Cookies that play nice in the sandbox

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OoOooOOOOooohhhh the first of the fall baking has arrived!

PUMPKIN.

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Why isn’t it a year-round thing?? I always think that summer fruit is my favorite thing, but then around comes fall (which happens to be my favorite season anyway) and I get all obsessed with pumpkin. So fickle.

But seriously. Pumpkin is one of my favorite things ever. And healthy cookies are right up there next to pumpkin on the favorite things list, so obviously why would I NOT combine these?! Helloooo.

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I’m going to start my pumpkin hoarding sometime soon…. you know what I mean if you’ve hung around my inbox snark the last several years: come fall, everyyytime I go to the store, I grab an extra can of pumpkin. Can never have too much, right?! … Right. Sorry. I have a problem. BUT. That also means that when everyone else is fighting over the *last* can of pumpkin within a 10 mile radius, I am sitting pretty on my hoarded stash. And can therefore make pumpkin things. All. The. Time. Yep. Be jealous. Or don’t, and implement my genius strategy for yourself… you’ll thank me later.

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These cookies play nice in the sandbox, too, as they’re dairy free, refined sugar free, gluten free, and paleo. Even if you don’t subscribe to any particular dietary theory (like me. I’m an omnitarian), it’s only fair to make cookies that can make nice for other people too, right?! Cookies are meant to be shared. They’re like love, in food form.

Bake love. Share food (preferably with a bestie over tea). Eat. Be happy!

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Pumpkin Cookies

Recipe lightly adapted from Lexi’s Clean Kitchen, here! My batch yielded 10 cookies, about 2.5-3″. Paleo, gluten free, refined sugar free, and dairy free! Not to mention full of beta carotene, healthy fats, and antioxidants. How could you pass up these little gems?! That’s right… I thought not!

  • 1 c almond flour/almond meal
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 c pumpkin puree (Just pumpkin, not pie filling pleeease!)
  • 2.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • heaping 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I make my own: 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves, 1/2 tsp allspice, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, pinch of cardamom or mace), plus more to sprinkle on the top of yet-to-be-baked cookies
  • 2 large squares of 70% dark chocolate, roughly chopped

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Preheat oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together almond flour, coconut flour, sea salt, baking soda and 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. In a smaller bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, pumpkin, honey, and vanilla. Stir wet into dry (and do try to avoid overmixing, we can’t have that…). Stir in chocolate, and drop by the tablespoonish onto the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkleysprinkle some extra pumpkin pie spice on there because that is an excellent idea. Smooth them out just a little… then pop them into the oven for about 15 minutes.

Let cool on the cookie sheet for a few as they’re soft right out of the oven—they’ll seem too soft at first but they firm up nicely. Store them in the fridge, if they last that long!

Your kitchen will smell like heaven. Indulge responsibly ;)

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Merry Christmas, BEDFORD FALLSSSS!!!

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I just fed this to the ones I love, who are now comatose. I think I might need a nap.

Merry Christmas! Feed the ones you love.

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Pumpkin Sweet Roulade with Hazelnut Filling and Hazelnut Caramel Drizzle

This cake is freaking fantastic. Pumpkin cake rolled around a hazelnut licqueur-spiked whipped cream filling with shaved dark chocolate chunks, topped with a hazelnut spiked caramel. Um, hello, what isn’t there to love?! Pumpkin, cream, hazelnut, and chocolate: go celebrate Christmas and eat this with your loved ones!

The cake is gratefully borrowed from (and caramel inspired by!) Cate’s World Kitchen, here, but the rest is my brainchild! Serves… enough. Probably seven 1″ slices? Ish? Depending on how large of a dessert coma you’d like to go into.

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For the cake:

  • 4 eggs, separated
  • scant 1/4 c brown sugar, loose (not packed)
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c granulated sugar

For the filling:

  • 1 c (ish) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp of powdered sugar
  • good glug of vanilla
  • a healthy glug of hazelnut liqueur (I used Fra Angelico)
  • several squares of dark chocolate, finely chopped (I used 72% Belgian dark)

*I never measure for the filling, so just taste as you go until you have the right balance of flavors for you and your audience. My particular audience loves hazelnut, so I was veryyyy generous, hehe.

