Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Although the calendar shows that it is still Autumn, this is the scene I awoke to this morning. It started snowing yesterday afternoon, and by the time it stopped this morning, there was approximately 6 inches of accumulation. I guess Autumn finally decided that it had stuck around long enough this year.

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you to all that serve, and have served our country!

~Enjoy~
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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.

Gingerbread Apple Crisp

Gingerbread Apple Crisp

Gingerbread Apple Crisp

Fall has reappeared here in our neck of the woods, and the rains that have accompanied it have washed away all signs of the snow that fell earlier this week. Many of the leaves on the trees have turned a brilliant gold color, and the temperatures have climbed back into the 50’s. We’re supposed to get another chance of snow falling next week, but for the time being, I’m enjoying the reappearance of Fall.

To welcome back the Autumn season, however brief it may be, I decided to make this incredibly yummy Gingerbread Apple Crisp. Now I’ve had plenty of apple crisp throughout the years, but this recipe is one of my favorites. I’m not sure what makes this apple crisp so good. It could be the allspice and brown sugar that wraps around and coats each and every apple slice, or it may be the gingerbread pudding mix, oats, and pecans that combine to create the crisp and delicious topping. Whatever it is, I really love it.

If you’re not a big fan of gingerbread, you can get creative and try this recipe with other pudding flavors such as vanilla, cheesecake, pumpkin-spice, etc. Whichever flavor you like and think would pair well with apples.

~Enjoy~
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Gingerbread Apple Crisp

4 cups apples, peeled & sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup water

Topping:
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 package (3.4 ounce) Gingerbread Instant Pudding & Pie Filling mix
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place the apples in an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, cornstarch, allspice, vanilla and water. Pour over apples.

In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, pudding mix, sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over apples.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until topping is golden brown and fruit is tender.

Remove from oven and place pan on wire rack to cool slightly. Serve warm with ice cream or whipped topping; if desired.

Snow Covered Mountains in the Late Evening Sun

Fresh Snow on the Mountains

Fresh Snow on the Mountains

The sun finally came out last night and melted the little bit of snow that had fallen here yesterday. It’s supposed to warm up a bit and rain for the next few days, which seems to me to be much more fitting weather for the Autumn season.

As the clouds parted from in front of the mountains last night, I was treated to a beautiful view of the late evening sun lighting up the freshly fallen snow. Despite the fact that I feel it’s too early for snow to be falling, I think the mountains do look rather pretty all dressed in white.

~Enjoy~
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Snow Has Arrived

Snow on the Rooftops

Snow on the Rooftops

It may only be the second day of Autumn, but it’s beginning to look and feel like the first day of Winter here. The temperature is currently 34 degrees, and it’s been snowing lightly since early this morning. The mountains are covered in clouds right now, but when the clouds part, I’m sure I’m going to find that the snow-kissed mountains have turned into snow-covered mountains. The ground is still pretty warm though, so the snow that has accumulated today should melt away pretty quickly. (I hope)

Here’s hoping that the weather is warmer and more “autumn-like” in your neck of the woods. Have a wonderful day everyone!

~Enjoy~
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Light Snow on the Ground

Light Snow on the Ground

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October Sunrise

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather for the past few days, and unfortunately I haven’t had the energy to bake any new treats. So instead of posting a recipe today, I thought I would “treat” you to a photo of a beautiful Alaska October sunrise.

~Enjoy~

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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