Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

print2

Fall has always been my favorite season. I love the mild weather, the sunny afternoons, and the comfortable clothes that come along with the change in temperatures. I grew up in Upstate NY, and let me tell you, if you’ve never been there during Fall, add it to your bucket list. The days of sweltering, humid summer days are gone, and are replaced by cool, crisp air an a breathtaking view of the leaves changing colors. It’s a lovely sight to see. It doesn’t matter how many years it’s been since I was in school, September always marks the beginning of fall in my mind and also gives me a feeling of new beginnings.

I know the calendar date for Fall isn’t quite here yet, but along with the cooler temperatures, this time of year has me yearning, like many, for a Pumpkin Spice Latte. They remind me of my days as a student, living in Boston, getting settled in a new dorm and starting a new semester.

ABM_1410493563

I know there are many PSL lovers out there, so I created this cookie recipe for us. It has real pumpkin in it, the spices that make it feel like fall, and a hint of coffee flavor. This cookie is fluffy, and cakey in texture and I am absolutely in love with it. So if you love pumpkin, and fall flavors, I suggest grabbing your self a can of pumpkin puree and getting these cookies started!

ABM_1410881411

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

IMG_20140902_141857_961

Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds.

IMG_20140902_141954_728

Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

IMG_20140902_142229_533

Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet.

IMG_20140902_142905_595

Feel free to place them close together to get them all one one shape. They won’t look pretty, and the dough will be sticky.

IMG_20140902_143340_209

Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill over night in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

IMG_20140902_165105_081

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.

IMG_20140902_170716_510

Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

IMG_20140902_175924_849

Is white chocolate just not your jam? I’ll admit I wasn’t always the biggest fan, and I’ve only recently started to come around to it, so I understand if you don’t dig white chocolate, so here are some alternatives:

While we’re on the topic of alterations, if you feel this cookie would be even better with a 1/2 c of chocolate chips or a handful of pecans, go for it!

ABM_1410494200

Now, I know this recipe only calls for a few tablespoons of pumpkin puree, but I wouldn’t leave you high and dry with will those leftovers, now would I? Here are some of my favorite fall recipes that use pumpkin puree, let me know which ones you like best!

Never miss a post by becoming a Reckless Subscriber and receive posts directly in your inbox, and if you’re looking for sneak-peaks of future posts or what’s cooking in my kitchen check out my Instagram account, RecklessInTheKitchen.

print2


Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp corn starch
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp coffee grounds
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 c white chocolate chips

Directions:

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine the flour, corn starch, baking soda, salt, coffee grounds, and pumpkin pie spice and set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment mix the butter on a low speed to spread it around the bowl. With the mixer running slowly add the sugars and beat on a medium speed until it has lightened in color and increased in volume slightly. Add the egg and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Next add the pumpkin and vanilla extract. Mix on a low speed for 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix on a low speed for an additional 30 seconds. Finally, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stop the mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl. Mix on low for 30 seconds.

Using a spoon, drop the dough into 1 1/2 inch spoonfuls on a lined baking sheet. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours (do not skip this step! Alternatively, the dough could be made the day before and left to chill overnight in the fridge, just be sure to cover the tray with plastic wrap). After the dough has chilled for 2 hours gently reshape the dough into even disks and spread them out on the pan.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the pan and put the tray on a different shelve in the oven (if your tray is on the top shelf, move it to the middle or bottom rack, etc.). Bake for an additional 6 minutes.  Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for about 5-10 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack.  Last step! Carefully melt your white chocolate (microwave or double boiler method whichever you prefer, click here for more information on melting chocolate without burning it).  Working quickly, pour the white chocolate into a small zip lock bag or a piping bag. If using a zip lock bag snip a small hole in one of the bottom corners. Drizzle the chocolate over the cookies.

 

Pumpkin Frankenstein Muffins

print2

*Article originally posted on www.Somverville.Patch.com*

A monster mash of delicious fall flavors!

These muffins certainly don’t look like Frankenstein, but this month when I sought out to create the ultimate pumpkin muffin recipe, I decided to borrow bits and pieces from other muffin recipes I had tried in the past.

First, let me explain my ideal muffin. To me the most important qualities in a muffin are a fantastic flavor and a texture that isn’t too heavy and is in no way dry. I’m also looking for a muffin that doesn’t make me feel guilty, but isn’t so healthy that I feel like I’m eating saw dust.

I started by looking at three different muffin recipes. The first was your typical, straight-up unhealthy but still delicious pumpkin muffin, the next was a stripped-down recipe that included whole wheat flour and a ton of pumpkin, and the third was a Morning Glory muffin.

Morning Glory muffins vary a lot but generally they tend to be a healthy breakfast muffin, often containing fruit, veggies, seeds and/or nuts. Between the three different approaches to making muffins, I had a lot to work with. I also had the idea to incorporate Greek yogurt so that the muffins had a tiny bit of protein in them.

After a few failed attempts and some mediocre results, I finally created a recipe that was yielding the kind of muffin I was dreaming of. I settled on using half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose flour. I wanted whole wheat flour in there so the muffin would have some fiber, but not so much that the flavor was overpowering.

I also decided that sifting the dry ingredients together and then gently folding them into the wet ingredients was imperative to yield the right kind of texture that wasn’t too heavy. The sifting and the gentle folding technique helps keep the overall texture of the muffins lighter.

I also experimented with adding applesauce and carrots in the batter. The applesauce ended up overpowering the pumpkin flavor and in the end had to be cut from the recipe. The carrots added no flavor and seemed like a sneaky way to get some extra veggies in.