For the caramel:

  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 + 1/8 c heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • another healthy glug of hazelnut liqueur (I used Fra Angelico)

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For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Lightly grease the pan to stick the paper down, then lightly grease the paper as well. I always use unrefined coconut oil for this.

In a medium-sized bowl, whip egg yolks until they’re light and frothy, a few minutes. Add in brown sugar, and beat another minute more. Into a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Beat into the egg/sugar mix in three additions, until incorporated. Beat in pumpkin puree on low. In a separate, non reactive bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form (I like to use the bowl of my kitchenaide with my handheld mixer). Slowly drizzle in sugar, and beat until the eggs hold stiff peaks. Fold the egg whites into the pumpkin mix, until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared jelly roll pan, and smooth it out so that it looks nice… Pop into the oven for 15ish minutes, until the cake springs back when poked.

Let cool on a wire rack in the pan for a few minutes, then remove from pan (by lifting up the parchment) and set back on the wire rack temporarily.

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Whip the cream in yet another bowl, until it just barely starts to hold shape. Pour in your several glugs of hazelnut goodness, as well as vanilla and powdered sugar. Beat until the cream holds it’s shape (but isn’t butter… believe me, I’ve gone too far a few times). Fold in chopped dark chocolate.

Spread the filling on the top of the pumpkin roll, reserving a bit of cream for topping dollops. Start rolling (carefully!!) from the short end, removing the parchment as you go, until the roll is complete. Carefully transfer it to a plate. Cover and store in the fridge until served.

For the caramel, melt sugar over medium heat in a heavy bottomed saucepan until just barely melted (don’t stir it, just swirl the pan around frequently). Stir in butter until combined. Turn heat to low, and add cream a spoonful at a time until the caramel is the desired consistency. Remove from heat and add Fra Angelico. Pour (drizzling is for sissies) generously over cake slices, and garnish with extra whipped cream (it’s Christmas, after all). Eat the leftover caramel with spoon, obviously… I mean, why WOULDN’T you do that?!

Eat with loved ones. Be merry, be grateful, and spread love!

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Being out of cookies is a good thing… said absolutely no one, EVER.

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Welcome to the ridiculousness that is my random life:

Thursday things! A compilation of totally irrelevant, irreverent, and random things. Because I know that you totally want to know all this stuff. Really, you do.

1. I am utter crap at turning my brain off in savasana. Like, I’ll be laying there going “oooh this is good I’m not thinking! Look at me, being a boss in savasana, like a not thinking boss..” and then I realize that there’s this subconscious little stream of thought going on the whole time about random crap. WTF brain?! Can’t you see I’m savasing?? Sheesh. You’d think my own train of thought could give me a break for all of five minutes.

2. Stupidly obsessed with Mad Men. Why won’t they tell me when it’s coming back?! For that matter, why isn’t it on NOW?

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3. I just made cookies. But only two. And all for me. Because I went to Whole Foods in search of a gf/vegan cookie…and. they. FAILED. So I made my own, which were infinitely better and cheaper, as per usual. I think I just made my own day. Besides, I have to power up before bodysculpting class. Duhh. Cookies are clearly an optimal way to do this.

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4. I might look like a fool doing the gangnam style dance, but sorry I’m not sorry don’t care! Ridiculously catchy. I’m sure I look especially precious trying to do it in my car at a stoplight…

5. Saturday morning, I will be consuming an egg and english muffin sandwich for breakfast and I. CAN’T. WAIT. The end of the ridiculousness is in sight! Thank god, I don’t think I could take too much more of this, especially since I’m seeing no noticeable differences. Bread and eggs are happening, ideally together, and as soon as possible. That being said, I have developed a newfound appreciation of buckwheat flour.

