Cookies on the Fly

Last night, my Sharia class had the most depressing movie party a class could ever have. I had briefly mentioned I might make Baklava, to lift the mood but (spoiler alert) Baklava takes like a year make, and I had literally no time. Cookies, on the other hand, take 10 minutes and de-stress like none other. I can’t write a real post because I still have no time. So, Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies, speak for yourselves.

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies via The Road Home

 

 

Do you have no time? Do you make cookies? Tell me all about it in the briefest comments you possibly can 😉

 

(Recipe Below)

 

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies via The Road Home

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 10 Mins Cooking Time: 10 Mins

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • Hefty pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2-3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup butter @ room temperature
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (optional because I forgot to buy it and it turned out fine) (not really optional though) (also, I suspect Jack Daniels or Jameson would make a great substitute – somebody should try it out)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a medium-large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and soda and spices.
  3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix butter and sugar on high, until fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Mix in egg, vanilla and pumpkin also for about 3-4 minutes, until blended. Don’t freak out if it looks curdled, it will do that, and it will be ok.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients until just mixed. Then slowly mix in chocolate chips.
  6. Drop cookie dough by rounded tablespoons onto cookie sheet.
  7. Bake until edges are golden brown. The recipe I was working off said 10 minutes, mine took like 25. Start checking at 10 – you’ll know.
  8. Cool on sheet for 2 minutes, then transfer to baking rack and eat them all!

5 Halloween Traditions

As I think mom has already made clear, we’re kind of fans of Halloween at our house. That means even five days later we’re not ready to let it go. So when election day reminded me of one of my favorite halloween traditions, I seized the opportunity to wax poetic.

 

 

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One of the great things about the holiday is everybody’s quirks come out in costumes or traditions. No two people ever celebrate it quite the same. This year I couldn’t spend Halloween at home, but the upside is I’ve gotten to learn about (and participate in!) so many great new traditions – even within a pretty tiny sample size. Here is a wrap-up of all my favorite halloween traditions, old and new, that are sweet, quirky and all around awesome.

 

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  1. Candy Marketplace
    This is not the name for this tradition; it doesn’t have one. Until a year or two ago, there wasn’t a single Halloween I didn’t spend with Ellie, one of my bestest friends in the world. After collecting candy and rocking the vote (see below), every year until we were… gosh, 18, maybe? we scurried upstairs and dumped out every piece of candy and traded and bargained it. I usually ended up with Reese’s cups until July and if I wound up with a single piece of non-chocolate candy, I could consider the night a complete failure. Ellie wrote an actual essay for school on this one once. It’s a big flipping deal.
  2. Political Pumpkin
    Also not the real name. This one started in 2004, when L and I decided it was our civil responsibility to tell everyone in the neighborhood to vote. We threw in our candidate if they had a supportive lawn sign or bumper sticker. As 12-year-olds go, we were cool cats.
  3. Mummy Food
    Halloween is not about real food. If it’s not processed, it’s not allowed in the house. Over the years I’ve seen my fair share of awesome halloween recipes (witch hats, pretzel fingers, graveyard cake) but my favorite was always the mummy food. My mom was a big fan of the mummy dog (hotdog in Pillsbury crescent roll) but last year I was first introduced to mummy meatloaf, with criss-crossed noodles on top. This, friends, is why you babysit.
  4. Secret Santa 
    I brag about my internship a LOT because I really, really love it. I love it for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is the yearly secret halloween draw. Everybody in the office is secretly responsible for buying somebody else a costume. We exchange a few days before, and at lunch on Halloween, we all go down to the park and frolic. Not much gets done. It’s a good day.
  5. Tricky Treats
    I know a really wonderful mother (other than my own) (the same one, in fact, behind the mummy meatloaf!) who told me last Halloween that back when their family was living in London, the grownups used to take along Diet Coke cans filled with champagne as they took their kids trick or treating to the city’s finest townhouses. This one sums up Halloween perfectly – pushing the rules, treats for the whole family and (lets face it) spying on the rich and fancy neighbors.

 

Hope everyone had an awesome halloween. Only 360 days left until the next one – plan your costume before it’s too late 😉

 

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The Last Pumpkins (For a While…)

I’ve been having a great fall teaching classes and testing out endless  butternut squash/apple/turnip/pear/carrot/sweet potato/parsnip/pumpkin combinations in soups, gratins, purees, and stew-like creations. I had a hard time deciding what to share with you before TurkeyDay, the biggest food event of the year.