A quick note on the pumpkin puree: This time of year it is easy to find a can of already cooked and pureed pumpkin and works very well for this recipe. If you are feeling a little more hands-on, pumpkin puree can also be easily made at home.

To do this you’ll need 1-2 small baking pumpkins (not the same as the ones you would use for making jack-o-lanterns). Using a sharp knife, remove the stem and slice the pumpkin in half length-wise. Scrape out the center pulp and seeds.

Next, place the pumpkin halves on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. The pumpkin will be a light golden brown when done. Peel the skin from the pumpkin and puree the pumpkin in a food processer until smooth. If it looks too dry, add in a few tablespoons of water during the pulsing to add moisture.

 

print2

Pumpkin Frankenstein Muffins
Ingredients:
2 eggs
1/2 c plain greek yogurt (2% or full fat)
1 c brown sugar
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree
2 grated carrots
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
1 tsp baking soda

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

In a mixing bowl sift together the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl use a whisk to beat the eggs until frothy and light in color. Next whisk in the yogurt until well combined followed by the brown sugar, whisking in ½ a cup at a time. Finally whisk in the pumpkin puree and grated carrots.

Now it is time to combine the dry and wet ingredients. Begin by adding a third of the dry ingredients to the wet. Use a spatula to gently fold the ingredients together until well combined. Once the mixture is homogenous, continue to fold in the remainder of the dry ingredients in a third at a time.

Finally using a 1/3 c measuring cup, scoop the batter into a lined muffin pan. This recipe yields 18-20 muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes. When the muffins are finished a tooth pick inserted into the center will come out clean.

Apples: A Love Story

*This article originally posted on www.Somerville.Patch.com*

Three easy apple desserts celebrate the changing seasons and capture the flavors of fall.

The T is packed with students, Sundays can be celebrated with copious amounts of football, and ads for apple picking are popping up everywhere.

Whether we like it or not fall has arrived. But what better way to embrace the arrival of fall than by making some of the desserts that make this time of year worth looking forward to.

Here are three simple, apple-centric desserts that will get anyone excited about the change of the seasons. But first lets talk apples. Most grocery stores have a variety of apples to choose from, but which ones will hold up in the oven?

It’s important to select an apple that can stand the intense heat from the oven and won’t get mushy or fall apart. The apples that pass the test are the ones that are high in minerals, such as Baldwin, Northern Spy, Rome, Granny Smiths, Fuji, and Braeburns.

This first recipe is simple to make and can be easily customized to suit anyone’s taste.

print2

The Naked Baked Apple

Ingredients:

  • 3 large apples
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • ½ c water
  • Filling:
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Optional add-ins:
  • Chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Raisins or dried cranberries
  • Orange zest

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

First peel and core the apples. To core the apples place the apples on a cutting board and using knife cut into the top of the apple around the stem. Next use a spoon to loosen and dig out the core of the apple. Use the knife again to cut the remainder of the core out.

Combine 1 tsp of cinnamon and ½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix over the outside of the apple, covering it completely. A quick note on spices; pumpkin pie spices or apple pie spices are a mixture of spices you can find in most grocery stores. This already has several different spices mixed together and saves you from having to buy several spices if you don’t already have them in your kitchen. If you opt not to use the pre-mixed spices instead add a dash or two of allspice, nutmeg, ground cloves, and ginger to the cinnamon.

Place the spice-rubbed apples in a round cake pan. In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, oats, and a pinch of cinnamon. This is where the recipe can become your own, because the filling can be what you want it to be. If you have an orange handy I recommend adding a tiny bit of orange zest. Dried fruit such as raisins or cranberries or nuts also can be a good addition to this filling.

Using a spoon carefully fill the apples with the filling, packing it in if necessary. Cut up 1 tablespoon of butter and place on top of the filling. Add ½ cup of water to the pan so the apples are standing in the water. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 45-50 minutes.

This next recipe builds on the recipe above and yields an individual apple pie. For this recipe you can either make your favorite pie dough recipe from scratch, or you can use a pre-made pie dough from the store.

 

print2

Apple Dumplings

Ingredients:

  • 3 large apples
  • 1 batch of pie dough
  • Filling:
  • 4 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp rolled oats
  • Pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp butter

Optional add-ins:

  • Chopped walnuts or pecans
  • Raisins or dried cranberries
  • Orange zest

Directions:

Peel and core the apples and set aside. In a small bowl prepare the filling. Next roll out the pie dough and cut into 5 inch squares. Place apples in the center of each square of dough and spoon the filling into the center of the apples. Cut up 1 tbsp of butter and place on top of the filling.

Bring the edges of the pastry up around the apple to create a dumpling. Use warm water to seal the edges if needed. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Bake in a lightly greased cake pan at 350 for 45-50 minutes. Apples should be tender and the crust should be a light golden brown.

Last but not least, a crowd-pleasing apple crisp.

 

print2

Peanut Butter Apple Crisp

Ingredients:

  • ½ c unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ c peanut butter
  • ½ c raw rolled oats
  • ½ c all purpose flour
  • 1 ½ c brown sugar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 6-8 large apples
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp Pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • ½ tsp
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/3 c water (reduce amount to ¼ c or 4 tbsp if working with particularly juicy apples)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350. In a medium bowl use a fork to combine the butter, peanut butter, oats, flour, brown sugar, and salt and set aside.

Peel, core, and cut apples into bite-sized pieces and place into a large bowl. Sprinkle the apples with the cinnamon and spice mixture and toss to coat the apples evenly in the spices. Place the spiced apples in a generously greased 9 x 13 baking pan.

Sprinkle the apples with the lemon juice and water. Next, evenly distribute the brown sugar topping over the apples. Bake for 40-45 minutes.