6. Based on the last few sets of photos I’ve taken, it would appear that I’ve subsisted the last few weeks on cookies. LIES, I promise I’ve eaten some savory stuff… here and there. Oh. And an enormous pile of spaghetti squash.

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7. I am now out of cookies. How did this happen?

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8. I may be out of cookies, but there are BALLS in my fridge! (hehehe). The recipe is here!

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9. My cats are officially adorable.

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That’s all.. for now! Muahahha.

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Oaty Ginger Cookies

Ever so slightly adapted from Imma Eat That (I freaking love her ideas!). I got 12 cookies. These are excellent with ice cream and peanut butter, juuuust sayin.

  • 1 c + 1 tbsp gluten free oats
  • 1/3 c raw pecans
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 c pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp flaxseed+2 tbsp milk bev
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chippies

Preheat oven to 350. Make flaxegg by combining flaxseed and milk bev, and let sit while you throw everything else together.

In a food processor, whizzzzz oats, pecans, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking powder, and salt, pulsing until combined into a flourlike consistency. Combine pumpkin puree, molasses, and flaxegg in a smallish bowl. Add wet into dry, stirring to combine. Stir in chippies. Form cookie-like shapes and drop onto a cookies sheet (flattening slightly). Bake for 15ish minutes, then cool on a rack!

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Turkalurk and friendy musings

Turkalurk time. Obviously I have to do a Thanksgiving post, with Thanksgiving being… you know… FOOD related. But guess what?! Something waaay more exciting than Thanksgiving happened on Thanksgiving: I got to see one of my best friends, who I haven’t seen in fifteen years! Yep, you read that right: fifteen.

We’re adorable. I know, you’re just jealous.

We were best friends in second grade (for 9 months) and then she moved back to Korea. But we’re awesome, and we stayed friends. And then she nicely said she’d come visit me over here on the west coast when she was studying abroad. Wheeeeee friendy time! That meant I got to be all touristy and show her around the city. AND we got to hang out with our second grade teacher, who is beyond fabulous and one of the most wonderful people I know.

So we had mega fun and I was busy busy working the Black Friday madness of shopping. WHY people shop that day is beyond me, don’t you want to just stay home and digest your turkey? Whatever.

Anyway. So here are your pumpkin biscuits, courtesy of my Thanksgiving linner (lunch-dinner, get it?). They’re vegan, ish. Because I’m currently off eggs due to some egg/gluten allergy testing, which is LAME: you’ll likely be seeing some allergy-friendly posts coming your way.

Side note. Why is it that both my cats reach up to paw my face when I’m blogging?? Tonight it’s Jessie: is she taking lessons from Nosh?!  I’m assuming this means they’re miffed I don’t feature them in every post… or that they’ve been learning from Simon’s cat…

Enough of my tangents! Here is the recipe :)

Pumpkin Biscuits

Recipe ever so slightly adapted from Crepes of Wrath! My yield was 14 biscuits, but they were rather flatish… if you want fluffier ones, I suggest not rolling the dough out as thin as I did. I chilled mine for a bit before baking due to lack of oven space (that freaking turkalurk always takes FOREVER), so that may have affected their rise a bit.

These are fabulous with a bit of goat cheese and cranberry sauce. They’re lightly sweet but pair well with either savory or sweet—I ate some with dinner and then  made a dessert napoleon for later with ice cream and whipped cream + cinnamon. Food repurposing for the win!

  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour, plus a bit for rolling
  • 1.5 tbsp sugar
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, chopped into smallish pieces*
  • 1 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 c light coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tsp honey

*vegan with Earth Balance or other vegan butter

Preheat the oven to 400, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking power, cinnamon, and salt. Cut in the butter using your implement of choice (I like a pastry cutter, but two forks work just as well) until the mixture resembles coarse sand. In a larger bowl, mix together pumpkin, coconut milk. molasses, and honey. Add liquid to butter/flour mixture, and stir until just combined. Sprinkle a bit of flour over your work surface and roll out the dough to about an inch thickness, using a biscuit cutter (or a cookie cutter, if you’re jank like me) to make biscuity-type shapes. Transfer to baking sheet, and continue with the scraps until you have no leftover dough.

