A Sweet Holiday Season

Anastasia Rogozinski, Head of Campus and Clubs

With Thanksgiving already in the dust, the Holiday Season is officially here. It seems like just yesterday we were trekking back into school in the sweltering heat, while today people are flocking to stores for gifts wrapped in layers. With the end of the first quarter, the time change, and the substantial temperature drop, the reality of the holidays has suddenly appeared. And with it the perfect time of year to experiment with baking. With seasonal flavors of pumpkin, cinnamon, and other spices and flavors, baking can fill your home with the sweet aroma of many of these flavors. Pumpkin pie of arguably the most famous of holiday desserts, but what about pecan pie, snickerdoodles, and millions of different flavored cupcakes? Below is a simple recipe for pumpkin pie, a holiday staple. But, for those who aren’t a fan there is also a recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies; mixing a classic dessert with a classic holiday ingredient. Finally, there is a recipe for spiced sugar cookies, a more flavorful spin on classic sugar cookies, and they give a chance to try out those decorating skills! Happy Holidays !

 

Pumpkin Pie:

Ingredients:

Dough:

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick), diced

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Flour for rolling the dough

Filling:

One 15-ounce can unsweetened pure pumpkin puree (about 2 cups)

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

3 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/4 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg

 

Directions:

  1. Make the dough by hand. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Using your fingers, work the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter. (If the flour/butter mixture gets warm, refrigerate it for 10 minutes before proceeding.) Add the egg and stir the dough together with a fork or by hand in the bowl. If the dough is dry, sprinkle up to a tablespoon more of cold water over the mixture.
  2. Alternatively, make the dough in a food processor. With the machine fitted with the metal blade, pulse the flour, sugar, and salt until combined. Add the butter and pulse until it resembles yellow corn meal mixed with bean-sized bits of butter, about 10 times. Add the egg and pulse 1 to 2 times; don’t let the dough form into a ball in the machine. (If the dough is very dry add up to a tablespoon more of cold water.) Remove the bowl from the machine, remove the blade, and bring the dough together by hand.
  3. Form the dough into a disk, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough with a rolling pin into a 12-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the edges, leaving about an extra inch hanging over the edge. Tuck the overhanging dough underneath itself to form a thick edge that is even with the rim. Flute the edge as desired. Freeze the pie shell for 30 minutes.
  5. Set separate racks in the center and lower third of oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Put a piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake on a baking sheet on the center rack until the dough is set, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and lift sides of the parchment paper to remove the beans. Continue baking until the pie shell is lightly golden brown, about 10 more minutes. Cool on a rack.
  6. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
  7. While the pie shell is cooling make the filling. In a large bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, half-and-half, spices, and salt until smooth. Return the pie shell to the baking sheet and pour in the filling.
  8. Bake on the lower oven rack until the edges of the filling are set but the center is still slightly loose, about 50 to 60 minutes. (If the edges get very dark, cover them with aluminum foil.) Cool on a rack. Serve room temperature or slightly warm.

 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies:

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup canned pumpkin puree

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

2 cups (12-ounce bag) milk chocolate chips, not semisweet

Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper

 

Directions:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.
  2. Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

 

Spiced Sugar Cookies:

Ingredients:

For the Cookies:

1 cup granulated sugar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Fine salt

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Royal Icing:

2 tablespoons meringue powder

One 1-pound box confectioners’ sugar (3 3/4 to 4 cups)

Food coloring, as desired

Decorating Suggestions:

Candy corns, pecans and sanding sugar

 

Directions:

  1. For the cookies: Put the sugar in a food processor and pulse a few times to finely grind. Add the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pulse just to combine.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until all of the butter is incorporated into the flour and the mixture is sandy. Add the egg and vanilla and pulse until the mixture comes together in big clumps.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead a few times to form a ball. Divide the dough in half, pat into 2 discs about 1/4-inch thick, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  5. Let the dough sit at room temperature for a few minutes to make rolling easier. Put 1 disc of dough between 2 pieces of parchment paper and roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Cut out with desired cookie cutters and arrange on one of the prepared baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake until the bottom of the cookies are golden brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on the baking sheet until firm enough to transfer to a rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough. Gently gather any scraps into a ball and press into another disc. Chill the disc until firm enough to roll and cut out as many cookies as possible.
  6. For the icing: Sift the meringue powder and confectioners’ sugar together in a large bowl and add 6 tablespoons water. Beat with an electric mixer on medium-high until the mixture is glossy and soft peaks form, 3 to 4 minutes. Add food coloring if using or divide into several batches and color with different shades of food coloring. Decorate cookies as desired. The cookies can be store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

 

Sources:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/spiced-thanksgiving-sugar-cookies-3363068

 

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/food-network-kitchen/pumpkin-pie-recipe-2102740

 

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-cookies-recipe-1946557