Favorite Cookies Round-Up!

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Guys! It’s the most wonderful time of the year…COOKIE SEASON! Today, I’m sharing some of my faves from the archives because sometimes we need a little inspiration.

And, really, what could be better than cookie-inspiration? Not much, I say.

Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies: My mom, an avid non-baker, made these cookies for a cookie party this year and won BEST COOKIE. So, basically, they are awesome. Chewy Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies: These combine two of my favorite things–chewy ginger cookies and chocolate chip, then I rolled them in crunchy pearl sugar. Chewy Chocolate Ginger Spice Cookies: These are super similar to the cookies I just mentioned, but there’s cocoa in the actual dough. I am just smitten with the chocolate-ginger combo, obvs.

Malted Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing: These cookies turned Sean from a pumkin-treats-hater to lover. They are basically magic. Iced Eggnog Cookies: These cookies are super soft, cake-like, and full of eggnog flavor. Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies: These cookies are a staple in our house…I make them the most.

Chocolate Pecan Cookies with Sea Salt: These pecan-studded cookies are rich and deeply chocolate-y. So much to love. Peanut Butter Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies: Salty, Sweet, Chocolate-y, Peanut Butter Goodness. There isn’t much to say here. Peanut Butter Ninjas: The peanut butter in these cookies is stealthily hidden beneath the chocolate dough.

Alfajores: Buttery cookie + Dulce de Leche…I mean… Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars: Everyones fave, in bar form. Chocolate Mint Creme Sandwiches: These cookies are like little cookie-brownies sandwiched with the best creamy, minty goodness. Also, cute.

Smoked Salt and Almond Shortbread Stars: I love almonds, smoked salt, and butter…these cookies have it all. Citrus Gingerbread Trees: A little, citrus twist on classic gingerbread. Get your royal icing on! Pistachio + Apricot Jam Thumbprints: A classic, but with pistachios and apricot. Graham Crackers: So simple, yet so satisfying.

Simple Chocolate Cake with Ganache

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So, I know this should probably be a post about pie, which I love, or pumpkin pie…which I HATE. I know…I’m a jerk. I like pumpkin things, but never pumpkin pie.

I’m not sorry.

Anyway, let’s talk cake.

This cake is super simple in both assembly and flavor–the batter takes minutes to make and there’s zero special equipment required. Don’t get it twisted though, because even if this is just a chocolate-on-chocolate situation, it is so, so good in it’s simplicity. The cake is dark and rich, but not so much that it doesn’t benefit from a glazing of glossy ganache. The crumb is fine and very moist, my favorite. And, I know ganache sounds fancy, but it’s so not…two ingredients, mixed together. DONE. I’m pretty sure this is my new go-to cake. It’s so easy, a little rustic, but pretty. It’s a gem.

 

Simple Chocolate Cake with Ganache

Makes 1, 8-inch, round cake.

Adapted from Martha Stewart

Use your favorite cocoa powder for this cake. I prefer Valrhona because it is rich and dark with intense chocolate flavor.  

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1 cup sugar

2/3 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and spray an 8-inch, round cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with a round of parchment. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, and salt.

In a measuring cup whisk together the milk and vinegar, whisk the eggs, oil, and vanilla into the milk and vinegar mixture and pour into the flour mixture. Mix gently with a spatula until just combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan and bake in the center of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a rack to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out. Cool completely before glazing with ganache.

Ganache

1/2 cup heavy cream

4 ounces chopped, semisweet chocolate (or chips)

Heat the cream until scalded, when little bubbles form around the edges, add the chocolate, remove from the heat, and cover. Let the chocolate and cream rest for about 5 minutes, until the cream has melted the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour warm ganache over the top of the cake. Let the ganache set 10 minutes before serving.

Soft Pumpkin Sandwich Buns

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So, originally this post was supposed to be a pie…but it turned into a swamp of sour cherries and melted crumble topping, despite the perfect, flaky crust. I mean, we still ate it…but, I couldn’t bring myself to share that fugly mess.

So, I made these tender buns (haha, tender buns…I’m 5). Soft, little buns perfect for post-Thanksgiving sandwicher-y and flavored with Autumn’s ever-present flavor, pumpkin. I made these buns in advance for next Thursday’s turkey burger-ing. I think I may have mentioned before that we are not doing it up Thanksgiving-style this year, but instead making an abbreviated turkey-full dinner and then going to see Catching Fire because I REALLY want to (even though I suspect Sean is lukewarm about it, he’s also nice).

Anyway, I’m going to build these burgers, that taste like thanksgiving in a few bites, on these here buns. I’m excited about it.

Back-to-back bread posts must mean it’s a CARB-PARTY.

Soft Pumpkin Sandwich Buns

Makes about 12, 2.5 ounce buns

These bun can be made in advance (weeks!) and popped into the freezer. It takes an hour or two for them to defrost at room temperature and they are still delicious. I like to split them, spread with a little butter, and toast ‘em up before building burgers or sandwiches. 

3/4 cup warm milk (about 100˚F)

1 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons yeast

1 large egg

1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pie mix)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 1/4 cups flour, plus more for dusting

1 teaspoon salt

egg wash: 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon cream

black sesame seeds for sprinkling

Stir together the warm milk, honey, and yeast. Set aside until foamy.

Whisk the egg with the pumpkin and cooled, melted butter in a small bowl.

In a mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour with the yeast + milk mixture, and the pumkin mixture. Turn the mixture on medium and mix for 8 minutes. The dough will be very sticky, we want it this way.

On a well-floured surface turn out the dough and knead it about 5-10 times, adding flour as needed to handle. The less flour you add the more tender and soft the buns will be. Place the dough ball in a greased bowl and cover with greased plastic. Allow to rise until doubled in size, at least 1 hour.

Prep two baking sheets by lining with parchment.

Punch down the dough and divide it into equal pieces—I use a scale for this and go for 2.5 ounce buns. Roll each dough piece into a ball and set on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover the buns with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size. Brush the tops of the buns with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Preheat the oven to 400˚F and bake 1 pan at a time for about 15 minutes, or until the buns sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from oven and cool completely before serving or freezing.