Bake for 12-15 minutes (mine were done at 13), until golden. Let cool for a few minutes on the baking sheet, then serve warm!

Fickle tastebuds and a bit of gastronomical distraction

Woah. I just ate the best pear. Ever.

mmmm, PEAR!

Like, so freaking good I got distracted from what I actually sat down to write about, and took pictures of its deliciousness. Occupational hazard, you know. Textbook example of the fickle nature of my tastebuds.

But seriously. Pear = gastronomical delight. Go eat one. Do it now, do it now, do it now….

fork full o’pear

Or maybe do it after you make these cookies— you know, the whole reason I was going to write this post, NOT the pear. That way, while the cookies are baking, you can eat your pear. Because pears and pumpkin are basically fall in a bite. Annnnd, they go really well together. Like pumpkin butter on an almond butter-pear sammie. Delicious. Especially when you use your Star Wars sandwich cutters. What? No, of course I don’t own those… um. Moving ON!

As we know, I am the Queen of Orange! Soooo, that means when pumpkin season rolls around, I start hoarding. Because you never know when some crazy might buy ALL of the pumpkin in the store, and heaven forbid THAT might happen, I would be devastated. To prevent this (imagined) eventuality, I buy about two cans of pumpkin per shopping trip. Just in case, you know. Besides, considering I used two cans in the last two days, my stockpile lasts a laughably short time. Ridiculous, I know… but I LOVE pumpkin cookies almost as much as I love pears, aaannnddd pumpkin curry happened last night. I also recently discovered that pumpkin in quesadillas is BOMB. Feel free to be jealous…

Pumpkin cookies are amazing. I’ve lost track of how many different recipes I’ve tried, but I have at least one reigning favorite vegan one at the moment, and then the one I’ll share below. The one below is fabulous chilled—in fact, I prefer them that way, as they get nice and solid, with a bit of chewy from the oats, and they taste almost like pumpkin pie. AND they’re healthy: totally breakfast appropriate. They’re fat free and  (very nearly) cholesterol free, if you’re into that kind of thing, relatively low in sugar, and full of whole grains. Besides all that, on a very kindergartenish level, when I come home, they mean I can have milk and cookies. Which to me, is  a perfect afternoon pick me up.

So. Go make these. And then eat a perfect pear while the cookies are baking. And then eat a cookie. And then smile inside and out :)

Chewy Oaty-Pumpkin Cookies

The recipe is slightly modified from Pardon the Dog Hair, here! I ended up with 18 tablespoon-ish sized cookies (which I naturally squashed all onto one cookie sheet, as I’m lazy).

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 c rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • pinch of cloves
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • scant 1/2 c maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 6 tbsp pumpkin puree (perfect for using up those awkward amounts)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c chocolate chippies

I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with cookie making methods… buttttt, just in case:

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease.

In a bowl (no, really?), whisk together all the dry ingredients: flour, oats, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and cloves. Set aside. In a slightly smaller bowl, vigorously (use those biceps!) whisk applesauce and maple syrup. Add in egg and whisk a few seconds more. Add in pumpkin and vanilla, and whisk to combine. Pour wet into dry and add chocolate chippies, and stir until incorporated. Drop by fatty tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet, and bake for about 11-12 minutes. Easy money! Let cool on a rack before storage—I like to store mine in a tupperware in the fridge. Enjoy the fall deliciousness :)

Ludicrously cookie picky.

Cookiehenge?!

Really?!

I just realized I have never posted a cookie recipe on this blog! This blog, in whose title COOKIES plays an extremely large part. Mind blown.  This is on the scale of severe cookie deprivation. Cookies are… my favorite things.

