Recipe: Soft Pumpkin Cookie Cakes

Well, I had all these great ideas for the blog this week, but even the best laid plans can be led astray.  I do hope to get back into the swing of things shortly, as I’ve got so many wonderful things to show you!

Sometimes when life gets a little too busy, or a little too confusing, the best thing to do is just relax, sit back, and bake!

Today’s treat is an easy family favorite – an incredibly fluffy, simple and delicious spiced cookie.  Perfect for a lunch box treat or afternoon snack, they are very popular around here and disappear quickly.  The addition of cake flour and the tart dark chocolate chips create a velvety softness that  combines wonderfully with the warm and inviting pumpkin and spices.  I know you’re going to love them, they are great with fresh fruit and a strong cup of chai on a chilly afternoon.

Here are some photos of the process

blending

Blending in the pumpkin puree

Lovely mountain of sifted ingredients

Lovely mountain of sifted ingredients

Folding in the final ingredients

Folding in the final ingredients

Here you can see the moist deliciousness

Here you can see the moist deliciousness

Ingredients

1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pure pumpkin puree
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cake flour
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions:

In large bowl or mixer, cream butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla, mix.  Add pumpkin, mix well.  In a separate bowl, sift together flours, cinnamon, clove, allspice, baking soda, salt and baking powder.  Gradually add to wet mix and ensure that it is well combined.  Fold in coconut, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate chips.

The dough with be fluffy but sticky, so use a table spoon if you prefer not to get your fingers dirty.   Make 2″ balls and place on cookie sheet at least 2″ apart. Press dough lightly with fingers or fork.  Bake at 350 degrees for 9-12 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Remove to racks, allowing to cool completely.  Store in air tight container in the fridge.

Yield: 2 dozen.

afternoon tea

afternoon tea

Now signing off to pay attention to my patient kitty…
Happy Baking everyone!!

happy cat in need of some attention

happy cat in need of attention

 

 

 

Recipe: Banoffee Pie with Java Whip

I had that all too common moment of panic and regret upon looking in my cupboards and seeing all the odds and ends that were getting ominously close to the end of their poor little shelf lives.  This pie is quick and super easy – devised to use up some of my pantry gems.

Banoffee Pie was originally created at The Hungry Monk restaurant in England, but is now seen all over the world.   Though the original recipe is considerably more involved, calling for a pastry crust and plain whip cream, I had the ready made crust on hand, and I love the combination of the slightly tart coffee flavour with the ultra sweet caramel.

I recommend making the caramel the night before, as the prep time is quite lengthy.

Banoffee Pie with Java Whip

Ingredients:
1 Graham cookie pie crust
3 moderately ripe bananas, sliced
2 cans sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
250ml (min) whipped cream
1 tbsp white sugar
Ice Java Cappucino syrup (optional)
Chocolate Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:
Step 1:
Transforming your sweetened condensed milk to “caramel”.  There are considerable urban legends surrounding the process I describe below.  It is true if not done properly it could prove dangerous, but if instructions are followed it should be fine.

Place 2 unopened cans in large stock pot.  Fill with water until cans covered with minimum 2″ water.  Place lid.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to hard simmer for 2 hrs, checking frequently to be sure the water has not evaporated.  Do not let the water get below 2″ above cans.  Remove stock pot from heat and remove cans carefully from water.  DO NOT OPEN.  Wait until can is room temperature.  If you open while can is hot, dangerously hot caramel will spill out and if anything, you will have a huge mess to clean up.  Once room temperature, open can.  Voila!  Caramel!

easy caramel

Sweetened condensed milk, magically transformed

Step 2:
Assembly:
Prep Graham crust for use.  layer half of your caramel into crust.  Layer sliced bananas on top of caramel.  Layer remaining caramel on top of bananas.  Sprinkle sparingly with cinnamon.

Caramel, layered with apples, layered with caramel !!

Caramel, layered with bananas, layered with caramel !!


Java Whip
:  As you are whipping your delicious, fluffy whip cream, add Ice Java Coffee syrup or similar and sugar to taste.  Top pie with whipped cream and sprinkles.  Chill before serving.

Sweet, sweet, gooey deliciousness!

On the Needles

Feel a bit like a slug right now,  having caught a bit of a bug.  Feel tired and, dare i say “sluggish”.  Now, before you feel sorry for me, know that i am a Knitter.  Knitters have a positivity superpower.  That is, when we are taken ill, or we are forced to sit idle for any amount of time, we are those who make the best of the situation.  Between bouts of watching the awesome BBC program Misfits, I have managed to sneak in a little bit of progress:

Knitwise:

Lucyhatwip

Downton Abbey Fangirl

The Lucy hat is coming along beautifully.   After an initial temper tantrum over how incoherently the short row instructions were written, and a few mistakes artistic liberties, it was smooth sailing.  Malabrigo worsted is always a treat to work with and am hoping to have this done this evening or by tomorrow.

Artwise:

doodlesketch.

doodlesketch.

A simple doodle that will become a bit of a woodland scene.
Can’t you just imagine the left side of the paper as an ancient tree trunk, with rippling roots along the bottom of the page, and some wee babe or fairy folk neslted in the crook of the trunk?

And finally from Pinterest, out of necessity I have created a Geek Love board.  This is why

All in all, an incredibly productive day, wouldn’t you say?

wintertime

The weather round here has been a little bit interesting lately
This was a beautiful day that we went snowshoeing

IMG_0248

This was a less than beautiful day.  We had an ice storm, and the sky turned the most beautiful shade of brown.

IMG_0252Living on the west coast of northern British Columbia,
weather dictates a large part of our lives.
While unbelievably beautiful, it can be a little dark and a little grey.

So we come to appreciate a little colour in our lives.

Carrot Beet Juice/sunshine in a glass:

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And our favorite room in the house: The Sunshine Room

yellow

Tell me please, what do you do to keep the winter doldrums at bay?

Perfect Sundays

Well, since it pretty much looked like this all Sunday

IMG_0458

The day started like this

2013-01-13

My wonderful husband greeted me with fresh coffee and delicious bacon and eggs

The day continued in much the same way but first, a musical interlude to set the mood:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwAgFb-WfLA

An exciting new stew recipe, which included copious amounts of paprika, an jalapeno pepper, and way too much beef!

Recently Updated2

What better way to round out the afternoon than with a beautifully boozy Khalua Baileys Hot Chocolate

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At some point i figured I might as well throw in some meringues

meringue

And get some work done

chapeau

Happy Sunday!!