Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fall Preview

It's the end of October and I finally had my first butternut squash of the season.  I know I'm a little late to the game this year, but I'll make up for it in November... tonight's squash gave me the itch for more.

I've had this butternut sitting on my counter for about a week now and when I got home from the gym I was in a cooking mood.  I cut up half the squash in chunks and added my *special seasonings*.....let me tell ya, I can rock the hell out of a butternut.

With the other half I just cleaned it out, roasted it, added a few more ingredients, pureéd and voilá - soup!  Going to make for a great lunch tomorrow...

Now to tell you what's in this gorgeous salad:

Mixed baby greens
Thinly sliced onions that soaked in balsamic vinaigrette for about 10-15 minutes
Dried cranberries
Slices of honeycrisp apple
Roasted Butternut Squash
Balsamic Vinaigrette

The only thing missing was goat cheese which I forgot to get at the store - doh!  Still pretty freaking delicious...

Monday, October 10, 2011

Baking GALS Round 4 - Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

So it’s officially fall, and better yet, officially the best month of the year – yeah that’s right, October – you didn’t know?  Well consider yourself informed! J  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good hot sticky DC summer night and a warm breezy day on the beach, but when that cool crisp air rolls in and ridiculously delicious apples appear at the markets, you know it’s October and it’s awesome.

October also means pumpkin season, so for this month’s BakingGALS shipment I thought I’d give the guys a little taste of the season.  I know I have semi-bashed snickerdoodles before, claiming they are overdone/boring, but when I saw this recipe for a pumpkin version I knew I had to try it.  I love the texture of a snickerdoodle – soft and a little cakey – and we know I love cinnamon, so add pumpkin to that and voila, not so boring anymore!  The flavor of these cookies is subtle but satisfying – almost like a pumpkin pancake with the syrup baked in – and the pumpkin puree keeps the texture just right with a moist soft crumb.  Yum.  

Adapted from Annie's Eats (
For the cookies:
3¾ cups all-purpose flour
1½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ cup light brown sugar, packed
¾ cup pumpkin puree (I probably used 1 cup – thought the dough wasn’t pumpkin-y enough)
1 large egg
2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the coating:
½ cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
Dash of allspice

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  Blend and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugars on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Blend in the pumpkin puree.  Beat in the egg and vanilla until incorporated.  With the mixer on low speed add in the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated.  Cover and chill the dough for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.  Combine the sugar and spices for the coating in a bowl and mix to blend.  Scoop the dough (about 2½ tablespoons) and roll into a ball.  Coat the dough ball in the sugar-spice mixture and place on the prepared baking sheet.  Repeat with the remaining dough to fill the sheets, spacing the dough balls 2-3 inches apart.  Dip the bottom of a flat, heavy-bottomed drinking glass in water, then in the sugar-spice mixture, and use the bottom to flatten the dough balls slightly.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until just set and baked through.  Let cool on the baking sheets about 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.