Review: Pumpkin and Peanut Butter Cookies

Cookies like muffin tops

Cookies like muffin tops

The recipe makes exactly 12 cookies. These cookies do take 30 minutes to bake and have a damp, heavy texture similar to muffin tops. One critique I have is that the ingredients are not listed in the order they are used. I ended up mixing the canned pumpkin in with the dry ingredients. This did not harm the cookies at all.

I would make these again: they are gluten free, vegan when made with maple syrup, and quite tasty.

Cooks in the US, note that 180C is about 350F for your oven temperature.

Recipe is from the blog The Big Man’s World.

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Cashew Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cook’s notes: The recipe is from the blog The View from Great Island. These are very rich and satisfying cookies. I used a 1 Tablespoon scoop to make 26 cookies. I very much liked that her recipe used 1/2 cup sugar, instead of 1 cup, like so many other nut butter cookie recipes.

A few days later, I made a small batch vegan version with flax meal. This vegan recipe makes 13 cookies when you use the Tablespoon scoop. Due to the flax, they come out crispier than the egg version. Also delicious!

1/2 Tablespoon [1.5 teaspoons] ground flax meal
1.5 Tablespoons water
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cashew butter
1/2 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (Enjoy Life mini chips)

  1. Heat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with a Silpat liner
  2. Combine the ground flax meal with 1.5 Tablespoons water. Let chill in the fridge to thicken for a few minutes.
  3. Combine the flax mixture, sugar, baking soda, and cashew butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat together
  4. Lightly beat in chocolate chips.
  5. Use a Tablespoon cookie scoop to dish out 13 balls of dough onto the baking sheet. The dough is kind of crumbly, so just pack it into the scoop.
  6. Flatten the balls of dough just slightly with your fingers.
  7. Bake for about 12-13 minutes.

Easy Biscuits: Sweet or Savory

Cook’s notes: This is a wonderful recipe that makes just 6 to 8 biscuits. I have found it’s easier to weigh the butter than to measure out 2.5 Tablespoons. You can make them either sweet (for Sunday breakfast) or savory (for weeknights with soup). Any time is a good time for biscuits!

Left: Cinnamon-Sugar biscuits. Right: Rosemary-Cheese biscuits.

Left: Cinnamon-Sugar biscuits. Right: Rosemary-Cheese biscuits.

Rosemary-Cheese Biscuits

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus extra for dusting
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2.5 Tablespoons butter (36 g)
3 oz. milk, any type (unsweetened almond milk or 2% cow milk)
1/2 cup shredded cheese
1/2 teaspoon rosemary powder

Heat oven to 350F. Put flour, baking powder, salt, and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low until butter is worked in and mixture has course crumbles. Add milk and stir until a sticky dough is formed. Stir in cheese and herbs. Add additional flour if needed (about 1 Tablespoon).

Lightly flour a cutting board with additional flour. Flour your hands, and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Pat the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Cut into 6 wedges or squares.

Place onto an ungreased baking sheet, about an inch apart, and bake 10 minutes.

 

Cinnamon Sugar Biscuits

3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour, plus extra for dusting
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2.5 Tablespoons butter (36 g)
3 oz. milk, any type (unsweetened almond milk or 2% cow milk)

2 Tablespoons butter
Cinnamon-sugar mix: Combine 1/4 cup sugar and 1 Tablespoon cinnamon powder

Heat oven to 350F. Put flour, baking powder, salt, and butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on low until butter is worked in and mixture has course crumbles. Add milk and stir until a sticky dough is formed. Add additional flour if needed (about 1 Tablespoon).

Lightly flour a cutting board with additional flour. Flour your hands, and gather the dough into a smooth ball. Pat the dough out to about 1/2-inch thickness and shape into a rectangle. Cut into 8 squares.

Place the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat on High for in 10-second intervals until melted. Dip each biscuit in the melted butter until completely covered, and then drop it into cinnamon sugar. Turn the biscuit, covering all sides. You will have leftover sugar mixture.

Place onto an ungreased baking sheet, about an inch apart, and bake 10 minutes.

Adapted from the blog fromscratchtofingerlickinggood (cut recipe in half; modified to use stand mixer)

Small Batch Chocolate Chip Cookies

Almost instant gratification vegan cookiesThese vegan cookies are on the crisp side and have a touch of maple syrup. I love that the recipe by Dreena Burton makes 10 big cookies — almost instant gratification for baking and very convenient. Cookies are still treats, even if they are vegan, but they have a more favorable nutritional profile than traditional chocolate chip cookies made with butter, eggs, and lots of sugar. These are just delicious.

Makes 10 large cookies. 1 tray. Homemade cookies in less than 30 minutes.

1 cup white whole-wheat flour (King Arthur)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon baking soda
1⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄4 tsp kosher salt
1⁄3 cup pure maple syrup
1.5 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1⁄4 cup (generous measure) olive oil
1⁄3 cup (60 g) non-dairy chocolate chips (Enjoy Life brand)

Heat oven to 350°F (176°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir until well combined.Beat in the maple syrup, vanilla, and oil until well combined. Lightly beat in the chocolate chips until just well combined (do not over mix). If the mixture is a little dry, add a bit of water.