But the other day I cracked open Dorie Greenspan’s brilliant new cookbook Around My French Table for the first time. This is exactly the book I wish I’d written. Like her perfect Baking from my Home to Yours, the recipes are simple, versatile and flavorful, and the pages are saturated with spectacular pictures and peppered with “bonne idées” – good ideas to make each recipe your own. She takes the mystery out of fabulous French cooking from the simplest home meal to the most intimidating pastries. And so many of her recipes have blunt, adorable names – Spur-of-the Moment Vegetable Soup, Salmon and Potatoes in a Jar.

But once I saw “Pumpkins Stuffed With Everything Good,” I knew I’d found my starting point. The concept, taken from generations of French home cooking, is sheer perfection: so cozy, beautiful, and delicious. As Dorie says, “an outline is about the best you can do with this dish” – because there’s so many ways you can, and often must, vary it. She says she never makes it the same way twice.

It’s sort of like a fondue, only you spoon out the contents not skewer them. The concepts all depend on what you like, and the best thing about it is that you can serve it as an appetizer or a side dish on the Thanksgiving table, perfect for all friends and family. You can even easily make it vegetarian if that’s what makes you happy.

Here’s what you have to do:

You take a bake-able pumpkin, like sugar or Cinderella and cut off the top

scoop out the stringy stuff and the seeds (to toast) (or caramelize)

then crush some garlic, and maybe chop some herbs

fill it with your favorite chunks of bread, cheeses, herbs and a bit of bacon or pancetta or similar if you like

Pour in some cream

And bake it!

That’s it! And this is what you get in the end…

Then you scoop this with some of the pumpkin meat on to small plates. Together with a good glass of white wine and you’re in heaven after one taste. I’m not exaggerating.

Full, concise recipe after the jump!

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Seeds of Sincerity

Fall break finally arrived this past weekend and, while I could have stayed in the city exploring six star restaurants and interviewing famous chefs, like a good, loving little daughter I hopped on the 6:39 to New Haven on Friday evening, and spent four glorious days [eating candy] with my family.

You see, Francesca really wanted to trick or treat with me. And you know how I hate to disappoint her…

This weekend was a like dream. The moment I got home I opened the fridge, out of instinct, but instead of reaching for something I just stood and stared. I couldn’t believe the freshness, the variety, and the general edibility of everything I saw. When I returned to school, I talked with my friend Mia about her trip home and she said she’d experienced the same Fridge-Shock I had. (Unsurprisingly, the very base of our friendship was founded on Dark Chocolate-Sea Salted Almonds and Magnolia banana pudding.) Four soups – pumpkin, broccoli, carrot-ginger and a vibrant pea – met me at the refrigerator door, and as the weekend progressed we added homemade chili, a boeuf en daube, and a plum-vanilla crisp, to the mix. I was able to choose between two apple ciders, spiced and regular, and I could even heat them up if I wanted. In all honesty, and I say this without a hint of irony, I was so overwhelmed by my refrigerator that by Halloween night I’d almost forgotten about candy.

I certainly miss the pumpkins the most (after the sisters I carved them with, of course). There was not a moment when I wasn’t painting, carving, eating, or watching a movie about one. Francesca, Isabella and I spent several hours on the front lawn, freezing our hands off, while mommy scoured the house for melon ballers, 10-inch kitchen knives, awls, cookie cutters, and mini saws.

Francesca instructed me as I carved my first dictated pumpkin (eyes and nose like closed bananas, mouth like an open banana) and she stirred the seeds for the “pumpkin seed stew” while Isabella and I poked, sawed and pared “The Old House in Paris,” a tree, and various unidentifiable swirly things.

When Francesca had finished preparing the seeds (as everyone knows, stirring them is the most important part), we took them inside and began searching high and low for pumpkin seed recipes. But to my shock and dismay, all I could find, no matter how hard I looked, were recipes that called for nothing more than olive oil and sea salt. Yummy, I suppose, but I wasn’t looking to make gourmet potato chips. After a taxing day of carving and playing I needed something sweet as well as salty, and something unmistakably autumn-y.

And so the cinnamon-caramel pumpkin seeds were born. In this recipe, salt and toasty sugar melt with butter and cinnamon to form a new fall classic. They’re cooked first on the stove, to soften the seeds and melt the sugar, and then spread on parchment paper to bake to a crisp. They tend to stick together into a kind of pumpkin brittle, which I like, although you are free to spend the time making sure they are spread out. Of course, they’re very simple (as all good things should be), and very addictive. So as you’re carving your Thanksgiving pumpkins, as I’m sure you plan to do, make sure you save some time to make this modern fall candy. I know you’ll love it and you’ll make me, and the Great Pumpkin, very proud.