Pumpkin (Spice) Sugar Cookies

What is it about the word “spice” following the word “pumpkin” that automatically makes a recipe sound cliché? Is that just me? Thanks to Starbucks and the seasonal pumpkin spice latte craze, every fall everyone and their recipe developers try to come up with the best pumpkin spice whatever. A quick perusal through Pinterest will offer you recipes for PS cream cheese, PS muddy buddies, PS chex mix, PS French toast, PS “bedtime drink” (curious?). Wasn’t there a time that pumpkin flavored sweets kinda just implied “plus spices”? Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and allspice, in some combination or other? When I think of pumpkin muffins, I don’t exactly picture chunks of squash peeking out of the tops like apples. Whatever we have ultimately decided to name these seasonal orange treats, some are worth further investigation and appreciation.

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I recently tried a riff on this annual phenomenon with my favorite baking vehicle (cookies): soft and chewy with just enough pumpkin flavor to remind you of your mom’s pumpkin pie, without having to dust off the pie dish.

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Pumpkin (Spice) Sugar Cookies
yields around 40 cookies

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin purée
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup bread flour (all-purpose flour will also do)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 cup sugar for rolling cookie dough
Instructions
Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg, vanilla, and pumpkin purée. Gradually add the dry ingredients. Chill the dough in the fridge for 2-4 hours.

Roll the dough into one inch balls and coat evenly with sugar. Bake at 350° for 10-12 minutes, or until the tops start to crack.

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Neat trick: if you don’t have an electric mixer, use a fork to aerate the butter and sugar after you’ve combined them with a spoon.

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Don’t forget your rubber scraper!
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Great with milk

Have you ever had a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks? Please tell me what it’s like!

Thanksgiving: DSLR Edition

Happy Thanksgiving! I ran around today taking pictures of everything edible in the house; which was just the right amount for the family. The turkey was replaced with a duck – from Wegmans, no less! And yes, I did bring it along for the 5 hour ride home from school on ice. There were roasted potatoes, turnips, orange beets, squash and Brussels sprouts, so no shortage of roots and vegetables. For dessert was mince pie, pumpkin pie and blueberry buckle…kinda like coffee cake, but better. I’m not particularly looking forward to going back to dining hall food, so good thing for leftovers!
Blueberry buckle, breakfast
Before oven
After oven

Butternut
Acorn

Mince pie & pumpkin pie

How colorful (don’t worry I went back for seconds)
Dessert #1
Dessert #2

Pre-Thanksgiving Shenanigans

The basics: food hanging around the house the day before Thanksgiving, either being prepped or eaten, mostly shot with my real-life camera
Tea marinade for the duck…yeah man.
Getting artsy with the acorn
Mystery pie; to be revealed tomorrow! Stop by to find out
Pumpkin pie; may or may not have been mildly reprimanded in the making of this image
Duck chillin out, literally
Stove-cooked popcorn to end the day; better than yours
Also, creative s’mores.