Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies

It’s definitely fall here in Seattle, and I’m loving the changing colors of the leaves. As promised, here’s one of the fall-inspired recipes I’ve made recently. I took a recipe from Two Peas and their Pod and adjusted it a little based on my tastes and the amounts of ingredients that I had. The result was a cookie wonderfully flavored with pumpkin and spice, and deliciously chewy and soft, thanks to the molasses. I wouldn’t call them gingersnap cookies, since they’re soft through and through, but they do have a nice gingersnap flavor to them.

I did try baking a few of them without chilling, and they turned out much too cakey and fluffy, so unfortunately the chilling is necessary. But these cookies are worth the wait! I had a little more pumpkin left in my can than half a cup, so I increased the amount of pumpkin to 3/4 cup. I think that made the cookies turn out softer and fluffier than the original recipe, and the dough was also pretty sticky, so I omitted the extra step of rolling these cookies in sugar. They turned out sweet enough anyway, and it would have been difficult to do without getting cookie dough stuck to everything. Here’s the recipe I used:

Pumpkin Ginger Spice Cookies

adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod

Makes about 4 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground cinnamon

1 tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup (half a 15oz can) pumpkin puree

1/2 cup molasses

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar, until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well combined.

Chill for 2 hours, or overnight. When you are ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Drop small rounds of dough (about 1-1 1/2 tbsp each) a couple inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the cookies are just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool a few minutes before transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Well I’m officially back in Seattle for my second year of physical therapy school. After an amazing clinical internship in Eugene, OR in August, and a brief few weeks at home in sweet California, I drove straight from summer sun into fall clouds and rain. Fall is a wonderful time of year, with the changing leaves and the arrival of all the seasonal autumn goods at the grocery store. Which leads, of course, to baking adventures! I’ve baked quite a bit over the last week, and there are many fall-inspired recipes to come, but the one I have today is a variation of one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes with a matcha twist.

dscn8363.jpgI recently discovered that I really enjoy matcha tea, so I bought myself some matcha powder. However, it came in a rather large can, so I decided to think of some other uses for it other than making matcha lattes, and matcha-flavored baked goods are relatively popular, so I figured I’d try my hand at it. The results were great! The powder is pretty potent, so a little goes a long way in this recipe. You could also probably omit the chocolate chips for just plain matcha sugar cookies, but perhaps that’s a recipe I’ll try another day. In any case, here’s the recipe I came up with!

Matcha Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen small cookies

Ingredients

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp matcha powder

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Cream together the butter and sugars until a rough paste forms. Beat in the vanilla and egg until light and fluffy. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha powder, and stir until thoroughly combined. Add the chocolate chips and mix until the chips are evenly incorporated into the dough.

Drop scoops of dough, about 1 tbsp each, a couple inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, until just set. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a couple minutes before transferring to racks or plates to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Red White and Blue Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

Happy 4th of July (one day late)! I had a great day off from class yesterday, which was a much needed recovery and chill out day after a weekend of ultimate frisbee. If you’ve ever heard of Potlatch, a big ultimate frisbee tournament held in Redmond, WA every July, then you know how much fun I had over the weekend. Unfortunately I missed the last day of the 3-day tournament for class, but we did have yesterday off, so I took advantage of it by going to a friend’s house for a barbecue, and I brought these patriotic themed cookies as my contribution. I found this recipe from Just a Taste, but I didn’t really have the time to wait for hours for the dough to chill, so I just did a combination of fridge, freezer, and improvisation. I added a little more flour to make the dough a little stiffer so I didn’t have to refrigerate it as long. I also added some almond extract to the dough to give it a little more classic sugar cookie flavor, and shortened the baking time to keep them nice and soft. They turned out wonderfully soft and chewy and although I didn’t get the colors exactly right, they were still pretty! Please note that I used about 20 drops of food coloring to get to the color in these photos, so to get a deep red and blue, you will have to use a LOT of food coloring, or it might be best to resort to the gel or something with a more powerful color. In any case, here’s my recipe!

