Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Snickerdoodle Cookie “Frosting”

How disorienting is it to walk into a different supermarket than your usual one? You’re meandering through the aisles, not quite sure if the tomato sauce aisle comes before or after the crackers. The order in which you wrote your list probably doesn’t correspond with the new store’s layout, adding to all the zigzagging you’re doing. And what about those items that just don’t seem to be anywhere? Like honey, for example. When I lived on the East Coast, I knew my former supermarket like the back of my hand. Honey was next to the PB&J. But in this new store? Nope. Also not in the baking aisle. Or by the tea. After an embarrassing length of time, I discovered it nestled up by the ketchup and soy sauce. What under normal circumstances should be a quick errand just morphed into one of those scavenger hunts you’re forced to do in those team building exercises. “Find a South Carolina state quarter”. “Yeah, okay”. I mean, is it just me?

The truth is, I still don’t know my way around my new supermarket, and it’s been many months. Maybe it’s some sort of mental block, I don’t know. More often than not though I find myself gravitating toward the baking aisle, because while I have no clue where the seasoned breadcrumbs may be (seriously, never found them), I know precisely the bottom shelf where the pumpkin puree lives. Obviously this means pumpkin cookies are happening instead of toasted ravioli. 🙂

Snickerdoodle Frosting

The pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are based on this recipe from Chocolate Moosey, which I halved and made several modifications. The snickerdoodle dough recipe (which was quartered) is from my mom’s completely dilapidated copy of the Betty Crocker “Cooky Primer” cookbook that’s at least a few decades old. Always interested in baking, I went through the book when I was little and wrote “yes” or “no” on each and every picture of a cookie, dependent on whether or not I thought it looked good. Not surprisingly, most cookies are a “yes”.

CookbookYeah, periodically I went back and reevaluated.

I love these cookies for several reasons, mainly because the doughs complement each other so well (cinnamon and pumpkin, hello?). The soft and pillowy texture of the pumpkin cookies juxtaposes nicely with the crisp, smooth feel of the snickerdoodle, so you really feel like you’re biting into a cookie with a hardened icing layer on top. Plus, with several flavors already going on, the mini chips add just the right amount of chocolate without overwhelming the rest.

To hit the highlights for this recipe: I spent too much time wandering the grocery aisles, wanted to make frosted pumpkin chocolate cookies for a gathering I was going to, but realized I wouldn’t have enough time for the frosting to harden before I had to leave. What if I “frosted” a cookie…with another cookie? Same look, right? Right.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Snickerdoodle “Frosting”

Yields approx. 15 cookies (dependent on size)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (modified from this recipe from Chocolate Moosey)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup yogurt (I used vanilla Greek)
2 tbsp egg whites (or equivalent to 1/2 an egg)
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup flour (I used 1/2 cup all-purpose and 1/2 cup white whole-wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Snickerdoodle “Frosting” (modified from Betty Crocker “Cooky Primer” cookbook)
1/4 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp egg whites
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar (or more)
1 tsp cinnamon (or more)

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. First mix up snickerdoodle dough so it can chill while you prepare the pumpkin dough. Mix together butter, sugar, and egg whites in small bowl. Mix together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into wet until well-combined. Place dough in refrigerator until you’re ready to use.
2. Next, for the pumpkin dough, mix together pumpkin, brown sugar, yogurt, egg whites and vanilla extract in medium bowl. Then in larger bowl mix together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and cloves. Mix wet ingredients into dry until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
3. Take out the snickerdoodle dough from fridge. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar. Roll dough into one BIG cookie and roll in cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Big Cookie

Roll out dough on lightly-floured board until approx. 1/4″ thick. Take a pause on the snickerdoodle dough for a sec and grease cookie sheet(s). Drop rounded tablespoonfuls of the pumpkin dough 1 1/2″ – 2″ apart.
4. Back to the snickerdoodle dough: cut round shapes that are similar in size as the pumpkin cookies that are now on the cookie sheets (I used the lid of something to cut circular shapes). Atop each pumpkin cookie, place a snickerdoodle round and lightly and evenly press to adhere.
5. Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned and top is pretty solid. Cool on wire rack…and you’re done!

