Thursday, October 27, 2011

Disappearing Act: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm too late.

I waited too long.

There's nothing left to show but this.

That's what happens when you leave a plate of delicious cookies on the counter unconcealed.

With the scarcity of pumpkin, it's difficult enough finding some to put into my baked goods. Even then, they are nearly gone before I can remove them from the baking sheet.

But this time I added a little chocolate to the mix. They didn't stand a chance. I couldn't even snap a photo before they were entirely consumed.

Forgive me. They were just that good.

But don't take my word for it.....

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. ground nutmeg
1/2 t. ground ginger
1/2 c. salted butter, softened
(or add 1/2 t. salt if using unsalted butter)
1 c. sugar
(divide 1/2 c. granulated & 1/2 c. brown if you like more of a molasses taste to your cookies)
1 1/4 c. pumpkin (canned or fresh)
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
1 c. bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cream butter and sugar together. Beat egg in a small bowl; then, add the pumpkin and vanilla. Stir pumpkin mixture into the butter and sugar.
In separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually add dry ingredients to the wet.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Place in heaping tablespoonfuls onto a baking sheet.
Bake 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned on the bottom.

These cookies are soft and moist, not for those who like a crunch to their cookies. And I imagine these would taste even better a few days later, as most spicy cookies do once the spices have time to bloom. I was out of cloves this time around, but I would like to try these with an additional 1/2 t. ground cloves. Can never get enough spiceyness. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Campfire Perfection

I can be rather anal about toasting my marshmallows. I approach the flames of a campfire with a game plan. I want my marshmallow as smooth as cream. When I bite through the perfectly browned skin, I want it to ooze out the filling. There should be little chewing involved.

But this takes time. And this takes patience. A direct flame will either set the morsel ablaze or char the exterior too quickly. Find a spot where the embers are the color of a brilliant sunset and hold the marshmallow just inches away. Hold tight for about four to five minutes as the inside s.l.o.w.l.y. softens.

Although possibly the simplest of marshmallow recipes, the s'more also has a method to its gooey madness. I was recently taught a trick that defies that of the greatest magicians, one that will result in completely melted chocolate and a toasted graham cracker for your delectable consumption.

After forming your s'more with your roasted marshmallow, wrap it up in tinfoil the way you prepare your pizza leftovers for the fridge -- nothing peeking! Find a good spot to tuck it into the coals, letting it rest there 5 minutes or so. Shaaazing, shaaazam!...poof!...pry open to reveal the contents that will definitely have you hankering for SOME MORE!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Appley Thoughts

I spotted the trio of dangling orbs from a distance and dove under the low-lying outer branches to find a more reachable spot at the heart of the tree. Straining, I managed to tug off two while the third dropped with a plop to the earth. The smallest of the pair found its way into his hand. He hastily nibbled through the tough layer of skin encircling the fruit, managing to swallow half of it in that one, small bite. He offered the second of which I indulged.

The initial taste of autumn elicited traces of memories past – the bubbling juices erupting through the vents of a pie, sizzling as they strike the hot surface of a warm oven; the warm spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice awakening your nostrils while commingling with the puree soon to be canned; the bitterness of the onion perfectly paired with its sweetness, lying atop Sunday dinner’s main course; the core of a daring challenge.

Autumn intiation.