Patriotic Pinwheel Sugar Cookies

adapted from Just a Taste

Makes about 4 dozen cookies

Ingredients

3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

2 eggs

Blue food coloring (I used 20 drops to get to light blue)

Red food color (I used 20 drops to get to a dark pink)

Directions

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a large bowl or a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in both extracts and eggs and beat until light and fluffy. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.

Separate the dough into three equal parts. The first part will be the white part of the cookies. Mix blue food coloring into the second part until the desired blue consistency is reached. Wash the bowl and mixer (or use a second bowl) and mix red food coloring into the third part until desired red color is reached. Wrap all the dough in plastic and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

After the dough has chilled, remove from the fridge and divide each third into two equal parts. Between two sheets of wax paper, roll each portion of dough into a rectangle of about the same size and shape, about 1/8 inch thick. Chill the dough in the fridge between sheets of wax paper for another 15-30 minutes.

After the second chilling, remove the dough and use the wax paper to put together the layers. I put the blue on the bottom, then white in the middle, and red on top. Use the wax paper to place the layers, peeling off the bottom wax paper first, laying down the dough, then peeling off the top layer of wax paper.

Roll the layered dough into a tight log, then roll out the log until it is the desired diameter of your cookies (mine was about 1 1/2 inches in diameter). Place in the fridge for another 30 minutes (or you can probably skip this step if you have a sharp enough knife and don’t mind the cookies not being entirely round, which is what I did).

Once you are done chilling the dough logs, preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cut the cookie logs into rounds about 1/4 inch thick, and place about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 8 minutes, so the cookies are just baked but not yet browning on the bottom. Remove from the oven and allow to cool a couple minutes before moving them to cooling racks to cool completely. Enjoy!

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Pumpkin Molasses Pumpkin Chip Cookies

Well, I’m 23 years old and just experienced my first snow day. Yes I’m from California, and cannot wait to go back, but my grad school experience up here in Seattle is definitely giving me a taste of what winter would be like if I lived in a place with seasons. I woke up this morning to a few inches of snow blanketing the ground, and everything looked pristine and sparkling white. It was quite beautiful. I walked down the street to a park and saw lots of families sledding and building snowmen and enjoying their day off of school/work. Here’s a little taste of the winter wonderland that is Seattle right now!

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Anyway, onto the cookies! I actually made these last year, when there were sales on pumpkin-related items after Thanksgiving, but haven’t gotten around to posting it till now. I got pumpkin chips for half off at QFC in the clearance section, and was inspired to make cookies! So I looked up some cookie recipes, and found this one at My Baking Addiction, increased the spices and added the chips, and these cookies were born! Sorry for the blurry pictures, I took them in low light and didn’t really look at them before the cookies were demolished, but the cookies were wonderful! The pumpkin and molasses keep this cookies soft and chewy, and the pumpkin chips at little bursts of melty pumpkin spice sweetness. Perfect for a snowy day like today, but alas, I used up the chips long ago. Perhaps I’ll just have to make something else. But in any case, here’s the recipe!

Pumpkin Molasses Pumpkin Chip Cookies

adapted from My Baking Addiction

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cloves

1 tsp ginger

1/2 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap)

2/3 cup pumpkin puree

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup pumpkin spice chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a large bowl, cream together the sugar and butter, then beat in the molasses, pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until well combined.

Use a small cookie scoop, or scoop about 1 tbsp balls of cookie dough onto the baking sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just set. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before removing from the baking sheets. Enjoy!

