Wednesday, October 17, 2012

cookie o' the month...



























Oh, hello, October--Indeed!

It's not only here, it's full on Octobering, Kids!

As you all know, we are entering my nirvana, in terms of time of year. The weather, the colors, the natural light, the scents, sounds, and of course the tastes. Oh, the many, many tastes. 

One of those many, many tastes, that swirls around my head and heart is pumpkin. It's one of those flavors that just makes me happy. 

And with that, I share with you the baking greatness of Baker Beth's October Cookie O' The Month. 

Yes, I squealed like a tween and I am OK with it. 

Just look at this cookie?! Partake of it's pumpkin greatness and please do enjoy the Fallness of it all.

Carry On,
-angelo

FROM BAKER BETH:
Oh, hello, October. How did you get here again so soon?

This cookie is a variation – a rather broad variation – on a cookie I've been making for Christmas for years. The dough is different, the filling is different, the topping is different, but the idea is there. Kind of. Vaguely.

It came about, though, because Angelo loves pecans and pumpkin and cheese and while I went down a similar path last year, this year, I wanted to create something self-contained. I wanted to create cookies that would pack well for a lovely picnic on a fall day in Central Park and I have decided that these are those.

Soft cookies with just enough warm spices to complement the pumpkin with a pocket of cheese inside, like cheese Danish but different, and a bit of glaze for a hit of sweetness but more so as a base for a coating of crunchy, toasted pecans.

With a latte or warm cider alongside? Forget about it.

Don a scarf and gather a blanket and find a nice spot under a tree.

And bring a handful of the toasted pecans with you. For the squirrels.
— Beth

Pumpkin Cookies with Sweet Cheese and Pecans (Adapted from Martha Stewart and Joe Pastry

Cookies:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon table salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
2 1/4 cups packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups canned solid-pack pumpkin
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Cheese filling:

8 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients a bowl and beat until fluffy and uniform. Chill until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until somewhat fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in eggs. Reduce speed to low. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, and vanilla; mix until well blended, about 2 minutes. (Note: It'll look curdled. It's fine. Keep going.) Add flour mixture; mix until combined. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Scoop a portion into a Ziploc bag and snip off about 1/4 inch of the corner as for a pastry bag. Pipe 1 1/2-inch rounds (like a snail) onto parchment-lined baking sheets, spacing at least an inch apart. Scoop a portion of the cheese filling into another Ziploc bag and snip off a small corner. Pipe a dollop of filling into the middle of each piped cookie. Pipe additional dough around and over the cheese to cover. (They'll look like little beehives.) Bake cookies until the tops spring back, about 12 minutes. Cool on sheets on wire racks for 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks; let cool completely.

Powdered-sugar glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk or enough to make a glaze of a thick but dippable consistency

Combine in bowl. Stir until smooth.

Pecans:

Toast a single layer of pecans on a baking sheet in a 350ºF oven for 12-15 minutes or until fragrant. Let cool on baking sheet. Chop finely with a knife or food processor or grind in a hand-held nut grinder (like this simple guy.) 

Once the cookies are cool, dip half of each one into the powdered-sugar glaze and then into the chopped pecans. Place right-side up on a wire rack and allow the glaze to set. Cookies are best enjoyed the same day, but can be stored in layers, on pieces of parchment paper, in an airtight container and in the fridge for up to three days. Allow to come to room temperature before serving.

4 comments:

Dixie said...

Angelo
I too am a lover of Autumn... probably due to the 100-degree temps we get every July thru mid-September here in south Texas. When it goes from 105 to 85... it's a cold front down here...

Beth... the cookie looks delicious. I'm making them for Thanksgiving to share with our big extended family. (I think I should give them a trial run first and try them out on myself!)

thanks for sharing... happy Autumn and cool temps!!

Dixie

Beth said...

Oh, Dixie, you need to visit the Midwest and soak up some fall-ness!

By all means, make a test batch of the cookies! If you can swing it for Thanksgiving, make them the day of serving. Given their pumpkin-ness, they tend to get a little sticky as they sit around.

dstoutholcomb said...

thank you Baker Beth for giving us another yummy cookie!

thanks Angelo for sharing Beth with us!

leaves are almost at their prime here in the Mid-Atlantic! This weekend will be perfect!

Beth said...

It's my pleasure, truly.

The trees here are all over the map. Some are already entirely bare, some are still rather gorgeous.

Fall is far too brief.

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