Spicy Pumpkin Cookies

Under the light of awareness, the energy of irritation can be transformed into an energy which nourishes.
— Thich Nhat Hahn
IMG_8064.JPG

One of the greatest jokes ever played on me was fall in the south. We’re almost halfway through September, and it’s still 90˚. No, not a heat wave, not a nice toasty day to finish off summer – this is just how it will be for at least another month and a half …

But hey, this girl won’t be complaining any longer! Even though it’s hot AF outside, I can’t break out my absurd sweater collection just yet, and a hot cup of tea makes me sweat, at least I’m still working out in leggings + a sports bra, and can bake all of the fall things in my house! No one will stop me!

If you’re new to these little rants, then you must know I love every season. There’s something spectacular about each one, something that just makes me feel so fresh and renewed! But, if I had to pick a favorite child, fall will win every time. The best flavors, the best smells, the best crunchy leaves, the best wardrobe, the best movies, the best baked goods. Must I go on? Don’t get me wrong, give me a bikini and throw me on the beach, I’ll be annoyingly happy. Put on Elf and place a cup of cocoa with mallows in my hand, I’m a giddy child. Throw me into a field of wildflowers in the rain, this spring baby is OH so happy. BUT.The moment I see some leaves changing colors, smell cider on the stove, see the word September, I look and act literally like a gal whose crush just smiled at her.

Yep. That’s it. I’m hardcore crushin’ on autumn, it’s just the best love story of all time. Hell, I mean even my wedding anniversary is at the end of September!

Now that we’re on the same page, lets talk cookies. I’m pretty sure that I have more cookie recipes on this blog than anything else—they’re just so damn versatile and I also fckin love cookie dough, so why wouldn’t I be making them all of the time?

My goal for these cookies was to figure out how to add about as little sugar as possible, how to make them super moist while not loading these up with lots of butter, and to shove as many spices as possible into these lil babies!

Annndddd, I’m pretty sure I’ve accomplished all of it.

Even though there’s only a fraction of the amount of butter in these than my usual chocolate chip cookies and the rest was replaced with pumpkin purée, you honestly cannot tell the difference. I added the smallest amount of coconut sugar as I could, only ¼ cup, which definitely goes a long way. I wanted the true pumpkin flavor to come out, as well as ALL of the spices I threw in here—turmeric and black pepper being the most pleasant surprise of them all!

Ohhhh these are so good, and make the entire house smell like an autumn dream. AUTUMN. DREAM. Yeah, tell me how you’re going to turn that down!?

Okay, I’m done. Go do your thing in the kitchen, fall it up in there, I mean have I ever led you wrong here?!

 

IMG_8073.JPG
IMG_8078.jpg
IMG_8079.jpg
IMG_8086.jpg

ingredients

Pumpkin Purée—9 oz, or 1 cup

Butter—2.5 oz, or 5 TBL

Coconut Sugar—1.15 oz, or ¼ cup

Vanilla Extract—2 tsp

Eggs—2

Almond Flour—3.5 oz, or 1 cup

All Purpose Flour—8.5 oz, or 1 ½ cup

Oats—3.5 oz, or 1 cup

Baking Soda—1 tsp

Salt—¾ tsp

Maca Powder—1 tsp

Cinnamon—1 TBL

Nutmeg—1 tsp

Ginger—1 tsp

Black Pepper—½ tsp

Turmeric—½ tsp

Chocolate Chips—6 oz, or 1 cup

Coconut Flakes, unsweetened—1.25 oz, or ½ cup

 

process

In the bowl of your mixer, cream together the purée, butter and coconut sugar until smooth.

Add in vanilla, mix.

Add in eggs, 1 at a time, mix.

At this point, your dough will be veryrunny, do not worry!

Add together the flours, oats, baking soda, salt and spices in a separate bowl. Mix with your hands to combine.

With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients until just combined.

Fold in the chocolate chips and coconut flakes.

Cover and refrigerate your dough for at least a few hours, so the dough can stiffen up a bit – as you will notice that it is quite a soft cookie dough!

When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350˚F.

Roll your cookies into 2 oz balls, or a heaping tablespoon, and bake for 12 minutes, rotating, 4 minutes.

Allow to cool on a rack slightly, so you won’t burn your tongue like I did!

 

Bon Appétit!

IMG_8075.JPG

Pumpkin Chocolate Fudge Cake

IMG_5819.JPG

Here is dessert #1 of my little Thanksgiving Dessert Twists series. This year, I have decided to go on a different route than normal using the same major ingredients—pumpkin, apple, pecans. First stop is pumpkin pie!

While you can never replace a pumpkin pie, with its warm spices, natural wholesome pumpkin flavor, flaky, buttery crust, I believe you give it a nice chocolate friend for us that are super obsessed! I know that you’re seeing pumpkin everything everywhere right now—from the latté to the candy, the chip to even the beer, it’s been absolutely huge this fall, and rightfully so. Pumpkin is something that obviously screams autumn, and holidays, and warm coziness. As you have read in many, many of my most recent posts, you just can’t make it through September-November without a pumpkin baked good! Like here and here.

So, naturally, I have added yet another pumpkin dessert to the table, but this time not only is it full of rich chocolate, this fudge cake can be made in fabulous individual ramekins—basically made to order! After an extremely long afternoon of eating that incredible Thanksgiving dinner, you can pop one of these little cakes into the oven, digest for 30 minutes while it bakes and cools slightly, and then truly indulge. They can even be made a day ahead of time—bonus points!