Hello Weekend

It’s Friday again, folks. Just about time to give my phone a break from the morning alarm and my toes a break from heels. Time to eat breakfast sitting at the kitchen table like a normal human and maybe, just maybe have the time to leisurely sip coffee while browsing Pinterest. Now that’s luxurious. One weekday habit that carries over though is my nagging need to make a to-do list. Broken out by Saturday things and Sunday things. Even if the only entries are “wear slippers” and “rent a Redbox”. With Thanksgiving right around the corner, this weekend’s list seems to be growing by the minute…

NecklaceIsn’t this always the case with cheapy jewelry? Time to dig out those pliers.

Perfect Night candleTrue Life: I Went to Target for Two Things, I Walked Out with Fourteen (this candle being one of them). Relaxation in a jar. Tried to buy another the next time I went and I must have been stricken with a case of candle-name-and-candle-label amnesia or something. Took a big whiff of Crackling Woods, thinking it was the one above. Let me tell you, Crackling Woods is no Perfect Night. Tree bark in a jar.

Wine cork
while I…

Around here, the only way to knit is while wearing a Snuggie. And the pressure’s on, because I’m also going to…

Suitcase

…for our first trip back to the East Coast this week to celebrate Thanksgiving. And I will be super salty if I can’t finish a knit headband in time to wear it where, you know, it’s actually chilly. Veeery excited for a much-needed break from work, a chance to layer on cozy clothes without giving myself heatstroke, and a large cup of toasted almond Dunkin Donuts coffee, little bit of milk, no sugar. Oh how I’ve missed you.

I may also

CookiePumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies with Snickerdoodle “Frosting” (promise to share what that “frosting” actually is soon)

Happy weekend!

The Waffle Chronicles: Pretzel Waffles (with Ice Cream)

In my house, breakfast requires discussion. If left up to B, we would be eating baconeggsbaconeggsbaconeggs every Saturday and Sunday morning, with the occasional breakfast potato side dish thrown in there for an element of surprise. I’m more of an equal opportunist, almost conducting a morning interview to make sure everyone starts off the day pleased.

“How do you feel about pancakes? What about pancakes with fruit, or chocolate? Mini or regular-sized chips? Oh, you’d rather have waffles? What about waffles with fruit, or…” etc. You can guess how the rest of the conversation goes. After I cycle through the usual suspects (pancakes, waffles, french toast, muffin, bagel), we nearly always agree on waffles. In our house, waffles > pancakes > french toast. I can use the same batter as a batch of pancakes, but there’s something special about the crispness of waffle edges and those…pockets (?) for syrup to pool (I just googled “What are the squares in a waffle called”…nada. Pockets it is.)IMG_0805

Behold, my trusty waffle iron. My breakfast BFF since I unwrapped it one Christmas morning in college.

Now that I’ve talked it up some, I have a confession to make. As dependably delicious as they are, I was getting a little tired of waffles. Rather than dare utter those words around here, I thought I should step outside my waffle comfort zone and push the limits a little bit. Hence, the dessert waffle.

This recipe isn’t for the faint of heart. There was a moment while soaking the waffles in the boiling lye solution that I thought I had made a really. big. mistake. Have you ever seen a soggy, water-logged waffle? Well you will, in the recipe instructions below. Spoiler: it’s pathetic-looking and looks awfully unappetizing.

But fear not! After forty minutes of baking (and finger-crossing), my previously-mushed specimens became crisp squares, complete with the signature soft pretzel look and taste. All the better to serve with ice cream, my dears.

Pretzel Waffle

Pretzel Waffles with Ice Cream
Basic waffle batter recipe slightly modified from this recipe from Allrecipes

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1 1/2 tbsp oil
3/4 tsp vanilla
boiling water
1/4 cup baking soda
kosher salt
ice cream (and the fixins’!)

1. Plug in your waffle iron and set crispness to just done (not as crispy as you would if eating as-is).
2. In a medium-size bowl, mix together flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.
3. In another bowl, mix together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined and there are no lumps.
5. Pour batter onto waffle iron and cook until timer rings for a bit less than medium.
6. Preheat oven to 375°F.
7. While waffles are cooking, fill a medium-sized pot halfway with water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, very very slowly add baking powder a tiny amount at a time. Be careful, as water will bubble up with each addition:

Bubbling Water
8. Once all baking soda is added, drop one waffle at a time into boiling water and hold under the surface with a slotted spoon. I kept each waffle under for about 20-25 seconds, then flipped for another 20-25 seconds. Remove waffle and let drain a bit on a wire rack over some paper towels.

