorite thing is the pop of tartness that comes with the cranberries combined with the sweetness of the icing. This loaf cake is one of the traditional cranberry items that always seems to show up around the holidays, but entirely too good to be reserved for just that occasion.

Cranberry Pound Cake
adapted from Chef in Training

3 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup butter
2 1/2 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cup sugar
2 tbs orange zest
2 1/2 cup whole cranberries

1 tbs milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 tbs orange juice
1 tbs orange zest
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the interior of 2 standard size loaf pans. Dust interior of pans with flour and tap out excess.

Using a large bowl and a sieve, sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside. Then fill a bowl of a standard mixer with orange zest, sugar and butter. Beat on medium speed with mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.

Place one egg and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk until blended. Pour into butter/sugar blend and beat until distributed into batter. Add each additional egg, one by one- mixing into batter after each one. Set aside.

Add 1/3 of sifted ingredients to batter and fold until just blended. Add 1/2 the buttermilk measurement and mix until combined. Repeat the process, ending with the last addition of the sifted ingredients. Fold in the cranberries.

Divide the batter in half and add each half to one one of the prepared pans. Smooth the surface of the batter and bake until tester comes out clean. This should be about 55-60 minutes. Place pans on rack and cool about 20 minutes then invert twice onto rack so loaf is facing up.

As the cake cools, prepare the glaze. Sift the powdered sugar into a bowl. Using another small bowl, whisk together orange juice, milk, vanilla and orange zest. Add orange blend to powdered sugar and whisk together. Pour over cooled cake.

Tips and Notes:
1. I used paper loaf pans so the icing was thick on top. Original recipe refers to it being a glaze.

2. Using whole cranberries were not a problem.

                                   **LAST YEAR: Eggnog spice cookies**

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Apple Spice Ice Cream

The hardest thing about being a blogger is trying to keep those kitchen gadgets to a minimum. These gadgets sometimes are not required in order to make certain things. They are convenient and seem to work better than the way things were done in the past. However, if you have the time and do not want to have all the gadgets, sometimes the old way of doing things can have the same delicious results.

This brings me to this post for "no churn" ice cream. It just has to be mixed and sit in the freezer for 6-8 hours. The only effort is getting the apples ready, since they have to be peeled, cored and sliced.In the end you will have an exceptional treat in an ice cold format. Never had apple ice cream? This is a great way to celebrate the winter holiday season. Take advantage of the variety of apples that the grocers has to offer and do not forget about the wonderful seasonal spices (ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, anise and clove).

I have yet to find any other ice cream that equates to the winter holidays as much as this flavorful concoction. This recipe makes 1 quart of ice cream

Apple Spice Ice Cream
adapted from No Churn Ice Cream

1 crushed cinnamon stick
1-2 crushed Cardamon pods
1 whole clove
1 piece star anise
1 tsp grated/peeled fresh ginger
4 cups peeled/cored sliced apples
1 inch wide slice of lemon rind
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 cups heavy cream
1-13 to 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup milk
Pinch of salt

Start by preparing the crushed, peeled, cored and grated items in separate bowls. The thinner the apple slices, the better. They will cook faster. Measure out the rest of the items in other bowls. Now that everything is in place, put the lemon rind, vinegar, spices (including pinch of salt) and apple slices in large saucepan and toss together. Then place over high heat. Stir the mixture as it cooks. After 5 minutes, taste test an apple slice for tenderness. If still raw, repeat process until apples are cooked through.

Place mixture in a blender or food processor and purée. Then push through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Let cool for 15 minutes and stir in both types of milk and salt. Set aside.

Using another bowl, fill with heavy cream. Beat with a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Once the soft peak stage has been reached, fold into to the apple mixture. Once evenly distributed, pour batter into a shallow container (one that has a snap on lid is best).

Place a sheet of plastic wrap over the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for 6-8 hours prior to serving.

Tips and notes:

1. In order to swirl caramel, freeze a one inch layer of ice cream then pour caramel over. Repeat the layers. Caramel will mix into ice cream if not frozen.

2. If keeping for weeks, add inverted prior to adding the heavy cream. This will decrease the chance of ice from forming and keep the consistency smooth.