I love the denseness in this cake. Looking at the ingredients, chocolate is what it’s mostly made up of! You’ve got a tiny bit of butter + the pumpkin purée for a bit of fat, eggs to bind it, a touch of sweetness, and then some flour to give it some body. There isn’t even that much sugar in it! Can we argue that it is mildly healthy?! Sure!

And, it is Oh. So. Fudgy. Like, out of this world. This is like a deluxe, eat at a really nice restaurant dessert—and you can have it for any party, not just Thanksgiving, and blow people’s minds!

Choose your favorite chocolate, try not to eat half the bar like me, and treat yo’self to the most luxurious chocolate pumpkin fudge cake there is!

IMG_5811.JPG

ingredients

Semi-Sweet Chocolate (melted)—4 oz

Butter—0.75 oz, or 1 ½ TBL

Brown Sugar—1 oz, or 2 TBL

Eggs—2

Flour—0.65 oz, or 2 TBL

Salt—pinch

Puréed Pumpkin—1.25 oz, or 2 TBL

Cinnamon—0.1 oz, or ½ tsp


process

Over a double boiler, melt your chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.

Preheat your oven to 425˚ F.

Rub the inside of 2 ramekins with butter.

In the bowl of your mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar.

Add the eggs.

Once combined, add the flour, salt, cinnamon and pumpkin.

When all is mixed well, add a small amount of the melted chocolate, just so that the eggs won’t be shocked by the warm chocolate therefore they won’t cook.

Once the chocolate has been mixed well with the batter, slowly stream in the rest of your chocolate. Mix until just combined.

Pour the batter evenly into the 2 ramekins, they should not be filled any higher than ¾ of the way.

Place on a sheet pan and place in the oven.

Bake for 12 minutes, the cake will just start to pull away from the sides of the ramekin.

Remove from the oven, allow to cool for just a couple of minutes.

The center is slightly molten, and will become extra rich and fudgy the more that it cools!

You may either eat right out of the dish, or invert onto another place, dust with confectioner’s sugar, add a little bit of whipped cream, and enjoy!


Bon Appétit! 

Sweet and Salty Buttercrunch

As Halloween is quickly approaching and I have stuffed my face with enough candy corn, M&M’s and Reese’s Cups for at least a large family, I decided that enough is enough—I must make my own Halloween candy!

For some reason, holiday candy seems to taste that much better to me than if I was to buy the same exact thing at any other time during the year. Something about the packaging, how the stores are decorated, the bite sized candies, really gets me! Since moving into our new apartment that is actually in a neighborhood with potential trick-or-treaters, I figured that there was the possibility of having kids stop by (but who am I kidding, children won’t come into our apartment building…). With the disappointment of not being able to have a creepy candy bowl filled with all sorts of goodies—tootsie rolls were always my weakness—I thought why not have a jar filled with some homemade buttercrunch toffee to munch on well before and after this costume filled evening.

This candy is oh so simple and about 100x more delicious. Butter, sugar, water and a little bit of vanilla (substitute in some bourbon for an adult appropriate Halloween treat) are what make up this sweet and crunchy bite. What else is so great about this homemade candy? You can top it with whatever you choose! Whether leaving it au natural or dressing it up, your taste buds will thank you. To be honest, it is Halloween, where dressing up is pretty magical (minus ages 18-22), so why not give your buttercrunch some flair as well! Covered with melted chocolate, sprinkled with cinnamon, salt and toasted pepitas, your candy has a pretty tasty costume!

While the days of being part of Josie and the Pussycats, a gypsy or Baby Spice are long gone, I would say my adult celebration of homemade candy, a Punkin Ale and a thriller with my fiancé is a pretty great trade!

IMG_5599.JPG
IMG_5613.JPG

ingredients

Butter—4 oz, or 1 stick

Sugar—4 oz, or ½ C

Water—0.75 oz, or 2 TBL

Salt—pinch

Vanilla Extract—0.15 oz, or 1 tsp

 

Chocolate, 70%—2 oz

Toasted Pumpkin Seeds—½ C

Salt—1 TBL

 

process

In a small saucepan, melt the butter.

Add in the sugar, water and salt; stir.

At medium heat and while constantly stirring, cook your toffee until it reaches 295˚ F.

Remove from the heat and add in your vanilla.

*To make this toffee a little unique, replace the vanilla with an equal amount of bourbon!*

Pour onto a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment or a silpat.

Spread quickly with a spatula and allow to set.

Once the candy has set, blot with a towel to pick up any oil that has come to the surface.

Make a double boiler using a small saucepan filled with water and a heat proof bowl.

Place your chocolate in the bowl and, over low heat, melt the chocolate.

I like to use a dark chocolate between 70%-80% to cover this candy. The toffee is so wonderfully sweet, that a darker chocolate gives balance to the end result.

Once the chocolate has melted, pour over your toffee and spread with an offset spatula.

Sprinkle with salt and toasted pumpkin seeds! (To toast the seeds, spread on a sheet pan and put in an oven set at 300˚ F for about 8-10 minutes.)

Once the chocolate has set, break apart the toffee in large or small random sized pieces and enjoy!

 

Bon Appétit!