Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fall! Fall! Fall! + Spiced M&M Brown Sugar Cookies

Spiced M&M Brown Sugar Cookies
Adapted from Joy the Baker

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 & 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup m&m's


1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter for about 1 minute at medium speed. Add the brown sugar, and cream for 1-2 minutes more, or until light and fluffy. Scrape the sides of the bowl, and add the egg and vanilla. Mix at medium speed until thoroughly combined.

3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture, and mix at low speed just until the dough comes together. Add the m&m's, and continue mixing until they are evenly distributed. Cover the dough and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Scoop the dough into tablespoon-sized balls, and arrange the balls on cookie sheets about two inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges.

Makes about 3 dozen cookies.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

An updated list of all the pumpkin-flavored things I've purchased this year (so far):

pumpkin bagels
pumpkin cream cheese
pumpkin pie pop tarts
pumpkin coffee
pumpkin coffee creamer
pumpkin hershey's kisses
pumpkin cookie mix
pumpkin bar mix
pumpkin waffles

As hard as it is for me to understand, I realize that not everyone loves this quintessential fall flavor as much as I do. I've even heard rumors that some people don't like pumpkin... at all.

In fact, I've managed to become friends with one of these anti-pumpkin people. And it was out of consideration for her feelings toward pumpkin that I ended up making these brownies for a recent get-together at her house.

(If you're wondering why I didn't just make something totally pumpkin-less, then you really don't know me at all.)

The pumpkin flavor in these brownies is really just an accent to the chocolate, which is why it's the perfect choice for someone with lukewarm feelings about pumpkin. And as it turned out, my anti-pumpkin friend really liked them! (or so she said).

Small as it may be, the success of this endeavor has given me hope that it's not too late for her. Who knows? If everything goes as planned, she could be eating pumpkin pie just in time for Thanksgiving!

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Martha Stewart

1/2 cup unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 & 3/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 & 1/4 cups pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Coat a 9-inch square pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper.

2. Heat the butter and chocolate in the microwave at half power, stopping every 30 seconds to stir, until completely melted. Be careful not to overheat!

3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and beat together at medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the flour mixture, and continue mixing at medium speed until thoroughly combined.

5. Divide the batter evenly between two bowls. Stir the melted chocolate mixture into one bowl of batter. Stir the pumpkin, vegetable oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg into the other bowl of batter.

6. Transfer half of the chocolate batter to the prepared pan. Add half of the pumpkin batter on top of the chocolate batter. Repeat with the remaining chocolate and pumpkin batter. Use a knife to swirl the batters together in the pan, creating a marbled effect. Top with sprinkles if desired.

7. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the center is set. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Makes about 16 brownies.