Pumpkin cookies

As soon as the calendar  rolled over to October I got the sudden urge to make every recipe I can find that involves pumpkin. I am hopeless at home decorating but have been searching for the past week of small ways to decorate for autumn. I absolutely love love love this season.

I have scoured the web and pinterest for tasty pumpkin recipes and have a hoard of them to make. Good thing I bought seven cans of pumpkin puree last night. And I am going to Detering Orchards this weekend for their fall apple party and to pick up some sugar pie pumpkins.

easy quick pumpkin cookies

Currently Little even smells of pumpkin pie as I fed him pumpkin pancakes for breakfast. The recipe needs some tweaking but have no fear I will perfect it and share it with you. Yum yum yum. I found an amazing recipe for pumpkin pull apart cinnamon bread. Also a killer curried pumpkin lentil daal I can’t wait to make.

The pancakes weren’t the first pumpkin recipe I made this fall though. I made these tasty pumpkin cookies last night. They are a cakey cookie but oh so good. I topped them with this cream cheese frosting recipe. Nathan had one for breakfast. I am currently exhibiting self control although I am confident when I go get my second cup of coffee in a bit all will power will be lost. They go SO well with a latte.

Happy fall!!

easy quick pumpkin cookies

Pumpkin Cookies (makes about 2 dozen)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
(or 1 tbs pumpkin pie spice in place of all the above spices)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves (or pumpkin pie spice), and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies on a rack. Frost with this cream cheese frosting when completely cool.

easy quick pumpkin cookies

A collection of party recipes and a very happy birthday (my favorites #7)

Little turns one today. We threw him the party to end all parties yesterday. A party to celebrate one tiny loved little boy and all the people who have been a part of his life. We are so blessed.

Happy birthday Little

I intended to photograph many of the recipes I made for Little’s birthday so I could share them on here. In the hustle and bustle of preparations and the actual party those intentions never materialized. So instead I present you with gorgeous party pictures and links to the some of the recipes I used.

The Party Spread

The table spread….

BBQ Broiled Tofu (Vegan)

Tofu counts as a new ingredient for me. I have eaten it many times but this was my first foray in to cooking it. I used this recipe from Peas and Thank you. It was delicious and so easy.

Delicious pulled pork

I served pulled pork sandwiches as it is something that is easy to make in advance and warm up right before the party. I used this recipe from Food Network (I only made the pork- not the sauce or coleslaw). So easy. So tasty. So much food. I will be eating this for the rest of the week.

Cilantro Lime Coleslaw

There is a local food cart that makes the best coleslaw. At Nathan’s request I tried to replicate it. My coleslaw was not as good as theirs but infinitely better than the usual plain coleslaw served with pulled pork. I made it the day before so the flavors had lots of time to mingle. Delish. Recipe here. I skipped the chile.

Pasta salad and potato salad

Pasta salad made by my sister and potato salad made by my mom. Both to die for.

Fruit and veggie tray - We juiced the leftovers

A party isn’t complete without a fruit and veggie tray. The homemade buttermilk ranch deserves its own post so you will just have to wait for the recipe. Ever wonder what to do with all the leftover veggies and fruits from a party? Throw them in your juicer the next morning. That’s what we did!

Party drink table

 

Party drink table.

Cupcakes and Cookies

Cupcakes and not so tiny cake for the Little. Also yummy sugar cookies.

Happy birthday Little

And last but certainly not least- gratuitous picture of cake smashing Little. He actually smashed it less than I anticipated. He mostly picked off the blue and yellow frosting circles then patted it a bit.

Happy happy birthday Little. Your daddy and I love you and are honored to be your parents.

Oatmeal cookies your way

I improvise alot in the kitchen. I am sure you have realized this by now. My favorite recipes are flexible and forgiving. Most savory cooking type recipes are this way. Baking tends to be more exact. This recipe is the exception.

While there are key base elements that must remain constant to churn out these delicious cookies there is much room for improvisation. All the pictures on this post are of my favorite variation- white chocolate and craisins. However you can add anything you want to these cookies- raisins, cinnamon, chocolate, coconut, chopped nuts, M&Ms, chopped up candy bars. Your imagination is your limit.

Oatmeal cookies- super versatile! Add whatever you want to them.

If you come up with a winning combination please come back and share!

Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cup oatmeal
Mix ins of your choosing- 1 cup raisins/craisins, 1 cup chocolate chips (white, dark, milk), 1-2 cups coconut, 1 tsp almond extract, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 cup chopped nuts, etc. My favorite is 1 cup white chocolate chips 1 cup craisins

Oatmeal cookies- super versatile! Add whatever you want to them.

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar till light and pale. Add eggs one at a time mixing well in between and scraping down the bowl as needed. Add vanilla. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together in to another bowl. Add to wet mixture. Fold in what ever mix ins you want. Scoop 1 inch balls of dough on to a cookie sheet 1-2 inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Pull out slightly underdone for a chewy cookie.

Apple crisp

A few weeks ago I made apple crumb bread and freaked out because it was still August and my house smelled of fall.