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Molasses Ginger Cookies and a Swim Workout

Hello! I just saw that my last post was several months ago so… I’m alive! I have also relocated to Seattle, to start physical therapy school at the University of Washington! We had our first three days of school this week, and, as it turns out, grad school is not a joke. These cookies were the result of some Friday night stress baking after getting a little bit overwhelmed by all the work we have for all of our classes already. It seems a little surreal to me that I’m actually starting PT school, after working towards it for so many years, but I’m sure the workload will soon bring me back into reality. One of my favorite things about being in Seattle is the views of Mount Rainier that pop up everywhere! Here’s just one of the views we have from campus (on a clear day).

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Anyway, onto more important things: cookies! It’s officially falltime, the leaves are starting to change color (I’m living in a place that actually has some weather now!), and, the clearest indicator, Trader Joe’s has started to carry pumpkin products! My plan is to do a review of all the TJ’s pumpkin products that I’ve tried, so hopefully that will come soonish.

Last night, I wanted to make some cookies, and I had just bought some molasses, but I realized I had no eggs. Whammy. Well, as it turns out molasses is a pretty great substitute for eggs, and gives the cookies structure and chewiness! I found this recipe from Spice Up The Curry, and doubled it, upping the spices a little bit, as is my habit. The results were an amazingly chewy, spicy cookie with a crackly sugar crusted top. Delicious! Here’s the recipe I used:

Molasses Ginger Cookies

Makes about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar, plus a little more for rolling

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup unsulphured molasses

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp water

Directions:

Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and spices.

Cream together the butter and sugar until a smooth paste forms. Add the molasses, vanilla, and water, and beat until well-combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir together until a thick, slightly crumbly dough forms. Cover and refrigerate for 20-30 min to help the dough hold together.

When ready to start rolling the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚F and pour a little granulated sugar into a shallow dish.

Scoop out about 2 tsp of dough, roll into a ball (you may have to smush it a little with your hands to help it stay together), then flatten and lightly press one side into the sugar. Place the cookie, sugar side up, on a baking sheet. Place them a couple inches apart, as they will spread a bit. Repeat until your baking sheets are full. Bake for 8-9 minutes, until the tops are crackly. Remove and allow to cool before removing and eating. Enjoy!

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Now for the second part of this post, a swim workout! This is mostly for my sister’s benefit and my own use for inspiration for future workouts, but perhaps someone else can find these of use. One thing that’s very sad about moving out of California is the lack of outdoor pools here. Sigh. But it hasn’t stopped me from swimming! Here’s a workout I did earlier this week:

4400 yard Energy System Monday

200 free, non free, pull

6×50 kick/swim, 100 pull

4×50 kick/swim, 200 pull

2×50 kick/swim, 300 pull

2×50 fly/free, 300 pull

4×50 fly/free, 200 pull

6×50 fly/free, 100 pull

4x(150 IM, double odd strokes on odd 150s, double even strokes on even 150s, 3×50 fast free)

200 easy

4400 yds

Napoleon’s Hat Cookies

Happy Tuesday! It’s been a while since my last post, but on a dreary gray day like this I figure some people might need a sweet treat. I love anything and everything almond, so when my mom picked up a couple Napoleon’s Hat cookies from a bakery for us to try, I knew I just had to make them at home. These cookies are buttery, soft, with an almond marzipan filling bursting with almond flavor. Delicious. I adapted this recipe from Scandinavian Today based on the ingredients I had, and they turned out great!

Anyway, my adaptations included using 7oz almond paste instead of the 6oz marzipan called for in the recipe, since it comes in a 7oz tube. I also added a little almond extract to the cookie dough to get a little extra almond flavor, since you can never have enough. The cookies turned out soft and flavorful, and filling was deliciously chewy, and the chocolate added the perfect final touch. Unfortunately, I can’t remember how many cookies they made, but my guess is around 20. Maybe I should count next time. Here’s the recipe!

Napoleon’s Hat Cookies

Adapted from Scandinavian Today

Ingredients

Cookies:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3 1/2 oz (7 tbsp) unsalted butter

2/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp almond extract

1 egg yolk

1 tbsp ice water

Filling:

7 oz almond paste

3 oz granulated sugar

1 egg white

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, or 6oz chopped chocolate

Directions

To make the cookie dough, cut the butter into the flour until soft crumbs form. Add the powdered sugar, almond extract, egg yolk, and ice water. Mix until just combined. Form a disk with the dough, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for half an hour.