EVER. But I’m really particular. No, let me rephrase that. Ludicrously picky. Just ask anyone who has ever come with me to buy one in a bakery or somesuch. I’m that kid. The one who points to a cookie waaaay back in the back under about five other cookies and will not walk away until that specific cookie is in my possession. Yep. That kid. And chocolate chip is my ultimate favorite. Except only the ones that are chewy/slightly crunchy on the edges, and chewy/soft in the middle. See? I’m not picky, or anything… To date, the best chocolate chip cookie I’ve eaten is from a bakery at home—I get one every time I fly up to Oregon, and have been known to buy one a day in advance, if I’m flying out too early to get one the day of. Whatever, at least I have my priorities straight!

But the funny part is… I am fundamentally unsatisfied with the chocolate chip cookies that I make. Weird, I know. But I way prefer to get them from a bakery (a good one, mind you…no cookie schlock for me). However. This does SO not apply to other cookies I make… these, for instance. I LOOOOVE pumpkin, as we know. So it goes without saying that I LOOOOVE pumpkin chocolate chip cookies even more. Besides, opening a can of pumpkin but not using it all gives me an excuse to eat my favorite pumpkin-y breakfasts. And having cookies around makes my days sooo much better.

See that top one trying to escape? It found a nice home in my tummy...

These cookies are my favorite kind of pumpkin cookies: cakey and soft. I know there is some debate in the cookie camp over whether a cakey cookie is acceptable, and I would certainly agree that cakey cookies are WORTHLESS when I want a good chocolate chip (refer to above statement regarding acceptable cookies). However. Pumpkin cookies are designed for cakey factor. Pumpkin somehow makes cakey acceptable. I enjoy these based on their cakeyness.

However. If you try to trick me with a cakey chocolate chip cookie, I don’t think we can be friends.

Just kidding! We can be friends. I just won’t eat your cookies… and you’ll owe me an acceptably chewy one ;)

So. Without further ado, here are the cookiesss!

of course I don't play with my food...

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oat Cookies

Adapted from here!

I made half the recipe, as per usual, which gave me 11 good-sized cookies (good sized, as in you don’t feel cheated with one, or guilty with two. Not you should ever feel guilty about eating cookies, I mean really. They’re COOKIES!) I’ll post the halved recipe here.

  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • heaping 1/8 c rolled oats (ish… I didn’t measure, so just use your judgement)
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (Apparently I forgot this in my recipe, but my cookies turned out fab anyway)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 egg
  • very scant 1/2 c sugar (I used brown with a smattering of turbinado)
  • 1/4 c canola oil
  • 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • a judiciously large handful of chocolate chips (it never pays off to stint on choc chippie)

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease (hoooray, coconut oil!) your cookie sheet. These cookies don’t spread, so I was able to get the whole bunch on one cookie sheet. Also why I love half recipes—it’s as close to instant gratification as I can get when making my own cookies!

In a mediumish bowl, whisk dry ingredients together (flour, salt, soda (If you remember it, ha), powder, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg). Toss in oats and stir to combine.

In a largeish bowl, beat egg and sugar with an electric mixer until light colored and foamy. This doesn’t take very long, hooray! Add in oil, pumpkin, and vanilla, with the mixer on a lower speed. Add in flour, attempting to NOT spray it all over your kitchen (NO, I did not do this…this time, anyway. It’s definitely been known to happen). Fold in choc chippies once the flour is all incorporated.

Make cookies!! This is easy. Drop by enormous spoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheet, and pat into a cute roundy shape. Or not, your call. Alternatively, you can be weird and make more normal sized cookies. To which I say, pssshhhhhh. Big cookies are the way to go. I particularly love when they’re palm sized… or the size of my face. Even better. Anyway, mine were decently sized, perfect for snacking :)

Bake until the cookies feel firm to the touch on top, and a tester comes out clean. Mine were done at exactly 16 minutes, and I left them on the cookie sheet for a bit before taking them off. A metal spatula works best for getting them to the cooling rack.

Eat, ideally with a glass of milk, in your sweatpants, while the weather does crazy things outside your window. Silly Salem, this weather makes me want to bake instead of thesis. And eat copious amounts of cookies. Ah well, I shan’t fight the urge ;)