Pitman Photography

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies or Happy Harvest

I'm not a huge Halloween fan, but I do look pumpkins and all things flavored pumpkin. My husband and I just got back from a wonderful relaxing vacation in North Carolina. There we made two different kinds of pumpkin cookies and a pumpkin chocolate cake all in ten days.
All three were delicious!

Chocolate-Glazed Pumpkin Cookies
recipe by Martha Stewart
2 cups all-purpose flour, spoon and leveled
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I doubled this)
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup of sugar
1 large egg
1 can (15 oz) pure pumpkin puree
4 oz semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin-pie spice, and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until smooth. With mixer on low speed, alternately add flour mixture in two parts and pumpkin puree in one, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Mix just until combined (do not overmix).

Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto two baking sheets, about 1 1/2 inches apart (they won't expand in the oven). Bake until puffed and edges are golden, 15 to 20 minutes (16 for me), rotating sheets once during baking. Transfer cookies to wire racks, and cool completely.

When cookies have cooled place wax paper or tin foil under the wire racks. Melt chocolate chips in a bowl and transfer to a piping bag or zip log bag with a tiny piece of a corner cut off. Pipe chocolate over each cookie. Refrigerate until chocolate is firm, about 20 minutes.

Happy Harvest!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Craft of the Month

I accidentally started typing "Cake of the Month" with this post and then without thinking changed it to "Craft of the Month". Is this a sign? Should I start a craft of the month? Dare I? I am thinking it's a good idea. And I actually have one for this month. So why not start and see what comes of it!

One of my dear sister-in-law's birthday was this month and it didn't take long to think of what to make her. They are the greatest hosts around and are always having family and friends stay with them or having people over for dinner. So, it was easy for me to decide to make her placemats and matching napkins.

I jazzed up the placemats a bit and made them reversible -

The nice thing about making these is that you can cut them to whatever size you want. Once the fabric is cut, fold over each edge a quarter inch and iron all around. Pin and sew! So easy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Best Ever Chocolate Chip Cookies

This chocolate chip cookie recipe is the best I have ever made. And I have made a lot. I even threw out the other "best chocolate chip cookie" recipes I have. They are just that good.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies
recipe by Alton Brown

2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 C flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 C sugar
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 C chocolate chips (I've used milk and semi-sweet and both are delicious)

Preheat oven to 375. Melt the butter. Sift together the four, salt, and baking soda. In a different bowl add both sugars and pour in melted butter. Cream together. Add egg, egg yolk, milk and vanilla. Mix until well combined. Slowly add the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips.

Chill the dough*. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake 6 cookies per sheet - they will expand.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate sheet for even browning. I checked my cookies at 11 minutes and they were perfect! Cool on wire racks. (It really does make a difference.

*Helpful hint: Whenever I make cookies I always form the dough into a log, wrap in parchment or tinfoil and chill. This way you can slice the dough for even sized cookies and can store the dough for a few days. I've even been known to freeze extra dough for a yummy dessert for last minute company! :)

You never need a reason to make chocolate chips cookies - especially when they are the best ever! :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

(Cup)Cake(s) of the Month

This past Saturday, I had the privilege of making my dear friend Charissa's wedding cupcakes. This included making almost 800 tiny little flowers, 10 batches of buttercream, 250 cupcakes and a small square cake!

We decided to go with six different flavor combinations. Crazy? Probably. But who can decide between almond, orange, and mocha buttercream? Along with three flavors of frosting were two flavors of cake - vanilla and chocolate.

I had fun making little signs to accompany each flavor of buttercream. I used fall scrapbook paper, twine, cupcake and alphabet stamps, and sticks found in my backyard.