Tag Archives: autumn

Maple Thumbprints

Maple ThumbprintsIt may have been 90 degrees in NYC this past Monday, but nobody is happier than I am that fall is finally here, not least because it means I have an excuse to make these Maple Thumbprints.Maple ThumbprintsAnd make them, I have—five test batches before getting them just right. I used the dough from my Maple Spice Stars as a starting place, and then adjusted the spice, sugars, and leavener until I achieved exactly what I wanted: a puffy, slightly soft maple cookie with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and a well of maple icing in the center. The ideal accompaniment to a cup of tea on a fall afternoon, you know?Maple ThumbprintsIf you love maple syrup like I do, these cookies are for you. The dough contains 2/3 cup and the icing has another 1/4 cup! I vastly prefer Grade A Dark Amber & Robust Taste (formerly known as Grade B) for its deep flavor, but any pure maple syrup you have will do the trick.Maple ThumbprintsMaple ThumbprintsMaple ThumbprintsMaple, like pumpkin, is a flavor that improves over time. Though these cookies will taste good immediately after they’re baked and filled, they won’t taste particularly maple-y until a few hours later. By the next day, you’ll have no problem finding the sweet nuances of maple syrup in both the cookies and the icing.Maple ThumbprintsYou’ll notice that many of the maple cookie recipes out there (including this one) call for maple extract for a richer flavor. This is because maple is a delicate flavor in baking, easily masked by its own sweetness. To that point, I tested both the dough and icing with 1/2 teaspoon each of maple extract (I like Boyajian), and while it works and certainly amplifies the flavor, I don’t think this recipe needs it. I did multiple taste tests and preferred the cookies made with only maple syrup every time. If you feel otherwise, feel free to add some extract. To each their own!Maple ThumbprintsThe point, as always, is to bake the cookies you want to eat. And to bake for the weather you want, not the weather you have. At least, that’s what I’m doing. If it means I’m eating autumnal cookies while sitting in front of a blasting air conditioner and praying for some crunchy leaves to step on, so be it.Maple Thumbprints

Maple Thumbprints
makes about 4.5 dozen cookies

Cookies:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup pure maple syrup (I like Grade A dark amber & robust taste)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Icing:
3 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
3-4 teaspoons water

Make the cookies. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about two minutes. Beat in brown and granulated sugars, followed by the maple syrup. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Turn the mixer to low, and add the dry ingredients in three installments, stopping frequently to scrape the bowl.

Divide dough in half. Wrap each half in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to 3 days.

Place oven racks in the top and bottom thirds of the oven. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove dough from the refrigerator. Scoop dough by the tablespoon and roll each into a ball. Place dough balls at least 2 inches apart on prepared pans. Use the back of a very small spoon (like a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon) to slowly press a well into each dough ball. They may crack a bit—just smooth them with your fingers.

Bake cookies 12-13 minutes, rotating top-to-bottom and front-to-back. Cookies are done when puffed and no longer wet-looking. When you remove the cookies from the oven, press the back of a small spoon (I use a 1 teaspoon measuring spoon) into the centers again. Let cookies cool on the pans for 10 minutes before carefully removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat rolling and baking process with all remaining dough, letting the cookie sheets come back to room temperature between batches.

Arrange cookies on a parchment or wax paper-lined surface for filling.

Make the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt, maple syrup, and 3 teaspoons of water until smooth. Add more water by the 1/2 teaspoon, if needed, until the glaze is thick but pourable.

Transfer icing to a piping bag (or ziptop sandwich bag), twist it tight and snip off a very small corner. Fill wells in cookies as desired.

Icing will set after a few hours. Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Place wax paper between layers for easiest storage.Maple ThumbprintsMaple Thumbprints

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Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}It’s that time! Tomorrow morning will be the first weekend breakfast of fall (even if you are regretting having packed away your summer clothes two weeks ago) and it should absolutely be this Pumpkin Puff Pancake. (And maybe bacon.)

(So many parentheticals today. Oy.)Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}This Pumpkin Puff is simply an autumnal take on my very favorite breakfast. Or maybe I should say “another” autumnal take—I made a Caramel Apple Puff a couple of years ago. You can have that next weekend though. This weekend, it’s all about the pumpkin.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Mix up your pumpkin pie spice, crack open a can of Libby’s, put some of both in a blender with the usual suspects, and whirl up a smooth pancake batter.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pour it in a screaming hot pan with plenty of butter and go find something to do for roughly 17 minutes. I recommend figuring out which Emmy-nominated show you can manage to binge watch in its entirety before the broadcast on Sunday night (When They See Us! Pose! Fosse/Verdon!). Or, alternatively, if you’re local, determining which panel you’re going to attend at the Brooklyn Book Festival (I’ll be at the 4pm “How We Eat at Home” panel to hear Anita Lo, Carla Lalli Music and Alison Roman).

(What is it with the parentheses today?)Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Anyway…when you have decided to watch Sharp Objects and a few episodes of The Good Place…oops, sorry.