3. This recipe included a suggestion for caramel apple ice cream. In this recipe the spices and lemon rind are omitted. The apples are to be cooked over high heat with 2 tbs of butter with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Reduce the heat and add cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Once apples are soft and the liquid has evaporated, follow the recipe as stated from the second paragraph forward. Just reduce the milk to 1/4 and add 1/4 sour cream.
                                      **LAST YEAR: Baklava Cake**

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Macadamia Cherry Cookies

As a blogger, sometimes we come across recipes that do not turn out as expected. However, the disappointment is an excellent motivator to create something better. The recipe here reflects just that type of inspiration.

The original cookies that had my own tweaks of flavor. Despite the changes in flavor, it did not help on the texture of the cookie. The first bake resulted in very greasy and flat cookies. To remedy this problem, I added more flour and chilled the dough. These alterations changed the cookie into something more appealing in flavor and visual enticement.

They are a spin off of the standard macadamia white chocolate cookies. The dough was enhanced by extra flavor layers of chopped dried cherries and butternut extract. These differences made the cookies a little bit more tempting than the usual macadamia cookies. In addition, the red and white combination of ingredients makes them a perfect addition to the Christmas cookie list. This recipe makes 4-5 dozen, depending on the scoop size.

Macadamia Cherry Cookies
by flourtrader 

3 eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar 
1 cup or 2 sticks of butter (room temp)
3 1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp butternut extract
3/4 cup chopped salted macadamia nuts
1 1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cherries
12 oz chopped white chocolate bar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the interior of 2 cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter. Beat at medium speed until smooth and silky, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then add both types of sugars and beat again until mixture is light and fluffy. Add one egg and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down sides of bowl. Repeat those 2 steps with each egg until incorporated. Pour in the extract and beat again until evenly distributed.

Take out a large bowl and cover with a sieve and sift the flour, baking soda and salt into the bowl. Remove the bowl of batter from the stand mixer and fold in the sifted ingredients, using a spatula or wooden spoon. Continue to fold until no more dry streaks remain in the dough.

Add the chopped cherries, white chocolate chunks and chopped macadamias to the mixture. Blend all the ingredients together, distributing the add-ins evenly. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 40 minutes.

After chilling, use a scoop or a generous tablespoon to transfer mounds of dough to the prepared cookie sheet. Space the mounds about 1 inch apart. Bake in the oven until the cookies are a pale matte color with a golden edge, about 10-12 minutes. Let cookies rest on pan a few minutes then transfer to a rack to completely cool.

Tips and Notes:
1. I always use parchment paper to keep my pans in good condition. The parchment had a tendency to slide around when I was trying to get the cookies off, so a greased pan is easier to manage when it comes to removing the cookies. The cookies are a little soft on top when removed from the baking pans, so be careful with that step.
                                    **LAST YEAR: Oatmeal Pumpkin Cookies** 


Sunday, October 7, 2018

Autumn Butternut Brioche Rolls

I cannot stress enough the importance of equipment when creating in the kitchen. We all are aware of the numerous conversion charts on the internet. However, I caution use of these because they are not all identical. Part of this is due to the variables associated with what you are measuring. For instance, if you are converting egg yolks from grams to units, there is a problem because eggs come in different sizes (medium, large, XL and jumbo). All in all, a digital conversion scale is worth investing in and they are not that expensive. With that said, this particular recipe is in grams.

If you are like me, brioche rolls (fluffy, buttery and sweet) are hard to resist. Now- pair those qualities with the extra flavor ingredients of butternut squash, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. The end result is nothing short of delicious. The idea of flavored brioche is simply genius and the possibilities are endless.

Before you stroll into the kitchen to make these, be aware that the dough rises overnight in the refrigerator. Most of the time devoted to making this recipe takes place the day prior to baking. The day of bake just requires some time to form the rolls and about 1 hr and 45 min rise time. This recipe makes 2 loaves of rolls using a 9 inch cake pan, creating approximately 17-18 rolls per pan.

Autumn Butternut Brioche Rolls
adapted from Wild Yeast Blog 

Ingredients/Bread dough
226 g butter (softened and cubed)
water (if needed)
100 g whole eggs
60 g egg yolks
480 g butternut squash pulp (cooked, mashed and cooled)
34 g milk
126 g brown sugar
840 g flour
10 g yeast (rapid rise)
10-14 g salt (preference amount)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger

1 cup chopped roasted pecans (optional)
1 egg

The day prior to baking, fill the bowl of a stand mixer the eggs and egg yolks. Beat on medium speed with a beater blade until blended. Change out the blade for a dough hook and add flour, squash puree, spices, milk, yeast and salt. Set the mixer on low and run for 5 minutes, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The ingredients will come together, forming a very heavy dough. If it is still too dry after mixing for 4 minutes, add 1 tsp of water and blend until no more dry streaks remain.

