Pumpkin ginger cookies

pumpkin-ginger-cookies2

It’s safe to say when most people think of ginger cookies, they think of ginger snaps—those crunchy-ass medallions that come in a cardboard box you’ve had in your pantry since birth. Well friends, I am here to change that conviction.

One of my roommates in college used to make the most outrageous molasses ginger cookies, ever. They were soft and chewy with a deep, rich flavor that somehow still felt light enough it was no problem smashing 5 or 6 per sitting. These are not those cookies. They are, however, pretty damn close AND I added pumpkin—#fall.

The pumpkin puree gives the cookie a seasonal makeover without tasting artificial, like so many other pumpkin treats this time of year.

I’m looking at you, Starbucks. 

The sugar coating gives the outside a delicate crunch, and makes them look some kind of fancy, despite how easy the recipe is. When baking for company, the goal is to make the food look like it took hours, while exerting as little effort as possible. A 1.5″ cookie scoop will be your friend when it comes to keeping the cookies uniform (and giving off that perfectionist baker vibe). I also find it makes an ideal sized cookie—a little larger than bite-size, but small enough that you can eat two (or six) without feeling gluttonous. Well if you eat six, no promises.

These babies are basically sugar and butter, rolled in more sugar, and then sprinkled with sugar—so if you’re looking for a way to slim down over the holidays, you should probably look elsewhere. For everyone else, enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar + extra for rolling
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground clove
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whip softened butter and 1 cup sugar together with a whisk (or an electric mixer) until light and fluffy. Add the pumpkin puree and molasses and mix until well-combined. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt together. Gradually add flour mixture to butter mixture and mix until combined. Do not over mix. 

Sprinkle a hefty layer of sugar on a large plate. With a 1.5″ cookie scoop, scoop dough onto sugar and roll into a balls, completely covering the dough with sugar. Place cookies on a greased baking sheet about two inches apart. Don’t press cookies to flatten. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until cracks form on top of the cookies.

Cookies will be very soft, so let them cool for a few minutes on the sheet before placing on cooling rack.

*Recipe makes approximately 30-40 cookies. 

 

 

 

 

Pumpkin spice latte (in a blender)

PSL_1

So I know I’ve said I’m not a fan of the ever popular PSL, but I’m retracting that statement because I figured out how to make a yummy, homemade version that doesn’t make me feel like a 5-year-old after eating his entire stash of Halloween candy. Sayonara, Starbucks.

The best part about this drink, is that you don’t even need an espresso maker to do it! All you need is a blender. And a coffee maker. But just a regular coffee maker. It may not be as rich and sweet as Starbucks’ version (which is why I like it), but it still has all those warm pumpkin spice flavors.

I experimented with a couple different methods, which turned out very similar, but decided this one produced the best consistency. At the bottom of the page, I’ll explain my alternative method in case you’d like to test it out.

Basically, the only difference is mixing the spices into the actual coffee grounds before brewing the coffee, rather than tossing them in the blender at the end. I found with the latter, it made the drink somewhat gritty, whereas the former gave off the flavor of the spices without the unwanted texture. I actually saw pumpkin pie spice extract at the store, which would be even more ideal for this recipe as it’s a liquid, and you could keep adding more if the flavor didn’t stand out enough. Don’t be afraid to experiment a little, find what works best for you!

Enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup strong coffee (espresso)
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk (or milk of your choice)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice (for 4 cups coffee)
  • 1 tsp raw sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Start by brewing the coffee. Espresso is basically just very concentrated coffee, so you can do this using your regular coffee maker by doubling the amount of coffee grounds you normally would use.

Example: I usually use 4-5 tbsp coffee grounds for 4 cups coffee (I like my coffee strong). Instead I used 8 tbsp. 

Add the pumpkin pie spice in with the grounds and stir before brewing. While the coffee is brewing, heat up the milk on the stove or in the microwave until hot, but not boiling.

In a blender mix all ingredients and blend on a high speed until super frothy.

*ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Omit adding pumpkin pie spice in with the grounds before brewing coffee. Instead, add 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice into the blender with all other ingredients before blending.  

**For a richer flavor, you can use whole milk or half and half. And to make it sweeter, add more sugar. Just an FYI in case you misplaced your noggin. 

Pumpkin spice banana bread (gluten free)

pumpkin spice banana bread

We may not get to enjoy the beautiful fall colors and activities here in California, but we still get to enjoy all the delicious flavors that come along with it. And now that I have an AC unit (thank you, Aunt Sylvia!), I’ve been taking full advantage of my stove. Roasted vegetables, hearty soups, and spiced baked goods have been on the menu this season. Nothing makes my tummy smile more than the scent of fall coming straight from the oven.

One of my favorite fall foods is, of course, pumpkin. Growing up, as soon as the leaves started to change there were two dishes on my mind—my dad’s spicy pumpkin soup and my grandma’s best friend’s famous pumpkin pie (so.good.not.kidding.want.now). The earthy, yet sweet flavor of pumpkin makes it a very versatile ingredient, and I’ve been experimenting using it in savory and sweet dishes.

I had a couple bananas on the verge of death this week and I’ve been trying really hard to not waste any produce, so I brainstormed what I could do with them. The obvious came to mind—banana bread—but I had a scented candle lit, so I was inspired to “fall” it up a bit. I had like 5 cans of pumpkin puree in my cupboard (you never know when there’ll be a shortage, I swear there’s one every year), so I thought AHA! pumpkin banana bread, let’s do this.

I found what I thought seemed like a good recipe online and tweaked it up a bit, basically swapping ingredients to fit whatever I had in the cupboard. I used oat flour instead of regular flour (hence gluten free) and brown sugar instead of white. I also used less sugar/honey than the recipe called for because I don’t like overly sweet things. I blame my mom for that, she was always putting half the amount of sugar in our Kool-Aid growing up. Not cool, Rita.

I’m happy to say this fall baking experiment turned out quite well. I did get my hair caught in the mixer while I was making the batter, but that’s neither here nor there. The flavor was great with those warm fall-y pumpkin spice notes and a hint of sweet from the banana. The texture was moist and dense, almost like a pound cake. I baked it about 10 minutes shy of the recipe because I was afraid of it drying out, but I think there was enough moisture from the ingredients, I could’ve gone the full time.

As always, feel free to tweak up the ingredients as you like, this doesn’t HAVE to be gluten free!

Enjoy.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups oat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp pumpkin pie spice

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine banana, pumpkin, eggs, oil, honey, and sugar. Mix on a low speed until blended. In a medium mixing bowl combine remaining dry ingredients and mix well. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture, and mix on low until just combined.

Spray loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray and pour batter into the pan. Bake for 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center.