Use a #30 scoop (about 2 oz) to place golf-ball sized domes of the dough onto prepared baking sheet and flatten a little.

Bake for 11 minutes, until just golden (if you bake for much longer, they will dry out). Let cool on the sheet for no more than 1 minute (again, to prevent drying), then transfer to a cooling rack.

Source: Adapted from an article in Elephant Journal.

 

Estimated nutritional information from My Fitness Pal: May vary depending on the brands you use. 1 cookie has 165 calories (53% carb, 42% fat, and 5% protein). 7.8 g fat, 22.1 g carbs (1.6 g fiber, 9.4 g sugar), and 2 g protein.

 

Quick Corn Muffins (small batch)

These muffins use scratch ingredients instead of a typical 8.5 oz box of corn muffin mix, which contains lard. By making your own, you can eliminate the lard and control your sugar. The original recipes called for 3 Tablespoons of sugar, which is a bit much for just 6 muffins. While the muffins bake, you can make a batch of black bean soup on the stovetop, such as Bart’s Black Bean Soup for Two (link). The muffins and soup make a nice dinner on a cool Autumn evening.

2/3 cup buttermilk baking mix (or 2/3 cup all-purpose flour plus 1 Tbsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt)
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup milk or buttermilk
2 Tbsp olive oil

Combine baking mix, cornmeal, and sugar. Add egg, milk, and olive oil. Stir; batter will be slightly lumpy. Fill standard muffin cups 1/2 full. Bake 15-20 minutes at 400F. Makes 6 corn muffins.

Deluxe Muffins: Add 1/3 cup shredded cheese and 1 cup creamed corn to the mix. Makes about 12 muffins.

Source: Adapted from recipes on Cook’s Illustrated Bulletin Board (link), The Secret Recipe Blog (link), and Sandra Lee (link).

Best Recipe: Small Easy Coconut Cake (Cake for Two)

Cook’s Notes: A new addition to my best recipe category — This cake is made in one bowl, and it happens to be eggless. I have a friend who is allergic to eggs, and I am always looking for treat recipes for her. We didn’t have buttermilk on hand, so I used yogurt instead. It’s a wonderful cake, just enough sweet and scented with almond. This is definitely a keeper.

I baked the cake in two 4.5-inch springform pans. The batter makes two tasty layers. I frosted each layer separately, rather than making a layer cake. Each layer provides 4 satisfying servings (8 total servings), and they are so dang cute. Each frosted layer can be stored in a 6-cup plastic food-saver container.

Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt
1/4 cup vegetable oil (canola)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract

Frosting
6 oz heavy whipping cream
4 tsp sugar
Scant 1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Heat oven 350F. Coat baking pans with cooking spray (two 4.5-inch springform pans or muffin tins).

Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add yogurt, oil, and extracts. Stir until smooth. Scoop batter into prepared pans. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (possibly less for very small pans), or until a cake tester comes out almost clean. Check the cakes at 15 minutes.

Cool cakes in the pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Remove cakes from pans. Cool cakes completely on racks before frosting.

Make the frosting: Pour the cream and vanilla into the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat on high speed until the cream has thickened, about 1-1/2 minutes. Stop the machine, and add the sugar. Beat the cream on high speed until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes more. Gently fold the coconut into the frosting.

Place a heaping spoon of whipped cream frosting on each cake. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to spread it out. Make sure to cover the tops completely. There is enough frosting to cover the sides, too.

Variations:
To make a chocolate cake, use 2/3 cup flour and 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa instead of 1 cup of flour. “Because it calls for oil and cocoa rather than butter and chocolate, it’s less rich than most cakes,” Stephanie says.

You can also bake the batter in a muffin pan, tart pans, a small cake pan, or a loaf pan.

Stephanie notes: “You can flavor this [chocolate cake] in different ways: 1/2 tsp almond extract and a sprinkle of cinnamon; 1/2 tsp peppermint extract; 1 Tbs strong coffee; or 1/2 tsp grated orange rind. But it’s pretty good just as it stands, especially straight out of the oven.” Oh, yeah.

Recipe sources:
Cake recipe adapted from the Pie Queen blog (Friday, April 01, 2005 post, “Cake for One, and My Nigella Problem”)

Frosting recipe adapted from Small Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos

Pop-Up Rolls (Small Batch)

Cook’s Notes: Like a cross between biscuits and muffins, these quick breads are easy to make. Double the recipe to make one dozen. They are eggless and require few ingredients. You can even make the self-rising flour with pantry ingredients (technique is adapted from Taste of Home magazine, OCT/NOV 1995).

6 servings – 6 rolls; 30 minutes total, 10 min prep

1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Enough all-purpose flour to make 1 cup
1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon mayonnaise

Heat oven to 375 F. Coat a muffin pan with 6 cups lightly with cooking spray.

Place baking powder and salt in a 1-cup measuring cup. Add enough all-purpose flour to fill the cup; level off the top.

Mix all ingredients until thoroughly combined. Fill cups evenly with batter, so they are about half-full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Adapted from recipezaar, http://www.familycookbookproject.com, and http://www.recipesource.com