But then I remembered fall means sweaters, football, pumpkin patch trips (can’t wait!), turning the oven on to warm up the house, crisp mornings, crunchy leaves, and lots and lots of apples. Oh and pears. I love fall fruit. I love fall period. And here in Oregon the days will get nice and warm probably through the end of the month. So much fun.

Apple Crisp

Our neighbors tree is full of apples. Unfortunately the neighbor children have picked and thrown around most of the ones with in reach over our fence. My sweet husband managed to snag enough for this crisp recipe with the help of a rake to reach several apples higher up.

Aside from the time it takes to prep the apples this recipe is a breeze. I love oatmeal in my crisps and thought I would miss it in this recipe. I did not. It was perfect just the way it was- well a little ice cream does take it up a notch.

Apple Crisp

Apple Crisp (makes 8-10 servings)

Topping:
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, slightly softened and cut into tablespoons
1 1/2 cups pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped

Filling:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 pounds tart firm apples
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Apple Crisp

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 3 1/2 to 4 quart baking dish. Make the topping: Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and blend until well combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture forms large clumps. Transfer to bowl and mix in nuts with your fingers. Alternatively, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt and work in butter and pecans with your fingers or a pastry blender. Make the filling: Whisk together sugar and cinnamon. Peel, quarter and core apples and cut into 1/2-inch thick slices. Add apples and lemon juice to sugar mixture and mix until well combined. Assemble: Spread apples in prepared baking dish. Crumble topping evenly over apples. Bake until topping is golden brown, 45 to 60 minutes. Let cool a bit and serve warm.

Apple Crisp

Brownies- plain and simple

These brownies could be called the brownies that almost weren’t. I went on a hunt for unsweetened baking chocolate stopping at two different stores and I found none. Once home I started plotting how I could make the brownies with extra butter and maybe cocoa powder instead. Then I remembered I HAD unsweetened chocolate in my baking cupboard. Win.

Simple fudgy brownies

I have seen this exact recipe on several blogs and even one cookbook. It is clearly tested time and time again. I found it incredibly simple and perfect. The only issue I had (if you can call it that) is that I baked it for the recommended amount of time plus 5 minutes and they were still super fudgy. I would leave them in 5 minutes longer next time although they were incredibly tasty a bit under baked.

Simple fudgy brownies

This will be my go to brownie recipe from here on out. I made a different recipe last night and certainly prefer this one. No worries- we ate the batch from last night so no brownies are homeless. Unsweetened chocolate is on my shopping list so my pantry will be stocked the next time I need to make these. I highly recommend you do the same.

Simple fudgy brownies

Brownies (makes 1 8×8 pan)

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon  vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment. Butter the parchment or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray. Alternatively just butter and flour the pan. In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until mostly melted. Off the heat stir until smooth and finished melting. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan, spread until even. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free. Cool, cut, eat. Share if you must.

Simple fudgy brownies

 

Peaches foster

Last week I ran across a recipe for bananas foster. Seemed like a good excuse to buy some rum. Besides the idea of playing with fire in the kitchen was appealing. And you know what? It is ridiculously easy to make. Melt butter, add sugar and spices, add bananas, throw in rum, light on fire, wait for fire to extinguish, then serve over ice cream.

Peaches Foster

It was an instant hit at our house. I made it three times in a row. And then we were out of bananas. Earlier in the week though I had gone peach picking and the peaches were rotting faster than we could eat them. So a few nights ago for desert I made the same fosters recipe but with peaches instead.

Oh my goodness. So easy. So so so good.

If you gain 10 lbs (like I most likely will) I apologize in advance.

Peaches Foster ON FIRE

Peaches Foster
2 tbsp butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, pref. dark
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium peaches
1/4 cup rum, light or dark

Melt butter in an 8 or 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar, vanilla, and sugar, and stir until sugar dissolves. Peel and slice peaches and add to skillet. Turn heat up to high. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side. Pouring carefully, add the rum. The alcohol may ignite on its own, but if it does not then use a long match or lighter to ignite it. Cook until flame dies out. Serve immediately with vanilla ice cream.

Peaches Foster

Lemon dream bars

Entries for the fair are turned in. I didn’t end up making everything I thought I would and made one thing I didn’t plan on. I only turned in three entries this year- a petit carrot cake, chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, and these lemon dream bars.

What is so special about these bars? First off they are my dad’s favorite and Shouldn’t that be enough reason to make them?

Lemon Dream Bars

Second it wouldn’t be Christmas at our house without them  We could skip the ornaments, tree, and nativity but if we had these bars it would be enough.  Which makes eating them in August feel like Christmas. Odd.

Third this recipe is handed down from my grandma to my mom to me (to you). They are an institution in our family.

Lemon Dream Bars

Fourth coconut meets walnuts meets chewy, lemony, shortbready goodness. I might have just made up a word but these bars deserve it.

Convinced you yet? I made them yesterday morning and they are all gone. That is how good they are.

