Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

We have yet to receive our first measurable snowfall, so we’ve had a rare opportunity to enjoy a long Autumn season this year. Our temperatures have dropped dramatically though over the past several days, and have only been in the 20′s. Despite the colder temperatures, I’m thankful for the lack of snow. I absolutely love the Autumn season, but in Alaska the season tends to be very short. I’m glad it has decided to stick around a little longer this year.

Now that we’ve turned the calender to November, it’s getting to be that time of year when we’re all a little bit busier with planning, and making preparations for the upcoming holidays. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. Although I tend to stick with my usual tried-and-true Thanksgiving holiday menu, I still find myself prepping weeks in advance. You’d think by now I’d be able to make Thanksgiving dinner in my sleep, but I still spend a lot of time prepping, to ensure everything turns out just right.

With my time divided between work, family, and holiday preparations, I’ve been finding little time to do any baking. That’s why this recipe for Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies is so wonderful. Not only are these cookies delicious, with generous amounts of chocolate and pumpkin spice flavors, but being that they are “no-bake”, I can whip up a tasty treat for my family in no time at all.

~Enjoy~
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Chocolate Pumpkin Spice No Bake Cookies

2 cups granulated sugar
4 tablespoons baking cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
1 (3.4oz) box of pumpkin spice pudding mix
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3 cups dry quick-cooking oats
Waxed paper

Directions:
In a heavy saucepan, bring the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk to a boil. Let mixture boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat, and add the pudding mix, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and oats to the saucepan; mix well.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto waxed paper. Let cool until set.

Makes approximately 30 cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

In my last blog post, I mentioned that I volunteered to make both a bride’s and a groom’s cake for a wedding reception, and I was feeling a little stressed because I had never made cakes for a wedding before. Well, I’m happy to report that both cakes turned out great, and I even managed to get them to the reception without dropping them. :)

Making the wedding cakes turned out to actually be quite fun, but I now have a new-found appreciation for those cake bakers who make them as a full-time profession. I don’t know how they do it. They must be able to handle stress a lot better than I.

There was no stress involved whatsoever in making these yummy Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles though. They are super easy to make, and not only did this recipe produce a delicious treat packed with the flavors of the Fall season, but the aroma of the pumpkin and spice from the cookies baking in the oven filled my home with a wonderful Autumn scent. In fact, the scent might stick around longer than the cookies – they are that good.

Snickerdoodles are one of my favorite cookies, and I believe I’ve mentioned before that Autumn is my very favorite season. So it’s an extra special treat when I get to combine one of Autumn’s bountiful offerings, pumpkins, with one of my favorite cookies.

~Enjoy~
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Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles

For the cookies:
3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the coating:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions:
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Blend in the pumpkin puree. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Turn the mixer to low speed and gradually add in the dry ingredients; mix until just incorporated. Cover and chill the dough in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, combine the sugar and spices for the coating. Shape rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into 1-inch balls; roll in sugar mixture. Place 2 inches apart on cookie sheets. Coat the bottom of a drinking glass with butter. Press the bottom of the glass in the sugar-spice mixture. Flatten the dough balls slightly with the bottom of the glass.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until cookies are set and edges are lightly browned. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for about 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Pumpkin Spice Nanaimo Bars

Pumpkin Spice Nanaimo Bars

Pumpkin Spice Nanaimo Bars

If you’re like me when I first stumbled upon this dessert, you’re probably wondering “what the heck is a Nanaimo bar?” Well, according to Wikipedia, “The Nanaimo bar is a dessert item of Canadian origin popular across North America. It is a bar cookie which requires no baking and is named after the West Coast city of Nanaimo, British Columbia. It consists of a wafer crumb-based layer topped by a layer of light vanilla or custard flavoured butter icing which is covered with melted chocolate made from chocolate squares.”

This is the first time I’ve made this dessert, and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was and how quickly it came together. At first I was a little intimidated by the fact that it had three layers, but I wasn’t going to let that deter me. (it was really quite simple to make)

I decided to make my bars a little more “seasonal” by adding a bit of pumpkin pie spice to the bottom layer, and using Pumpkin Spice flavored pudding mix in the second layer.

This dessert turned out to be wonderfully delicious, and I can envision making it again in the very near future. Just don’t ask me to pronounce Nanaimo. :)

~Enjoy~




Pumpkin Spice Nanaimo Bars

Bottom Layer:
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Second Layer:
1/4 cup butter
2 tablespoons instant pumpkin spice pudding mix
2 cups powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons milk

Third Layer:
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter

Directions:

Bottom Layer:
Melt butter, sugar, cocoa, and pumpkin pie spice in the top of a double boiler. Add egg and stir to cook and thicken. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract, graham cracker crumbs, and walnuts. Press firmly into an ungreased 8” X 8” pan.

