Tag Archives: easy recipes

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

I will never not be thrilled with sugar cookies. Plain, sprinkled, iced, rolled, maple-scented, cut out or dropped, they’re perfect in all their forms.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Today’s fall-friendly sugar cookies are spiked with pumpkin and spice for maximum seasonal coziness! They take just minutes to mix and bake, and are finished off with a simple vanilla drizzle that is so much more than the sum of its parts.

So what does one do with two dozen Pumpkin Sugar Cookies?! Eat them, duh. Or share them or submit them to a bake sale (are bake sales still a thing?). I personally like to hoard them all to myself for days on end. Like last week’s Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies, these sweets just get better and better as time goes on. It’s true! Their high ratio of wet to dry ingredients and the inclusion of moist pumpkin purée mean these stay super soft. It’s the ideal baking situation if your fall has been as wildly busy as mine.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies

Like I said, i will never not be thrilled with sugar cookies.

Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
Pumpkin Sugar Cookies
makes about 2 dozen cookies

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup pure pumpkin purée
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Vanilla Glaze:
2/3 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
3 teaspoons milk of choice

Arrange your oven racks in central positions. Preheat oven to 350F. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment. Set aside.

Place butter in a medium pot (4 quart) over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until melted, then remove from heat. Stir in sugar, followed by pumpkin purée, egg yolk and vanilla. Whisk in flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.

Scoop dough in 1 1/2 tablespoon increments (I use a medium cookie scoop). Roll into balls and place at least 2.5 inches apart on prepared pans. Bake cookies 10-11 minutes, or until puffed and no longer raw looking. Cookies will relax as they begin to cool.

Set a cooling rack over a pieces of wax paper or parchment.

Let cookies cool for 10 minutes on the pans before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Make the glaze. In a small bowl use a fork to whisk together confectioner’s sugar, salt and milk. If glaze is too thick, add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon, until desired consistency is reached. If glaze is too thin, add more confectioner’s sugar by the tablespoon until desired consistency is reached.

Load glaze into a small piping bag and snip off the tiniest corner. The glaze will be dry to the touch within 20 minutes and harden after a few hours.

For best pumpkin flavor, let glazed cookies rest for at least 30 minutes (or up to a day) before serving.

Cookies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Friday Favorites: Apples

Friday Favorites: Apples​

It’s apple season and I am here for it! They were littered everywhere when we were leaving Maine a couple of weeks ago, and it took everything in me not to scoop them up and bring them home to bake! While I wouldn’t trust apples growing in NYC parks (much less on the ground), I definitely trust the ones at the markets! Whether they’re tucked into a pie, folded into a buttery cake batter, or rolled up in yeast dough, baking with apples is one surefire way to get in the seasonal spirit! Here are a few of my favorite apple recipes from the archives.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Cranberry Apple Pie

This recipe is from the first few weeks of this blog’s existence, but I remade it last year (she needed some Glamourshots), and I’m here to tell you: it’s SO delicious. Sweet and tart and perfectly spiced, this is one to make when cranberries start showing up in a few weeks!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple & Pear Galette

I love pie, but the ease of galettes wins me over every time! Here apples and ripe pears are nestled into a rustic free form pie crust. It’s a perfect autumnal dessert if I’ve ever had one!

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls

Want the flavors of apple pie for breakfast? Make yourself some Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls! These were my second post ever, and having remade them for a photoshoot recently, I can confirm that they still make all my apple pie breakfast dreams come true.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

Apple Turnovers

I love turnovers! They’re like pop tarts for grown ups. This apple version is made with my go-to rough puff pastry and folded on the bias for the flakiest little triangles of apple goodness you’ve ever had.

Friday Favorites: Apples​

French Apple Cake

This is easily the most popular recipe on this blog, and for good reason. Its pure, buttery cake base and chunks of soft apple have no pie spices to detract from their balance of flavors. I clearly love apple pie things, but this simple favorite is something really special.

What’s your favorite way to bake with apples? Let me know in the comments or on social media!

Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

This time of year, everyone seems to lose their minds for pumpkin and apples. I admit I am guilty of this too, but I think maple is truly my favorite fall flavor.

Yes, I know maple syrup is made in the spring, but it tastes like fall. It just does. It’s the color of the best crunchy leaves and it tastes like nostalgia and Saturday mornings in early November. Please excuse my waxing poetic, but you know I’m right.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

I’ve made tons of maple recipes over the years, including a layer cake, caramel corn, and some incredible sandwich cookies, but I never run out of new ideas for how to use it. Not gonna lie though, I think I’ve outdone myself with these Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies.

You read that right. Salty. Maple. Brown Butter. Blondies. That’s like everything good in the world in one baked good.

The blondies themselves are a classic recipe with a little less brown sugar and a whole lot of maple syrup. They bake up without fuss and would be great by their lonesome, but then you’d be foregoing the magic of the Salty Maple Brown Butter icing. It gets poured on the blondies warm and settles into a thick layer reminiscent of maple candy. But, you know, with brown butter and flaky finishing salt.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies

Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies are sweet, salty, and very buttery, and have the textures of both a perfect chewy cookie and soft maple candy. Their maple flavor shines so brightly and just gets better and deeper as they age. Yes, I am telling you to take your time eating these, but I’ll be the first to admit that’s easier said than done.

Salty Maple Brown Butter ​Blondies
Salty Maple Brown Butter Blondies
makes one 8- or 9-inch square pan, about 16 blondies

Blondies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I use Grade A Dark Color, Robust Taste)
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
tiny pinch of ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Salty Maple Brown Butter Icing:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
pinch of Kosher or sea salt

For Finishing:
coarse or flaky salt (I used Maldon)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease an 8- or 9-inch square pan and line with parchment, leaving overhang for bar-removal. Set aside while you make the blondie batter.

