Wow….this blog thing is hard. Maybe because it’s still in it’s infancy it requires more care than it will in the future, but I didn’t expect it to consume so much of my waking (and drifting-off-to-sleep) streams of thought in the days after I told friends and family it existed! I thought about recipes a lot before, but the past couple days it’s been constant. The daydreaming has changed too, taken on a new layer of intensity. Instead of just finding new recipes to bake if I have energy after a long day in lab or an hour at the gym, I feel pressure come up with something of my own, pressure to make something worth telling you about and posting hunger-inducing pictures of. Suddenly, everything I make isn’t good enough to share; to be honest, I’m feeling a little shy and more than a little intimidated! (I have also suddenly become incredibly aware of the inadequacies of my point-and-shoot camera and the staging capabilities of my tiny apartment.) So I’m going to ease my way in, test the waters with another cookie recipe, since cookies are the thing I bake the most, and tell you a bit about my inspiration.
I certainly get a lot of ideas from my growing collection of cookbooks, and often sit crosslegged on the floor in front of my bookshelf with 5 or 6 of them piled in my lap (I dare an e-reader cookbook to make me that happy).
But the collection has only grown in the past few years and in the beggining my Grandma and Omi were my earliest inspirations in the kitchen. So many cherished childhood food memories revolve around them: eating sun-warmed raspberries in a bowl of fresh cream with sugar, or being plied to have yet another aromatically spiced oatmeal cookie while sitting in the porch on a warm summer night. Many of the cards behind the “dessert” tab in my recipe box came from these two women, and I find myself going back to them often when I’m visiting family or if I just want a touch of nostalgia. Grandma’s 4.5 qt kitchenaid is the one small appliance I could not live without! I called Mr. R. in a panic the day I thought I had burned out the motor making croissants for the first time. For now it still runs, but I will certainly end up crying the day that it finally goes. (Did you know it costs more to replace a burned out motor than to buy a brand new kitchenaid?)
This recipe is inspired by my Omi’s oatmeal cookies. I recently wanted to make them, but no matter how many cookbooks I flipped through, I couldn’t find the strip of notebook paper with the recipe. All it took was a note in the mail telling her I had lost it for a quick reply, and now the recipe is safely transcribed onto a card and tucked away behind “desserts”. Fall is here, the leaves have already peaked, the temperatures are getting crisp, and I can’t leave well enough alone. So, I’ve added some pumpkin, molasses, and seeds to give it a bit of seasonal flair. This is a cakey, wonderfully spiced cookie that’s not too sweet and is perfectly legit for breakfast (especially when the air is crisp and the leaves look like this…)
Pumpkin Oatmeal Raisin Cookies 1/2 Cup softened butter 1 Cup brown sugar 1/2 Cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla 1 Cup pumpkin puree 1/4 Cup molasses 3 Cup flour 4 tsp baking powder 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt 2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp each ginger, cloves, allspice and nutmeg 3 Cup old fashioned oats 3/4 Cup pumkin seeds 1 Cup golden raisins
Preheat your oven to 350°. Mix together the flour, salt, spices and baking powder/soda. Beat the butter with the sugars until light. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth. Mix in the pumpkin and molasses. Add the dry ingredients and mix until incorporated. Beat in the oats, raisins and seeds (the dough is soft enough you can do this with the beater instead of by hand).
Drop tablespoon size cookies on a baking sheet. You don’t need to leave much room between them since they will not spread. Flatten the cookies slightly with a fork (it’s going to be sticky but you can keep the fork a bit wet to help). Sprinkle the tops of the cookies with course sugar.
Bake 12 to 15 minutes (Let them get barely brown, too much time in the oven will make these cookies dry) and remove immediately to a wire rack to cool. Make sure you enjoy one of these still warm from the oven!