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.
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.
Yesterday, someone told me I gotta stop hating on pumpkin and pumpkin spice. I guess I have got to set something straight. I don’t hate pumpkin or pumpkin spice. In fact, I love pumpkin and pumpkin spice. I just love cranberries more.
I think its sad that craberries don’t get a fraction of the attention pumpkin and pumpkin spice get this time of year. In my very small way I am trying to change that. I want everyone to know cranberries aren’t just for sauce at Thanksgiving anymore.
To prove that pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice and cranberries can live together in peaceful harmony, here is a recipe for a muffin that uses all three.
3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 TBS canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 6 cup muffin tin; set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice until well combined.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, white sugar, pumpkin, oil and vanilla until throughly combined.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Bake on a center rack for 20 – 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the pan for 5 minutes then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool.
Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence isn’t going to write any more cookbooks because …. “Recipes are dead.” His reasoning behind this statement is …. “I’ll publish a cookbook and I’ll have a 125 recipes. People only use five and they won’t even follow them: They’ll use those like a guide that they’ll kind of interchange different ingredients with ….” (The Smart Kitchen Summit via The Washington Post).
I can’t even begin to tell you how much this statement irked me. First of all, every recipe since the first caveman threw a piece of meat on the fire has come into existence because someone used someone elses’ recipe as a guide and changed out the ingredients. This includes every recipe that Chef Florence has ever created. Second, I wonder if it ever occurred to Chef Florence that more people would use his recipes as written if they were more accessible to the average home cook.
Maybe, I am sensitive to what Chef Florence said because I have spent the last 5 1/2 years adapting other people’s recipes. Over the years I have asked dozens of professional and hobby bloggers for permission to post my adaptions for their recipes. None of them have said no because they don’t want their recipes changed in any way. Most of them are happy I like their recipes enough to include them on A Solitary Feast. In fact, only one blogger has ever said no when I asked permission to post one of my adaptions. It was more of wanting the views for her recipe on her blog rather than mine not because she was upset I changed her recipe.
Personally, I want you to take the recipes I have posted here and make them your own in whatever way you wish. To me finding new ways to make a recipe is what cooking is all about. It’s where we get new flavor combinations, new recipes and new cooking techniques. So go grab a recipe, get into the kitchen and play. When you are done come here and tell me about it so can get in the kitchen and play too.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, brown sugar, egg, vanilla and milk; mix well. In medium bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin pie spice, salt, and baking powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. In a 1 quart baking dish, spread the oat mixture in the baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until firm.
I was going to get the recipes using Christina Lane’s pumpkin pie spice last week but life got away from me. So here is the first one, Giant Pumpkin Spice Muffins. I don’t have a Texas sized muffin pan so I just made these in a regular muffin pan and ended up with 10 regular muffins instead of 6 giant ones.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 6 large, 4 inch muffin cups. In a medium bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and pumpkin pie spice. In another medium bowl, combine the buttermilk and pumpkin; mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients; mix until just moistened. Fold in the raisins. Evenly spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake 35 – 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins and cool on a wire rack.
Last week I realized, though I make them often during the cooler months, I don’t have a pumpkin muffin or a baked pumpkin oatmeal recipe on the blog. Guess what next week’s posts are going to be?
Before we can make pumpkin anything, we need a good pumpkin spice blend. This blend is courtesy of Christina Lane from Dessert For Two. The addition of black pepper is unique to this blend and gives it a subtle pop of flavor. Just make sure to finely grind the pepper or the pop of flavor won’t be subtle. Next week’s posts will be things that use this wonderful pumpkin pie spice blend.
Used with permission from Christina Lane from Dessert For Two
1 TBS ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp finely ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl; mix well. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.