Brown the butter. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat and immediately pour the brown butter into a medium-large mixing bowl.

Whisk granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and maple syrup into the brown butter. Mix in egg and vanilla, followed by flour, nutmeg and salt.

Spread the blondie batter in prepared pan. Bake 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (no raw batter). Let blondies cool 15 minutes in the pan on a rack.

Meanwhile make the icing. Place butter in a light-colored saucepan over medium heat. Let butter melt. Butter will bubble and crackle as the water content evaporates. Swirl the pan frequently for 5-7 minutes, keeping an eye on the color. When the solids are turning brown and the butter is nutty and fragrant, remove the pot from the heat. Immediately whisk in maple syrup, followed by confectioner’s sugar and salt. Whisk until smooth.

Pour icing over the the blondies (still in the pan). Tilt the pan back and forth and coax with the back of a spoon so that the icing covers the blondies. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of flaky or coarse finishing salt. Let blondies continue to cool until room temperature.

Run a small, thin knife around the edge of the pan, then use parchment to lift them onto a cutting board. Slice with a large, sharp chef’s knife, wiping the blade clean between cuts. Serve.

Blondies will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Last week, while preparing vegan red beans & rice on a vacation Wednesday morning, it occurred to me that I haven’t made a straight-up chocolate dessert in a while. Like, maybe since June? I don’t even know. I was in a summer produce fugue state.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

Once I realized this, I knew I had to rectify it immediately—a chocolate craving cannot be remedied with anything else. Thinking through our island pantry, I realized I had everything for a quick vegan chocolate pudding. Ten minutes of measuring and whisking later, I was dividing warm pudding into ancient Corelle teacups and setting them in the refrigerator for that night—a perfect make-ahead dessert to go with our make-ahead dinner.

Flash forward a week and I have made Vegan Chocolate Pudding twice in my NYC kitchen since I’ve returned. Its ingredients are things I always have on hand—cocoa powder, cornstarch, sugar, almond milk, dark chocolate, vanilla, salt, and (optional) vegan butter. It takes just minutes to put together and doesn’t require sieving as it doesn’t contain eggs. Score!

Vegan Chocolate Pudding

This Vegan Chocolate Pudding is SO good, y’all. Each spoonful is deeply chocolaty, ice cold, silky smooth, and delicious. I may or may not have eaten it for breakfast this week. Twice.

Vegan Chocolate Pudding
Vegan Chocolate Pudding
makes 4 servings

2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
2 cups unsweetened almond milk (or other plant milk)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon vegan butter (optional, but recommended)
grated chocolate, for serving (optional)

In a medium pot, whisk together cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk in half the almond milk, followed by the remainder.

Place pot over medium heat. Whisking continuously throughout cooking, cook pudding until it has boiled for 1 minute. This process should take 6-8 minutes from start to finish.

Remove pot from heat and whisk in vanilla, followed by dark chocolate and vegan butter (if using).

Divide pudding into four small heatproof serving dishes (I used 4-ounce mason jars). Press plastic wrap to the surfaces. Refrigerate for a few hours, until cold.

When ready to serve pudding, peel off and discard plastic wrap. Lightly stir pudding, top with grated chocolate (if desired), and serve.

Leftover pudding will keep covered in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp

It may surprise you to learn that all our meals in Maine are vegan and gluten-free. While we don’t all subscribe to that diet year-round, keeping everything this way accommodates everyone (and keeps me from making multiple dinners). While those limitations may stymie some cooks, I do my best to lean all the way in, making sure that our baked goods and desserts fit the same parameters—it’s more fun to bake when everyone can enjoy the final product.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp​

Over the years, our Maine menus have included gluten-free graham crackers, baked oatmeal, blueberry popsicles, pumpkin oatmeal, peanut butter cookies, and a sheet cake. Knowing we’d be up there for the autumnal equinox this time around, this year’s major dessert offering was an easy and seasonal Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp.

Oh, y’all, I love crisps. They’re so easy and so satisfying—they hit all the same buttons as pie, but they’re a tiny fraction of the work. You can make them with pretty much any fruit, changing up the spices and such to suit whatever it is you have on hand, and—oh yeah—you can serve them warm from the oven without any concern for structural integrity. They’re not recipes for instant gratification, but when it comes to baking from scratch, they’re not far off!

This Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp has the same steps as the traditional variety: make the filling, make the topping, layer them, then bake ‘til bubbly and serve with vanilla ice cream. The only differences here are that the butter is vegan, the flour is made of almonds, and the ice cream is dairy-free. The crispy, nutty, oat-laden topping and the perfectly spiced apple filling you love are all still there, and they are spectacular. Especially when eaten with friends you love on an island off the coast of Maine.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Apple Crisp
makes one 9-10 inch dish, about 6 servings

Filling:
4-5 large apples, peeled & thinly sliced (5 cups slices)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt

Crisp Topping:
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup vegan butter (or refined coconut oil), melted

For serving:
dairy-free vanilla ice cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 9-inch casserole dish or cast iron pan with vegan butter (or refined coconut oil). Set aside.

Make the filling. Place apple slices in a medium mixing bowl and toss with vinegar, sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Transfer to the prepared baking dish.

Make the crisp topping. In a medium mixing bowl (I just wipe out the one I used for the apples), whisk together oats, almond flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add melted butter and stir until everything is saturated. It may seem sandy; this is okay. Scatter topping onto the apples.

Bake 28-30 minutes, until topping is browned and apples are tender. Let cool 10 minutes before serving in bowls with vanilla ice cream, if desired.

Cover and refrigerate any leftovers for up to 4 days. Reheat before serving.