Second Layer:
In a medium bowl, cream butter and pudding mix. Add powdered sugar and milk; beat until smooth. Spread over first layer and refrigerate until firm.

Third Layer:
Combine chocolate chips and butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for approximately 30 seconds, until chips are melted. Stir until smooth. Cool slightly and pour over second layer. Place in refrigerator to chill. Cut into squares.

Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread

Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread

Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread

It turned out that the wind storm we had this past weekend wasn’t quite as bad as the previous wind storm. There was one big wind gust that was recorded to be 120 miles per hour, but for the most part, the wind wasn’t too bad. The rain however, that’s a different story. It rained so hard and for so long, that some small streams overflowed their banks, and some roads in town were flooded and impassable. I was hoping that the weather would calm down for a few days so we would have a chance to dry out, but the weather forecasters are predicting another big wind storm to hit our area this evening, and bring more heavy rain with it. If this is the way our Fall season is going to be, I can’t wait to see what Winter has in store for us.

Since the weather has been so cold, rainy, and windy lately, I decided to make one of my favorite cold weather dinners – Chili!! And I couldn’t think of a better side dish to pair with a steaming bowl of chili than cornbread. I didn’t want to make just your average, ordinary cornbread though, so I made Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread!! I find that regular cornbread can be dry and crumbly sometimes, but when you add some pumpkin puree into the mix, it brings the moisture level way up. This cornbread is very light and moist, and the pumpkin flavor goes surprisingly well with chili.

I’d better be sure to stock my pantry with plenty of cans of pumpkin, because with the weather we’ve been having lately, I think I’ll be making a lot of chili and cornbread for dinner.

~Enjoy~




Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread

1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 cup pumpkin puree

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 12-inch cast iron skillet, or make sure skillet is well-seasoned.

In a large bowl, combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine milk, oil, eggs and pumpkin puree. Whisk until well combined. Add mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Pour batter into prepared skillet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread

Skillet Pumpkin Cornbread

Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

It sure is looking very Fall-like around here. The leaves are changing color at a rapid pace, and falling off the trees even more rapidly. There is a distinct chill in the air every morning now, and the temperature only warms up into the low to mid 50′s during the day. Even though the calendar shows that Autumn is still a week away, I’d say it has definitely already arrived here in Alaska.

What better way to celebrate the arrival of Fall, than with Pumpkin recipes!!! For my first pumpkin recipe this season, I decided to make this delightful Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Spice Biscotti. This is the first time I’ve attempted to make biscotti, and I was quite surprised at how easy it actually was. I only needed two bowls to mix the ingredients in, one for the wet ingredients and one for the dry, and everything could be combined together by hand. The scent of pumpkin and spices filled the air as I mixed the ingredients together, and my kitchen smelled like a pumpkin patch while the biscotti were baking in the oven. It was wonderful!! I decided to dip the ends of the biscotti in melted chocolate, just to add a little something extra. I’m currently dunking one of these crisp little biscuits in my morning coffee and munching away on it, and I must say – it tastes very yummy!

The weather forecast is calling for another wind storm to hit our area this evening, and the wind is expected to continue blowing through Sunday. They say wind gusts could reach up to 100 miles per hour again. I’m hoping our trees don’t blow down and our electricity stays on, but I think I’d better make a trip to the store to stock up on batteries, ice, and non-perishable food – just in case.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

~Enjoy~




Chocolate-Dipped Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Biscotti ingredients:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
2 eggs
3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons canola oil

Dipping Chocolate ingredients:
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet, or cover with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix eggs, pumpkin, vanilla and oil with a wire whisk until smooth. Add mixture to dry ingredients and stir until combined.

With floured hands, divide dough in half and form two logs lengthwise on the cookie sheet; approximately 15 inches long and 2-3 inches wide. Leave a little space between logs and sides of cookie sheet.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes on the cookie sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Move logs to a cutting board and slice into 1 inch slices. Lay slices on their sides on the cookie sheet.

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Pumpkin Spice Biscotti

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn slices over and bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until biscotti are crisp and start to brown.

Remove biscotti from oven and place the slices on a wire rack to cool completely. Dip ends of biscotti in chocolate; if desired. (instructions below)

Dipping Chocolate Directions:
Place chocolate chips, butter, and corn syrup in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 20 seconds. Add vanilla extract and stir until blended and smooth.

Dip one end of biscotti in chocolate. Place on waxed paper and let sit until chocolate sets.

Makes approximately 20 biscuits.

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