Soggy waffle
9. Once all waffles are done dipping, sprinkle each with kosher salt. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until browned.
10. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Serve each with a scoop of ice cream and your favorite toppings.

Yields about 4-5 waffles

Pretzel Waffle whole

More non-traditional waffle recipes on the way!

Grilled Pizza

You know when you love something and think it couldn’t possibly get any better? But then it does? That’s been happening a lot around here lately. Not that I’m complaining. That bold yet silky smooth cup of coffee got kicked up a notch with frothed milk and a healthy shake of cinnamon. Hard apple cider turned into a slightly spicy drink perfect for fall with a drizzle of cinnamon whiskey. And now, pizza.

Grilled Pizza

I’ll always crave my mom’s traditional pizza (made in the oven). But thrown on the grill, that same crust produces an entirely different effect altogether. Those crispy, nearly-charred-but-not-quite spots are TO. DIE. FOR. Same recipe, just prepared a new way. They say variety is the spice of life, don’t they?

And I know, I know, November isn’t quite prime-time grilling season. Totally not throwing it in anyone’s faces that Southern California weather grants us the luxury of year-round grilling – we’ve been known to don our winter coats and face the cold for the sake of a grilled burger when we lived on the East Coast.

One last thing – the first time I made this, I had it in my head that it would be a snap placing the dough on the grill and retaining a perfectly circular crust. If your experience is anything like mine, that probably won’t happen. The dough stretches as you lift it up, the grill is hot and you can’t really adjust it once it’s down, etc. If this happens, just add the word “rustic” to the name – your pizzas just went from being strange looking to sounding gourmet and intentionally imperfect.

Grilled Pizza

Crust
10 oz warm water
1 pkg yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
3 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar
Olive oil, for brushing

Toppings
Sauce
Cheese
Basil, meat, veggies, hot pepper flakes, etc.

1. If using a bread machineCombine flour and salt. In bowl of bread machine, add water, olive oil, flour/salt mixture, sugar, and yeast. Select setting for dough (uncooked).

If not using a bread machine Mix together water and yeast. Whisk together, and let sit for five minutes until frothy. Meanwhile, in a large bowl dusted with flour, pour flour and make a well in the center. In well, add water/yeast mixture, olive oil, salt, and sugar. Mix well and knead until dough is pliable (about five minutes). Place dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours in a warm place.

2. Grease a pan with olive oil or cooking spray. Place dough in pan and knead out to edges to make a flat crust. Cover with plastic wrap again and let rise for about 1 hour.

*Important announcement – If it’s actual fall-bordering-on-winter where you live (and not this la-la-land perpetual summer) and you’re contemplating never reading my blog again because I had the audacity to suggest you stand outside and grill in the cold, dark night, fear not. If you already have the dough kneaded out in a greased pan, post-rise, you can also just add your sauce and toppings at that point and bake in the oven at 400ºF for 20 minutes, or until cheese is melted and edges are golden. Phew.

3. Preheat grill to medium heat (approx. 350ºF). You know your grill best – what you don’t want to happen here is to cook over too high heat and not have the crust cook evenly all the way through, so adjust heat accordingly.  Separate out dough into four pieces (for individual dinner portions), or really as many as you’d like (I’m already envisioning appetizer pizzas for summer dinner parties…) Knead each section into flat crust (the thinner the better).

4. Brush one side of each crust with olive oil, and place oiled-side down over direct heat on grill. Let bottom side cook, checking the bottom occasionally for your desired crispness. While the first side is cooking, brush olive oil on side facing up. Once bottom is to your desired doneness, flip to the other side.

Grilled pizza crust

5. As soon as you flip it, spread pizza sauce onto side facing up. Add whatever toppings you’d like. Cook until cheese is melted (if using) and bottom side is cooked.

Yields 4 dinner-sized portions