Next, change the mixer speed to medium and add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. Beat for a few minutes and then repeat until all of the brown sugar has been incorporated into the dough. Run the mixer another 4 minutes and then pull out a tablespoon of dough. Stretch it to see if it forms a thin translucent "windowpane". If not, try beating another few minutes and test again. The "windowpane" is an indicator that the gluten in your dough has fully developed.

Once it reaches the correct consistency, add the butter cubes to the dough, running the mixer at low speed. Continue to beat until all the butter has been blended into the dough, stopping at intervals to scrape down the sides of the bowl interior. The dough should be smooth and elastic at this point.

Form the dough into a large ball. Butter the interior of a bowl that is 1 1/2 times larger than the dough mass. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm place (approx 76 degrees) for one hour. Then place bowl (still covered) in the refrigerator for an overnight rise (8-12 hours).

The next day, prepare two-9 inch round cake pans by greasing the interior and lining the bottom with parchment paper. Remove dough from refrigerator and punch down. Then, using floured hands, separate dough into 36 equal pieces. Take each piece and roll tightly into a circle. Place about 18 dough balls in each prepared pan, making sure they are placed evenly, touching each other but not losing their circular shape. If you cannot fit them all into the pans, place the extras on a baking sheet. The ones on the baking sheet can be spaced however you desire (round circle, spaced apart, one line, etc).

After placing in/on baking pans, whisk the egg in a small bowl, combining the yolk and white. Brush the surface of the rolls with the whisked egg. Cover each set of rolls lightly with a cloth or paper towel and let rise for one hour and 45 minutes. Also, cover the bowl of egg wash and place in refrigerator for later use.

During the last 15 minutes of rise time, preheat the oven to 380 degrees. Remove the egg wash so it comes to room temperature again.

One the rise time is completed, the surface of the rolls are to get another coating of the egg wash. After that, if you prefer, you can sprinkle the pecans evenly on top of the dough rolls.. Place filled pans in the preheated oven and bake for about 25 minutes. At the 25 minute mark, check the rolls for surface color. If the color of the rolls have darkened enough, cover them lightly with foil and place back in oven. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until light and fluffy. If you have some rolls spaced out on baking sheet or put in individual brioche pans, cut the baking time in half.

Remove pans from the oven and place on rack for 5 minutes and then invert rolls out of pan onto rack and invert again. Let cool completely if storing for later. If serving immediately, let rolls cool until slightly warm to the touch.
                                           **LAST YEAR: Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake**

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Carrot Cupcakes

After creating these cupcakes, I realized the importance of finishing touches on a baked good. These special touches can be just to enhance appearance of items, like using sprinkles. However, in addition to the visual enhancement, a finishing touch should also add more flavor to the dessert.

These cupcakes have walnuts on top of the icing. You may think it is no big deal, but let me clue you in further. The walnuts are chopped and roasted in the oven. Then, while still warm, they are coated in melted butter with a light sprinkling of salt. This creates a wonderful contrast to the fluffy, sweet cream cheese icing. I would not even think of omitting the nuts on top.

Now that I have your taste buds awake concerning the icing and nut topping, let's get into the cake component. The cake contains oil instead of butter, which guarantees they will be moist in texture. Also, the myriad of spices in the batter with the grated carrots equates to the delicious standard that we all crave when it comes to carrot cake. This recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes and about 4 cups or more of icing (feel free to cut back on this).

Carrot Cupcakes
adapted from Robicelli's

1 1/4 cups canola or grapeseed oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 cups packed shredded/grated carrots
1/2 cup chopped, roasted walnuts
1/2 cup raisins (optional)

Ingredients/Cream Cheese Buttercream
1 batch French buttercream (recipe below) or 1 batch American buttercream but without marscapone cheese ingredient (see this link)
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz package cream cheese (cut into cubes)
1/4 tsp guar gum (optional)

Ingredients/French Buttercream
5 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1 lb to 1 1/2 lbs of butter
1 cup water
2 tbs corn syrup
1/8 tsp xanthan gum

Ingredients/Roasted Walnuts
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1 tbs butter

Start by setting up a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Grease the top edge of each cavity of a cupcake pan. There should be 2 pans prepared with 12 cavities each. Line the cavities with paper liners. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place a sieve over a large bowl. Fill with flour, nutmeg, salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and baking powder. Sift the ingredients together and set aside.