*ahem*

When your time has elapsed and your pancake is puffy and voluminous and golden, remove it from the oven. It will be big, buttery and beautiful at first, but will quickly settle into a crinkly, custardy pancake in the shape of its pan. Also, it’s going to smell magnificent, as almost all pumpkin spice-scented things do.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Top it with whatever makes you happy—I went for my usual maple syrup and confectioners sugar, along with some toasted pecans. Keeping it seasonal, you know, because it’s officially fall in my kitchen and on this blog.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}
makes 4-6 servings

For the Puff Pancake:
1/4 cup pure pumpkin purée (I prefer Libby’s)
1 cup milk (preferably whole)
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

For the pan:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

For serving:
confectioners sugar
pure maple syrup
toasted pecans

Place a large ovenproof cast iron or stainless steel pan in a cold oven. Preheat oven to 400F.

In the bowl of a food processor or high-powered blender, combine pumpkin purée, milk, eggs, vanilla, flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Process 30 seconds, or until no lumps remain. Let batter rest at least 5 minutes.

Once oven has reached 400F, remove the hot pan and add butter. Place pan back in the oven for 60-90 seconds, until butter has melted. Remove pan from the oven, and swirl the butter so it coats the pan. Pour in batter. Bake 17-18 minutes, until puffed and golden. Do NOT open the oven door during baking.

Remove pancake from oven—it will deflate quickly. Let cool 2-5 minutes before slicing and serving immediately with toppings of choice.Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}Pumpkin Puff Pancake {Dutch Baby}

Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Bundt CakeI have loved baking with berries and stone fruit all summer, but I’d be lying if I said I’m not excited to do some fall baking. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been daydreaming about apples and pears, cranberries and warming spices, and of course, pumpkin. I’ve already gone through five cans of the stuff while testing upcoming recipes! If you love pumpkin, you’ve come to the right place.

Pumpkin Bundt CakeThis first recipe of fall is a great one, if I do say so myself. This Pumpkin Bundt Cake is soft, sweet, and full of that seasonal flavor we all love. It’s made with an entire 15-ounce can of pumpkin purée and a hefty dose of pumpkin pie spice.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin by itself has a very subtle flavor, so quality pumpkin pie spice is imperative for quality baked goods. While there are many great store-bought versions, I prefer to make my own Pumpkin Pie Spice blend. It’s a combination of seven warming spices including all of the ones you’d expect (think cinnamon and nutmeg) and a couple of surprises (think cardamom). It has a depth that I haven’t found in even the highest quality packaged versions. I swear by this particular blend, but feel free to use any Pumpkin Pie Spice you like.

Pumpkin Bundt CakeEnough about spices though. Pumpkin Bundt Cake is a breeze to make. The simple no-mixer-required batter comes together in just a few minutes. In addition to the pumpkin purée and pie spice, it contains oil, light brown and granulated sugars, four eggs, and all the other usual suspects.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeOnce the beautiful orange batter is ready, pour it into a bundt pan that has been heavily greased and floured. While I usually rely on a paste of oil and flour to keep my cakes from sticking, that particular method does not work well with this recipe. Instead, I recommend heavily (and I mean heavily) greasing every nook and cranny of the pan with butter, or even shortening, and giving it a good dusting of flour. Pour the batter into the pan and bake it for forty minutes. Let the cake cool for a few minutes before running a knife along all of the edges and inverting it. There’s nothing quite like the relief that comes when a bundt cake comes out in one piece.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeThe cake itself may be made up to a day in advance. To do this, let the cake cool to room temperature before carefully wrapping it in plastic and letting it sit overnight. The pumpkin spice flavor will actually deepen as the cake sits, making this a very appealing make-ahead dessert. If you don’t have that kind of time though, your cake will still be delicious on the day it’s baked.

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeBefore serving, glaze the cake. I prefer to use a vanilla glaze here, but feel free to add a pinch of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice to jazz it up. To make the glaze, whisk together some confectioners sugar, salt, vanilla, and milk until thick, but still pourable. Carefully pour it over the top of the cake and then let gravity do its job. It will turn out rustic and beautiful every time 

Pumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakePumpkin Bundt CakeI love this cake so much, you guys. It has a moist crumb and a fairly light texture; it will stay soft for days! And the flavor is everything you want in a pumpkin baked good–there is just enough spice 😊 Like I said, I’m positively in love. 

Pumpkin Bundt CakeHappy fall, y’all 🍂🍁Pumpkin Bundt Cake

Pumpkin Bundt Cake
makes one 12 cup-capacity bundt pan

For the pan:
2 tablespoons softened butter or shortening
~1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

Cake:
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1 tablespoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup neutral-flavored oil (I like canola)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 15 ounce can pure pumpkin purée (I like Libby’s and Trader Joe’s)

Glaze:
1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 12 cup-capacity bundt pan heavily with butter or shortening and dust with flour. Set aside.

Make the cake. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, pumpkin pie spice, and cinnamon. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy (about 1 minute). Whisk in light brown and granulated sugars followed by oil, vanilla, and pumpkin purée. Add dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Pour batter into prepared pan. Smooth out the batter with a spatula or wooden spoon. Tap the full pan on the counter 5-10 times to release air bubbles. Bake 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in a few spots comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Let cake cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a small, thin knife around the outer edges of the pan before inverting the cake onto a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl, use a fork to whisk together confectioners sugar and salt. Whisk in vanilla and milk. Glaze should be thick, but pourable.

Place the cake (still on the cooling rack) over a sheet of wax paper. Pour glaze over the top. Let sit for 20 minutes to set. Move cake to a serving plate before slicing and serving.

Pumpkin Bundt Cake