Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cinnamon Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

Oh these are amazing. I had some leftover pumpkin from the cake I made for Thanksgiving and I'm so glad I decided to use it on these. I found the original recipe on Nestle's Very Best Baking website, halved it, and added cinnamon cream cheese frosting. These cookies are so soft. They really are good enough on their own, but the frosting takes them over the top. There's a place in Columbus called Cheryl & Co., and they make a cookie similar to this, which is where I got the idea. I have quite a few other cookies I'd like to mimic from there, so this will be the first of many Cheryl & Co. copycat recipes.

The original pumpkin cookie recipe is here.

Cinnamon Frosted Pumpkin Cookies

1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt (I actually think I used the whole amount this time)
3/4 c granulated sugar
1/4 c butter, softened
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tsp? maple syrup

1. Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets. (I lined mine with parchment paper and greased that)

2. Combine flour, baking soda, baking power, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. (At this point, I proceeded to grab maple syrup and start pouring it in to taste. I probably added about 1-2 tsp? I'm really not sure. It was a great idea though) Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.

3. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 T butter (I used salted, it doesn’t matter)
1 ½ c powdered sugar
½ t cinnamon

1. Blend cream cheese and butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer on a low speed until combined, about 30 seconds.
2. Add sugar a little at a time on low speed, beating until well incorporated, about 1 minute.
3. Add the cinnamon and increase the speed to medium, blending until fluffy, about 1 minute.

Super Gooey Chocolate Raspberry Drops

So while walking through Giant Eagle I found Hershey's Raspberry filled chocolate pieces on sale and just had to buy a bag. I had a fudgy chocolate cookie recipe I had been meaning to try and decided to put them in it. The result was delicious. These cookies are very yummy and moist. If I made this recipe again, I think I would add a little raspberry puree or jam to the dough to try to kick up the raspberry flavor. I'm going to freeze the leftover cookies and make a raspberry frosting to go with them later. I only wanted to make a few so I quartered the recipe, but I must make my cookies small because I should have had 6 but I made 12. The original recipe was for "Super Gooey Chocolate Drops" but since I added the raspberry I tweaked the name a little. The original recipe uses semisweet chocolate chips and dried cherries and can be found here.

Super Gooey Chocolate Raspberry Drops

2 T unsalted butter (I used salted, it made no difference)
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 ounce semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup + 2 T granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon buttermilk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 T natural cocoa powder, such as Hershey's or Scharffen Berger
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a tiny pinch of salt
about 1/2 bag of Hershey's raspberry filled chocolate baking pieces

1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Put the butter and the unsweetened and semisweet chocolates in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Heat at 75 percent power in the microwave until soft, about 2 minutes. Stir and heat again until melted, up to 2 minutes more. (Alternatively, put the chocolates and butter in a heatproof bowl. Bring a saucepan filled with an inch or so of water to a very slow simmer; set the bowl over, but not touching the water, and stir occasionally until melted and smooth.) (When I did this, it only took 2 minutes total)

3. Stir the light brown and granulated sugars and vanilla into the chocolate mixture with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and buttermilk and beat vigorously until thick and glossy.

4. In another bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt together. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir until just mixed. Stir in raspberry filled chocolate baking pieces.

5. Drop the batter in heaping tablespoons onto baking sheets. Space the cookies about 2-inches apart. Bake until the cookies set but are soft and fudgy on the inside, 12 to 15 minutes.

6. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. Serve.

Store cookies in a tightly sealed container at room temperature for up to a week.

When I come up with my raspberry frosting recipe, I'll update this and let you know how it came out.

update 11-30-07*
So I during a 3 hour marathon baking spree with my roommate, I finally decided to try an icing recipe for these cookies.
The icing came out pretty good, although I think it would be better on a cake than a cookie. To be honest, I almost want to say they'd be better without the icing. It's not that the icing takes away from the flavor, but the cookies are so incredible by themselves they really don't need the help. However, the icing did have a purple hue and looked quite pretty on the cookies.

The original recipe is from Family Fun and can be found here. There's other variations along with the raspberry one. The recipe posted below has been quartered to cater to the small amount of cookies I made.

Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

1/4 c butter, softened
3/4 c + 2 T powdered sugar (It said to sift it, I didn't. To be honest, I kind of eyeballed this one)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 T milk
1 T raspberry preserves (I used Smuckers Simply Fruit in black raspberry which accounts for the purple hue)

Beat cream until fluffy with an electric mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Makes 1 cup.

Best Banana Bread Ever

I baked this recipe for my boyfriend's parents once and his mom asked me for the recipe immediately after she tasted it. Both my boyfriend Tyler and her agreed that my bread was even better than Grandma's! The best part of all is that it's even a healthier version of banana bread. It sure tastes just as indulgent as the unhealthy kind. The whole bread, including the crust, is so moist and sweet that it's hard to have just one piece. With the nutritionals being as fabulous as they are, you won't have to feel guilty for having a second. This bread really doesn't need anything on top of it, but if you're feeling extra indulgent, Tyler and I have found that leftover cinnamon cream cheese frosting tastes incredible on it.

The original recipe is from Betty Crocker and can be found

Best Banana Bread Ever

1 1/4 c sugar
1/4 c unsweetened applesauce
1/4 c trans fat free margarine, softened
1/2 c egg beaters (I sub 4 egg whites when I don't have any around)
1 1/2 c mashed very ripe bananas (3-4 medium)
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt (I have a habit of greatly reducing/leaving salt out...I really don't think leaving it out of this recipe hurts it any...but you definitely don't need a whole tsp)
1 c chopped nuts, if desired (Sometimes I include these and sometimes I don't. I don't include them when my college budget doesn't allow it and the bread still tastes great. However I like to include them when I can.)

1. Move oven rack to the low position so the tops of the pans will be in the center of the oven. Heat oven to 350. Grease the bottoms only of 2 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2 ", or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3".
2. Mix sugar, applesauce, and margarine in a large bowl. Stir in egg product until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until just moistened. Stir in nuts & pour into pan(s).
3. Bake 8" loaves for 1 hr and 9" loaf for 1 1/4 hr, or until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides, remove loaf, and place on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. (You can try this if you want...I can't say I've ever been able to wait that long. I'm proud if I get through 10 minutes. Isn't the whole appeal to have fresh baked bread and not 2 hours old bread?) Wrap tightly and store at room temp up to 4 days or in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Nutrition Facts:
1 Serving: Calories 60 (Calories from Fat 10 ); Total Fat 1 g (Saturated Fat 1 g); Cholesterol 5 mg; Sodium 65 mg; Total Carbohydrate 12 g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 1 g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 0%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 0%; Iron 2 % Exchanges: 1 Starch