Fill the bowl of the stand mixer with both sugars and the grated/shredded carrots. Mix on medium low for about 30 seconds and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then mix for an additional 30 seconds. Continue to run the mixer on the same speed and pour in the vanilla extract and oil. Once combined, remove the bowl from the stand and use a spatula and scrape down the sides and mix, making sure all is blended.

Add the sifted ingredients to the sugar/carrot batter and mix, using a wooden spoon until everything is fully incorporated. Add the eggs and mix again until blended. Lastly, fold in the walnuts and raisins (if using).

Using a scoop, fill each of the paper lined cavities with the batter. They should only be 3/4 of the way full. Place each pan in the oven (on the same or different racks-making sure they are spaced so each pan is to the left or right so they get enough heat). Bake for 10 minutes and then rotate the pans from front to back and left to right. Let bake an additional 10 minutes and check with a tester. When done, the tester will be clean and cupcakes should spring back when lightly touched.

Remove from oven and let rest in pans about 2-3 minutes. Keep the oven on. Then transfer to a rack to completely cool.

To roast the walnuts, line a pan with foil and add the 1 cup of chopped nuts. Spread out evenly onto the pan and place in oven. Roast for about 7-10 minutes. Walnuts will release an aroma once done. Once roasted, make a foil pouch with the foil that you lined the pan with, enclosing all of the nuts. Open up a small hole on top and add the salt. Close up and shake. Open the top again and pour in the melted butter. Close and shake again then set aside.

If you are making the French buttercream, place a saucepan on the stove. Fill with the water, corn syrup, sugar and cream of tartar- you do not need to mix together. Turn the heat up to high and let cook. Once it becomes a liquid, place a candy thermometer in the pan. The mixture will cook up to a boil, but do not stir. It will be ready to use once it reaches a temperature of 235 degrees.

As the liquid cooks, fill the bowl of a stand mixer (fitted with a whisk attachment) with the egg and egg yolks. Turn the mixer to high. This process will change the eggs to a light yellow batter that falls of the whisk in silky ribbons.

While the sugar is cooking and the eggs are being beaten, slice the butter into thin slivers. Take a few moments to still monitor the sugar mixture for correct temperature. Once the sugar reaches the desired temperature, remove the saucepan from the stove. Turn the mixer to medium speed and sprinkle the xanthan gum into the silky egg mixture. Continue to run the mixer and lift the hot saucepan and place the lip or top edge against the edge of the bowl of the stand mixer. Slowly stream in the hot sugar mixture. Keep a steady stream going until the saucepan is completely empty.

Switch the speed of the mixer to high and beat until the outside of mixing bowl is cool to the touch. Once correct temperature is achieved, turn the mixer off and take off whisk and fit with beater blade. Switch on the mixer again and set at high speed. Steadily add butter slices to the batter as the mixer is running. After all the butter is blended, reduce speed to medium high and beat for an additional 20 seconds.

Now you will use this batch (or the American Buttercream) to create the cream cheese frosting. Add the vanilla extract and the cubes of cream cheese to the buttercream. Beat until cream cheese is fully incorporated into batter. Pipe frosting onto batter and sprinkle with walnut pieces.

Tips and notes:
1. Buttercream requires refrigeration and cupcakes are best not refrigerated, so I frosted the cupcakes right before serving.

2. If you have chosen the French buttercream, be aware that it is the most unstable of the 2 types of frosting. This is why the recipe contains stabilizers such as guar gum and xanthan gum.

3. The amount of butter in the French buttercream frosting is a personal preference. I only used 1 lb and it still came out delicious with the correct consistency.

4. When making the French buttercream, there is a risk of the buttercream breaking when mixing with the cream cheese. In order to prevent this, make sure your cream cheese is ice cold and solid-not liquidy. Guar gum is the remedy if it breaks, but it is used in such a small quantity, some of us do not keep it on hand.