To make the filling, cream together the almond paste, sugar, and egg white until a smooth paste forms.

Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Take the chilled dough out of the refrigerator and roll to a 1/4 inch thickness. Use a glass or cookie cutter about 3 inches in diameter and cut circles. Place on a baking sheet. Scoop ball of the filling, 2 tsp each, into the center of each cut circle. Lifting the circle of dough with the filling in the middle, gently pinch together three corners of each cookie, making the triangular hat shape.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until just barely golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in a shallow dish, then dip the bottom of each cookie in chocolate. Place on wax paper to cool and allow the chocolate to harden. Enjoy!

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Sugar Cookies with Simple Icing

Happy New Year everyone! I decided that I should get in at least one blog post in the new year, so here we are. This is my first winter without a winter break, since I’m not a student for the year, which has been a little sad. At least work has been pretty quiet the last couple weeks. But, my sister is still in college, so she’s been home for the last three weeks, and we’ve had lots of fun making and decorating gingerbread cookies and sugar cookies! This is my mom’s favorite recipe for sugar cookies. I have no idea where it came from, since it’s just handwritten on an index card she has filed away, but it’s the recipe we’ve been using for years, and I’m a fan of it.

These cookies are sweet, as sugar cookies should be, and pretty delicious by themselves. However, half the fun is decorating them! Plus adding a little sugar can only improve the flavor, right? Right. We didn’t do any fancy royal icing, so it’s a little more delicate, but once you ice the cookies, if you let them dry for a few hours, you can stack them with wax paper with little damage. The cookies have a light, delicate crumb, and I baked them for a little less time than recommended, to keep them nice and soft, while still sturdy enough to hold icing. With a little time and patience, these can be a fun family (or in my case, sibling) project, and they make great holiday giveaways! Get creative and have fun with your cookies, they’ll still taste great no matter how they look! Also if you really mess up, you can just eat it and no one will be the wiser… Not that we’ve done that or anything. Anyway, here’s our family holiday recipe.

Sugar Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen cookies

1 1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 egg

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cream of tartar

3 cups all-purpose flour

Icing

2 cups powdered sugar

2-3 tbsp milk, or to desired consistency

1 tsp vanilla extract

Few drops food coloring of choice

Directions

To make the cookies, cream together the butter and sugar by hand or with a mixer, until a smooth paste forms. Beat in the egg and vanilla until light and fluffy. Whip in the baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar, then stir in the flour until just combined. The dough will be pretty dry and crumbly, I often have to mash it together with my hands at the end. Divide the dough into two parts, form each into a disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight.

When ready to roll out the cookies, preheat the oven to 350˚ and line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a floured surface (we use cutting boards), roll the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. Use cookie cutters of your choice, or just round glasses will work if you don’t have cookie cutters. Once you’ve finished with the sheet of dough, press the scraps together gently and roll out again, trying to handle the dough as little as possible. Continue to cut cookies and roll out the scraps until you’ve exhausted all the dough. Transfer cut cookies to the prepared baking sheets and bake for 6-7 minutes, until puffy, but before they begin to turn golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely. It is important that the cookies are completely cool before decorating, otherwise they will heat up the icing and make it run everywhere.

While the cookies are cooling, make the frosting. Stir together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla, until the desired consistency is reached. If you want to add food coloring, add a couple drops at a time, until the desired color is reached. Fill a ziploc bag (I use the cup method) and cut a tiny (like 1-2 mm tiny) hole in one corner of the bag (you can always cut it bigger, but it can’t be cut smaller, so start small). Decorate the cookies as you wish. Allow the icing to set for a few hours before stacking and storing them. Enjoy!

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