Happy Birthday! {Pumpkin Snickerdoodles}

A friend of mine had her birthday recently and she had asked me to make her something exceptionally magnificent to celebrate the occasion. Then she dropped some real subtle hints about the baked goods she loves. I had been contemplating some fall themed snickerdoodles and as it turns out, snickerdoodles are one if her favorite cookies. I knew I had some work cut out for me. I wanted to put a unique spin on a highly traditional cookie.

But before we get into that, have you ever wondered why the heck they are called snickerdoodles? I don’t think that’s a name you just pull out of thin air. “This cookie looks like a…snickerdoodle! Yeah, sounds good.” No, that did not happen. I was becoming extremely curious so I hopped on over to Wikipedia to do some research. I found out that the name comes from the German word Schneckennudeln. I don’t know if you guessed this but the direct translation is “snail noodles”. If you did guess that, congratulations. You deserve a gold star for that one. Or a snail noodle, if that sounds good to you.

Even though Oktoberfest technically ended a couple weeks ago, I still wanted to pay homage to this schnitzel-filled holiday with a batch of snickerdoodles. These cookies have a crystallized sugary crust that crackled when you bit into it. Enveloped in the crispy shell is a soft, dense center resembling an autumn pumpkin cake. The creative array of spices add warm undertones and complexity. While still having full pumpkin flavor, it is far from overpowering. Even someone who claimed not to like pumpkin enjoyed this cookie because it doesn’t smack you in the face with its’ pumpkinness. More like it taps you on the shoulder. Gently. Bottom line: they’re a little addictive, and a lot amazing.

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Ingredients

Cookie
1 1/2 cups flour
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t ginger
1/4 t cardamom
1/4 nutmeg
1/4 allspice
1/2 white sugar
1/2 c br sugar
1/2 c butter softened
1 egg
1/3 c pumpkin purée

Coating
1/3 c sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon

Process

Preheat oven to 350°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and spices in a bowl and set aside. With a stand mixer, beat both sugars, egg, and pumpkin. Add flour mixture on low speed in 3 parts, scraping down the sides occasionally.

Mix sugar and cinnamon together in a shallow dish.
Take rounded tablespoons of dough, roll in sugar mixture and place on the lined sheets, leaving 2 inches between each ball. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes, turning once.

Have a great day!

Easier Than Apple Pie {Apple Butter Cobbler}

Almost every year for my birthday, my family takes a trip out to a local apple orchard, Oak Glen. My birthday falls right near the end of October, which makes it prime apple-picking season. The apples are at their sweetest, crispest, juiciest point. Nothing can compare to the sensation of chomping into a right-off-the-branch Granny Smith. Or the warmth that fills you while sipping a mug of freshly squeezed apple cider.

It’s getting more and more difficult to bring the whole family together nowadays. The “kids” table is getting increasingly smaller as everyone grows up and out. Soon there will just be a dwindling few. But apples will always bring back memories for me. I associate this humble fruit with good times, laughter, and togetherness. And I hope to carry on this tradition long into the future.

If you do decide to experience the wonders of apple picking for yourself this season, you may have a few left over apples. If you are feeling extra ambitious, make them into apple butter and use it for this recipe. If you’re more the cautious type, pick up a jar of natural apple butter on your next grocery trip.

The original idea was to assemble a sturdy apple pie bar but I am glad that it didn’t work out because otherwise, I would not have ever known how splendid a cobbler this would turn out. Hands-down the most delicious Autumn recipe I have made to date and I think it will be defending its title for quite a while. Make this for a crowd and they will be fighting over the seconds. The soft, gooey apple butter is sandwiched between a layer of buttery shortbread crust and a crumbly topping. The sugary, rich caramel is superb and the crust was flaky and tender; reminiscent of a slice of apple pie. By adding the crumbly crust to the top, it took the dessert to a whole new level. Served warm, this is complete autumn bliss. If you add a small scoop of vanilla ice cream before the drizzle of homemade caramel, you might just find yourself too happy for words. Pair a small bowl of this cobbler with a cup of something warm, a blanket, and some good company, and enjoy yourself as the days get ever cooler.

Have a great day!

Apple Butter Cobbler

Ingredients

Caramel

1/2 stick of butter (1/4 cup)-room temperature
1 Tablespoon honey or corn syrup
1 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Apple Filling

1 cup apple butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg

Crust

2 sticks butter – room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour

Caramel

In a stainless steel saucepan over medium-low heat, stir together butter, sugar, and honey/corn syrup until it looks like molten lava. Now add all the milk at once. Raise heat to medium, and boil, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes; be careful not to let it burn. Remove from heat, let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and vanilla, transfer to a glass bowl and set into the freezer until needed.

Apple Filling

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.

Crust

Prepare a 8×11.5 inch pan by lining with foil and spraying with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine butter, sugar, salt, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer until fluffy and creamy. At low speed, add just 2 cups of flour to the butter. Press 3/4 of the flour mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of flour to the remaining dough and work with your fingers to make small crumbles. Set aside.

To assemble, pour the apple butter over the bottom crust. Drizzle about 2/3 of the caramel over and throughout. Sprinkle with the crumb topping. Bake at 375° for 30-35 minutes. Cool in the pan and scoop out individual portions. Make it even more enjoyable with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce, if you would like.

A Slight Failure {Pumpkin Maple Crisp}

I know that every once in a while, during my baking career, I am going to run into some road bumps. But it truly gives you some perspective when you encounter a pretty big mess up. So I am going to be 100% honest with you guys: this recipe was a bit of a disaster. For those that think up their own recipes and try out things they’ve never done before, it can be a big let-down when it doesn’t turn out exactly as you had hoped. But I guess this is one of those “learning experiences”. Now I know that maple syrup does not like the broiler and tends to catch on fire. I’m just messing with you, it didn’t catch on fire. It only burnt to a nicely blackened crisp.

I’ve actually only started two kitchen fires in my entire life. I’ll share one of the accounts with you now (the Reader’s Digest version). I was melting caramels in the microwave and the cooking oil I had put in the bowl lit up. Back then, I didn’t realize that nuking some Pam would ignite a raging grease fire. But on the bright side, nothing and no one was hurt, but our microwave did smell like a campfire for a couple of months.

So with this Pumpkin Crisp, here were my desired results:

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And here are my achieved results:

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Besides the fact that my photography skills are still lacking and that mine wasn’t the most beautiful thing ever, it still tasted wonderful. I was gooey and rich and tasted like pumpkin pie. The maple syrup added a deep amber flavor and the spices enhanced the entire cake with their complexity. And here is my gift to you all: a recipe that will yield flawless results. I hope you all are enjoying your October!

Have a great day!

Pumpkin Maple Crisp

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup flour
1 T cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

Crisp

1/3 cup oats
1/3 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter- melted

Preheat the oven to 350° and set out a 9 in. springform pan.

In a medium bowl, combine all Crisp ingredients and mix well until everything is moistened and crumbly. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture in three parts, mixing well. Pour the batter into the spring-form pan and sprinkle evenly with the crumb topping. Bake at 350° for 40 – 45 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

Serve with a dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.