5. The xanthan gum is also a binding agent, it is more important than the guar gum. It helps bind eggs with water- which is essential to a good buttercream.

6. If the butter is all sliced before the egg mixture has cooled, refrigerate until ready to use.

7. If you want to buy shredded carrots instead of doing the shredding, be aware that the shredded carrots at the grocer have lost a lot of moisture. You can remedy this by soaking them overnight in a bowl of water. Drain before using.
                                   **LAST YEAR:Almond Frangipane Cookies** 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Cocoa Snails

The best independent coffeehouses can be found in Europe. Some of the more elite date back to the 1800's and the atmosphere is nothing short of amazing. Going out for a simple cup of coffee turns into an experience that reflects history and elegance. As you walk inside, you will behold red velvet, gold leaf and milk white marble. You can stay on that floor or go one floor up.

Your stay will not just include coffee. To heighten the whole experience, there are delicious pastries that reflect the unique skills of the famous pastry chefs of Paris or Hungary.

I have yet to get to Europe, but visiting some of these coffeehouses are on my bucket list. As you can tell, I have read up on the subject. With that in mind, I bring you this recipe that is a recognized favorite in Budapest, kakaos csiga (cocoa snails).

Do not let the picture fool you, these are nothing like cinnamon rolls. The pastries are a cross between yeast dough and puff pastry. The rolls have a crisp outer edge and a soft interior, unlike yeast rolls. These snails have a deep chocolate flavor and do not contain a lot of sugar-typical of most European recipes. Each round is small, ranging from 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter, making them look more like a cookie than a pastry. The dough is formed by using the laminated dough process of folding and rolling to create layers, making approximately 2 1/2 dozen snails.

Cocoa Snails
adapted from

2 tbs sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup or 2 sticks butter (or more depending on roll out)
4 cups plus 2 tbs flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp dry yeast

4 heaping tbs dutch processed cocoa
7 heaping tbs of sugar
1/4 cup butter

To make the dough, you should start with the butter. The butter, if in the form of sticks, should be sliced vertically and placed in a bowl. Add the 2 tbs of flour and use a pastry cutter to blend the butter with the flour until no more dry streaks remain. Place the lump of butter in between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll out to a rectangle, approximately 16 x 10 inches. This rectangle is to cover 2/3 of the rolled dough surface. While you prepare the dough, place the butter pad in the refrigerator.

While the butter is chilling, prepare the dough. Heat the milk in the microwave on 15 second intervals, mixing and checking the temperature after each session. Once it registers between 105 to 115 degrees, sprinkle in a pinch of sugar and the yeast. Stir to blend and then set aside for the yeast to react. Once the surface of the mixture becomes foamy, it is ready to incorporate into the flour.

Fill a large bowl with the 4 cups of flour, egg, 2 tbs of sugar, salt and activated yeast. Combine by using a wooden spoon. Once a mass has formed, place on a flat surface dusted with flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. If the dough seems too dry, knead in more milk (one teaspoon at a time) until the proper dough consistency is achieved.

Form the dough into a rectangle, rolling out to approximately 21-24 inches in length by 16-18 inches in width. The longest part of the dough should face towards you, parallel with the length of the counter top. Remove the butter pad from the refrigerator and peel off one layer of the parchment paper. This butter pad is to cover 2/3 of the surface of the dough. Flip the butter rectangle on top of the right side of the dough, with the remaining parchment paper facing up and butter down. Slowly peel the parchment paper off of the butter pad. This should result in 1/3 of the left side of the dough without a buttery surface and the remaining should be covered in butter.

If you have thin places and some does not peel off, take another stick of butter and cut thin vertical slices. Use these slices to spread on dough so the 2/3 section on the right is completely covered. Then fold the left section of dough (the section with no butter) towards the center, covering 1/3 of the buttered section. Then fold the last 1/3 of the buttered section (on the right) over the top of the other, forming a 3 layer stack of dough. It should measure 7-8 inches wide (this side parallel with the counter top) and 16-18 inches in height.

