Soft Honey Pumpkin Cookies

The first thing people ask me when they find out from North Dakota is “is it cold there?”  The answer is sometimes.  I find that the definition of cold varies widely,  In North Dakota, when the temperatures hit the 50’s, everyone puts on their shorts and t-shirts and celebrates the arrival of spring.  My friend in Alabama says when the temperatures hit the 50’s it is time for winter boots, parkas and mittens to come out.  And let’s not talk about what happens to people from Alabama when the temperatures are below 50.  I think my friend said something about the end of the world.  We both agreed that she probably shouldn’t visit North Dakota in January.  #ifyouknowyouknow

What people who don’t live in cold climates don’t know is that cooler fall weather is the perfect excuse to turn on your oven and bake. So I made these soft, cake like, pumpkin cookies. My house smelled so good while the cookies were baking and my tummy was so happy when I was eating them.

Adapted From Plum

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

6 TBS Honey

2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 tsp vanilla

3 TBS lightly beaten egg

8 TBS white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, spices and baking soda.

In another medium bowl, beat the butter, honey and brown sugar until creamy, about 4 minutes. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, on at a time beat well to combine.

Slowly, add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just moistened. Mix in 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons white chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls on to a baking sheet, leaving 2 inches between the cookies. Bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will look slightly underdone when they are taken out of the oven. Remove the cookies from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool. Once cool you can melt the remaining white chocolate chips and drizzle over the cookies for a “frosting” if you desire.

Mango Spice Muffins

On July 3rd, I got an early morning phone call informing me one of my best friends, Audrey passed away from a heart attack. I was devastated. Audrey and I texted all day everyday about everything from family issues to how annoying it is when a contestant on Chopped would say they don’t like an ingredient or think an ingredient is disgusting. It is irrelevant. Its the contestants’ job to make a delicious meal out of the ingredients in the basket period. I miss Audrey every dang day.

Audrey and I met through her blog, Lady Melady My Castle, My Food. I was looking for waffle recipes to adapt for my new waffle maker and she had loads of them on her site. I commented and she answered, back and forth, for awhile. Then Audrey said something that made me think she lived close by. Turns out she was only about 90 miles away. We very quickly agreed we had to meet.

Audrey drove 90 miles on a bitter cold February day to meet me at Starbuck’s. I was kind of nervous. I mean what on earth would we talk about one we exhausted the food and blogger talk? Turns out I didn’t need to worry about running out of food and blogger talk we did that for hours and hours, right up to the time she died. And right from the start, we had so much more in common then food and food blogging. We had similar tastes in books and movies. We both thought Jeffery Dean Morgan is one of the sexiest human beings on the planet, although I am the only one who got to meet him and get a hug. We just clicked from the very first moment we met.

Audrey was supported me in all things, from quitting my job of 13 years and starting over someplace else to buying more tea when I already had enough because it was fun and didn’t hurt anyone when I started drinking tea regularly and enjoying it. She was excited as I was to get a new tea package in the mail. Audrey’s first text of the day was always, “What’s in your cup today?”

One of many special things about our friendship, is when I got stuck on a where to go with a recipe adaption or had random things to cook I could always text her and bounce random ideas off her and she would add her ideas to the pot and between us we would come up with something for me to make. One of the last things we were working on was a recipe for mango muffins. I think Audrey would have been pleased with the final product I came up with.

Mango Spice Muffins

1 1/2 TBS canola oil

1 cup flour

2 TBS sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp Chinese 5 Spice powder

3 TBS lightly beaten egg

3/4 cup diced mango

1/2 tsp vaniilla

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Spray 6 muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray.

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Beat together the egg, milk and oil in another bowl. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and combine the ingredients swiftly, but gently, until the ingredients are just moistened.

Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling them about 2/3’s full and handling the batter as little as possible. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before taking them out of the tin.

Cinnamon Muffins

No, it isn’t a typo. There really are 2 1/2 tsp of cinnamon in a recipe for 6 muffins. I adapted this recipe for my friend, Steph, whose answer to all the world’s problems is, “it needs more cinnamon”. My goal was to add enough cinnamon to make her say. “Whoa, that’s enough cinnamon.” Sadly, I didn’t accomplish that goal with this recipe. I did accomplish making a yummy muffin that both Steph and I enjoyed so I am happy with that.

Cinnamon Muffins

Adapted From The Joy of Muffins cookbook

3/4 cup plus 2 TBS all purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

2 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup sugar

3 TBS lightly beaten egg

2 1/2 TBS canola oil

1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 6 cup muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Mix well. In a small bowl, combine, the egg, canola oil, and milk. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened.

Fill the prepared muffin cups 2/3’s full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Classic Blueberry Muffins

My mom doesn’t understand why I keep buying cookbooks when I already have so many. She doesn’t cook or bake much. It just isn’t her passion like it is mine so I can never make her understand that buying cookbooks for me is the same as her buying fabric for her quilting when she already has more then she will use in her lifetime. There is something about the cookbook that inspires me to want get into my kitchen and try a new recipe just like the way fabrics inspire her to get to her sewing room and sew.

Yesterday I had to be out my apartment for awhile, so I headed out to my favorite used book store, Books At A Fifth. I found a “New” muffin cookbook from 1989, called The Joy Of Muffins that featured muffins based on flavors from all over the world. You all know how much I love to make muffins so it isn’t often I find muffin recipes that I haven’t tried before. The Joy of Muffins is not only filled with muffin recipes I haven’t tried before, its filled with recipes I actually want to try. The recipes use, for the most part, Ingredients I already have at home or have easy access to. Best of all, the cookbook was only a a dollar. How could I resist?

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted From The Joy Of Muffins Cookbook

1 cup flour

2 TBS sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1 egg

6 TBS milk

2 TBS canola oil

1/2 cup blue berries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray a 6 cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well to combine. In another small bowl, combine the egg, milk, and canola oil. Mix well. Combine wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3’s full. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Muffins are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Christmas Treats #2– Spritz Cookies

Every year, I plan a massive list of cookies and treats I want to make for Christmas. The list is so big that if I started baking for Christmas in June, I wouldn’t get them done. So every year I have par down the list to something a bit more realistic. Every year, Spritz cookies get cut because they require a bit of special equipment in the form of a cookie press.

This year I decided to keep them on them list and buy a cookie press. I bought a Wilton cookie press for about $15. I have had several people tell me that the cookie press is hard to use. I found that there is a bit of a learning curve, its not hard. Here are a few things I learned about making spritz cookies. 1. Don’t grease or line your pans. It makes your cookies spread. 2. If you are tooling a long pressing cookies and all of a sudden the cookies won’t release from the press, its because your dough is too warm. Put the press and baking sheet in the fridge for 5 minutes and try again. 3. Don’t let the cookies cool more then the recommended 2 minutes. Once cooled the cookies will break more easily when removing them. 4. I discovered I like these cookies with out decorations but you can sprinkle the cookies with colored sugar before baking if you like a more festive cookies

Spritz Cookies

Adapted From

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

3 TBS lightly beaten egg

1 TBS Milk

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the flour and baking powder.

In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg, milk, almond extract and vanilla extract; mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture; beat until well combined. DO NOT CHILL.

Put your chosen disk into the cookie press and fill it with dough. Press the cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden brown. Cool for 2 minutes on the cookie sheet on a cooling rack. Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and cool completely on the cooling rack.