Archive | November, 2012

Challenge #20: The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

14 Nov

Last year, Cats and Commas participated in this cookie collaboration, and a year later, it’s time for Round 2.

Here’s how the swap works. We both bake three dozen cookies and send a dozen each to three food bloggers across the country by early December. Then, as the month rolls on, we’ll each get three dozen cookies, too.

This year, we’re adding our own twist. We’ll bake four dozen cookies and send the required three dozen to strangers. But we’ll swap the extra dozen with each other so we can sample what we each made.

My cookies last year, Alton Brown’s ginger snaps, did not turn out as great as I’d hoped, but the packaging was my favorite part.

Hannah’s cookies, chocolate-cranberry biscotti, looked great, even though I didn’t get to taste them.

Stay tuned for our holiday surprise cookies. We’ll blog again in mid-December to show you what we baked and what we got.


Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles: Denver

10 Nov
I would like to start by noting that this recipe was so simple I actually am struggling with what all to say about it. I followed some simple directions. I got incredible results. I ate a lot of cookies. Wham, bam, thank you, ma’am.
Like Nora’s, my pumpkin snickerdoodle cookies were cakey – I think I liked them extra for that fact. I like soft cookies, and these were little clouds of pumpkin spice. I swear, I don’t think Crepes of Wrath has ever lead me awry.
I love snickerdoodles, in part because they remind me (for no reason other than nomenclature) of one of my VERY favorite childhood books – The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews (yes, that Julie Andrews). It’s a fantastic book and maybe one day I will sit down and re-read it as an adult.
That said, these were fairly un-snickerdoodley, if you overlook the sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. They didn’t have any cream of tartar in them (one of the hallmark tastes of snickerdoodles, in my book), and as Nora said in her post, they didn’t have that signature crisp of snickerdoodles. So, perhaps “pumpkin snickerdoodle” is a misnomer. I don’t care much at all – these were some of the best cookies I think I’ve produced in quite a long time.
I started sifting dry ingredients…
I actually cut the dry sugar down and amped up the molasses content in these cookies. I know I have expostulated about my love of molasses on this blog before, but I do so love it. It’s the southerner in me, I suppose.
Anyway – I left enough sugar in this recipe to help mix the butter into tiny fat particles, but eliminated enough that I could still add some extra molasses without having them be too sweet.
So – extra molasses into the wet mixture (which I did not photograph because I am lazy and also it was not very appealing). Then, I got the dry and wet mixtures juuuuuust mixed together –And…
What a texture! This dough was like satin.
I rolled it into balls and dipped each ball into the cinnamon sugar mix before flattening them onto a cookie sheet.
I love that my unbaked cookies have the exact same indentation pattern as Nora’s did.
In and out they came. (Easiest. Cookies. Ever.) Unlike with a LOT of seasonal pumpkin baked goods, I didn’t think these were too heavy on the spices (regularly, I find that all I can taste in this sort of thing is nutmeg, which is a nice flavor, but not exactly “pumpkin spice”).
I am already thinking I might need to make another batch of these ASAP. Honestly, I’m hard-pressed to think of another cookie that I liked as much as these. My Orange Chocolate Brownie cookies with M&Ms (linking to Nora’s, since my post for those was weak) from almost exactly a year ago maaaaaybe squeak by this batch, but it’s a close one.

Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles: Portland

8 Nov

Evidently, there is a fine line between gingerbreads and snickerdoodles. Which I crossed. Though my cookies turned out to resemble the former more than the latter, I can’t say I’m unhappy. In fact, these are quite possibly my favorite fall cookies I’ve ever encountered. Half cake, half cookie, they were chewy and rich, with all the pumpkin I could want.

I decided to make these for a Halloween get-together where we supposed to watch scary movies. We ended up watching Peter Jackson’s “The Frighteners.” This is the movie he made right before embarking on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but you’d never know it. I still liked it though. Call it comically campy. Anyway, on to the cookies.

As you might have heard me say before, if it has pumpkin, I’m sold. (See above ingredients.)

First step was to beat the sugar and butter. I am trying to become more patient with letting my butter sit out at room temperature before I am tempted to work with it.

Next the pumpkin and molasses got added to the mix.

Finally, the flour mixture I whisked up earlier (not pictured due to mundane nature of photo) brought it to its cookie consistency.

I liked this recipe especially because it didn’t require time to chill the dough before rolling it, which leaves more time for cinnamon-sugar. Dusting the dough with sugar and cinnamon is probably the best part about making snickerdoodles, which I remember from when Blaine and I have made these before.
Here’s what the baking beauties looked like on the pan. Again, I think I rolled them out too big, and I ultimately didn’t make them flat enough. To my credit, though, they rose a lot as they baked, and they weren’t underdone when I took them out.

Here’s how they turned out. I’m pretty proud of how these look. They’re almost uniform. And notice the indentations on each one.

As I said before, they were more airy and cake-like than I was expecting for snickerdoodles (which are usually more crunchy and buttery), but if it has pumpkin, I’ll eat it.