Lemon Dream Bars

Lemon Dream Bars (Makes one 9×13 pan. Number of bars varies on how big or small you cut them)

2/3 cup butter
2 cup all-purpose flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup flaked coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons lemon zest
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar

Lemon Dream Bars

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, stir together the 4 tablespoons of sugar with the 2 cups of flour. Cut in the 2/3 cup of butter until mixture is coarse crumbs. Press firmly into the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven till lightly browned.

Meanwhile in a mixing bowl, combine the sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well. Stir in the coconut and chopped nuts. Spread the mixture evenly over the baked crust (ok to do while the crust is straight out of oven). Return to the oven to bake for an additional 25 to 30 minutes.

Lastly make the icing by combining the lemon zest, lemon juice and confectioners’ sugar. Beat until smooth. Pour and spread over the top of the bars as soon as they come out of the oven. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Lemon Dream Bars

Cherry Pie

Experts say that you must expose a baby to a new food ten + times to get them to develop a taste for whatever it is that you are feeding them. Little didn’t care for blueberries much when he first tried them. After repeatedly offering them to him they are now one of his favorite foods. He is taking his time adjusting to green beans though. I just keep putting food on his tray and he eats it or doesn’t. Eventually he will eat it.

Cherry Pie

I feel like I am this way too. Having grown up in Spain I was never really exposed to blueberries and therefore, as an adult, haven’t cared for them until recently. Same with anything with cooked cherries. What I have discovered of late is that I don’t like artificial blueberry and cherry flavors. Fresh blueberries or home-frozen that I put in baked goods are a different taste category than a Costco blueberry muffin. Fresh cherries have always been a favorite of mine but cherry pie or bars – yuck! Nathan, however, loves cherry pie so each year I go to a local farm and buy pie cherries to freeze. Every time I make a pie I take a tiny slice mostly because I love pie crust. Yesterday when I made this pie and had a slice I feel like I finally hit my tenth taste and loved it.

Pie cherries are almost done for the season here in my area. I highly recommend making this before they are gone till next year. Or at least run out, get some cherries, freeze them and make this in the dead of winter. Totally worth it. Even if it did take me years to decide it was delicious.

Cherry Pie

Pate Brisee (Makes enough for one double or two single-crust 9 inch pies)
I posted this recipe previously but here it is again.

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cold, cut into small
1/4 cup ice water, plus more if needed

Dump flour and salt into the food processor; pulse to combine. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs about 10 pulses 1-2 seconds each. (To mix by hand, combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry blender.)

Turn machine on add ice water through feed tube in a slow, steady stream, just until dough holds together without being wet or sticky. Test by squeezing a small amount of dough together; if it is still too crumbly, add a bit more water, 1 tablespoon at a time. Turn out dough onto a clean work surface. Divide in half, and place each half on a piece of plastic wrap. Shape into flattened disks. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month; thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

Cherry Pie

Cherry Pie

1 recipe Pate Brisee
5 cups pie cherries (sour)
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs butter
1 egg lightly beaten for egg wash.
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Cherry Pie

Preheat oven to 425 F. Combine cherries, sugar, and cornstarch in a bowl. Set aside. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out half the dough to 1/8-inch-thick circle, about 13 inches in diameter. Drape dough over a deep dish 9-inch pie pan, and transfer to refrigerator to chill. Roll out the remaining dough to the same size and thickness. Pour the cherry mixture into the chilled pie crust. Dot with butter. Brush the rim of the crust with the egg wash, place the other piece of dough on top, trim to 1/2 inch over edge of pan, and crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers. Cut vent holes. Lightly brush the top and sides with egg wash. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Transfer to the oven, placing a cookie sheet on the rack under the pie to catch any bubble over. Bake for 30 minutes then reduce temperature to 350 F. Bake for 25-30 minutes more until bubbly and brown. Allow to cool for at least an hour before serving.

Cherry Pie

 

 

Rhubarb Crisp

This was a busy weekend and I have a busy start to the week too. House guests, dinners, playdates.  Lots of cooking and baking going on these past few days. Preserving the garden bounty, feeding throngs of people around my too small dinner table, trying to use up the last bit of frozen/canned food from last summer. All this commotion  makes me happy. I love having a house full of friends and family.

So, since I am short on time, I leave you with this recipe. One I was not sold on when I made it nor when it came out of the oven, but I have nonetheless decided to share because of how AMAZING it was once it was in the fridge for a day. Plus, it helped me use up the rhubarb one of Nathan’s coworkers had gifted us.

rhubarb crisp

Delish. Just don’t judge it on how it tastes when it first comes out of the oven.

Rhubarb Crisp

3 cups chopped rhubarb
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, softened

rhubarb crisp

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F  and lightly grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a large bowl, combine rhubarb, sugar, oats, 1 teaspoon flour, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir until well combined and pour into prepared baking dish. In small bowl, stir together 3/4 cup flour, baking soda and salt. Blend in butter until all flour is incorporated. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture. Bake 30 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender. Serve with whipped cream.

rhubarb crisp