Turn the dough mass 90 degrees. Roll out again to the original size (21-24 by 16-18 inches), placing it lengthwise, parallel with the counter top. Now each side is to be folded in to meet each other. This is called the book method. Then the dough is folded over again at the seam where the two sides meet. Cover in plastic wrap and place on baking sheet and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

After the 30 minutes of chill time, follow the instructions on the rolling and folding for the 1/3 sections and then refrigerate again for 30 minutes. Then take out and roll and fold, using the second, or book, method. Wrap and chill again. Repeat this rolling and folding process a second time for each method. Once the last fold is made, do not refrigerate. Instead let the dough rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

During the rest period, preheat the oven to 390 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

For the filling, melt the butter in the microwave and take out a pastry brush. Fill a small bowl with the cocoa and sugar and whisk together. Set aside.

After the dough has rested, roll out to a rectangle (same size as originally stated). Dough should be about 1/4 of an inch thick and the length should be parallel to the counter edge. Brush the surface with the melted butter and then evenly sprinkle the cocoa/sugar blend on top. Roll up the dough tightly, forming a round log with swirls of filling, starting with the longest length. Slice the log into 1/2 inch rounds.

Place the rounds on the prepared baking sheets, about an inch apart. Bake in the oven until slightly golden, about 13-15 minutes. Remove and let rest on baking sheet for 3 minutes then transfer to rack to completely cool.

Tips and Notes:
1. Whenever you are making laminated dough, the temperature is crucial. The dough and the butter should have the same pliability. Too much heat in the kitchen will cause the butter to start to melt and if too cold, the butter will crack. During the process you may need to refrigerate or leave at room temperature if you experience any of these issues.

2. If you have butter seeping out through the dough when rolled, use a little flour to patch the area.

3. After the last fold of the dough, dust off the excess flour before rolling into a log.

4. Should you want an even fold of dough, cut the edges to form a straight, sharp edge.

5. Insuring that the butter pad is an even rectangle is the most difficult part. If it is not, some of your rolls will be drier than others and not puff as much. They will still taste good, but will not be a perfect example.
                                  **LAST YEAR:Apricot Sweet Rolls** 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

To start the fall season, I have kicked it off with these pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. My first dilemma was that I knew the use of pumpkin would produce a cake-like cookie and that was not exactly the texture I was looking for. The cookies needed to have a little bit more substance than that.

This particular recipe amps up the structure of the cookies by using oats and chocolate chips. Even though the main texture is cake like, the oats support a little bit of chewiness. Also, since the chocolate chips remained unchanged in structure, they support a slight crunch.

Regarding the flavor, it reflects the typical essence of pumpkin and pumpkin spice with a touch of chocolate. These gems are a delicious reminder of all the wonderful flavors that fall represents. I am looking forward to this season.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from 

2 eggs (room temp)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 oz honey whiskey
15 oz pumpkin puree
1 cup butter (room temp)
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp baking soda
4 cups flour
2 cups oats
1 tsp salt (optional)
2 cups milk chocolate chips

Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining the interior with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place flour, pie spice, baking soda and salt (if using) in a sieve placed over a large bowl. Sift the dry ingredients together into the bowl. Then add the oats and stir until evenly distributed. Set aside.

Fill the bowl of a stand mixer with the butter. Beat on medium high speed, stopping at intervals until butter becomes slick like frosting. Then switch the speed to medium and add the brown sugar. Beat until fully blended into the butter. Add the regular sugar and beat again, the end result will be a light fluffy mixture.

Incorporate each egg, one at a time, into the batter by mixing on medium speed. Remove the bowl from the stand mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the vanilla extract, honey whiskey and pumpkin puree. Once fully mixed, fold in 1/3 of the dry oat/flour blend. Then add half of the remaining blend, mix again and add the last of it, mixing until no dry streaks remain. Fold in the chocolate chips, making sure they are evenly distributed throughout the batter.

Using a small scoop or tablespoon, drop mounds of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake until golden brown on edges. This should take about 15-20 minutes.
Cookies should rest on baking sheet for 2 minutes and then transferred to a cooling rack.

Tips and Notes:
1. Feel free to experiment with the 2 oz liquour addition. Liquour that has fall flavors such as cinnamon, gingerbread and nutmeg would be good paired with the pumpkin.

2. The cookies do not spread much on the pan, so you can bake a lot on each pan.

3. This recipe makes about 8 dozen small cookies, so divide the ingredient quantities if you want to make less.

4. Consider adding 1 cup of chopped toasted pecans and reduce the milk chocolate chips to 1 cup.
                                  **LAST YEAR:Hibiscus Butter Cake**