October Baking Day

I kicked Frank and Evelyn out of the house on this grey, wet Sunday and I’ve been luxuriating in my own company (OK, the dog is here, too), baking without being bothered and listening to long-forgotten music.  It’s a bank holiday weekend in Ireland, and after a particularly long work week for me, having a Sunday to spend so frivolously is precious.

True to my promise, I am busting out the pumpkin recipes.  We got a couple of pumpkins and I roasted one small one last night, pureed it, and squeezed out all the excess water, resulting in a semi “hard-pack” pumpkin puree.  Back in the States, I always took canned pumpkin for granted and was a little afraid of having to make my own puree, but it’s silly easy, just a bit time consuming.  From one small pumpkin, though, I got at least 2 – 3 cups of lovely pumpkin, ready for soups, pastas, and of course, baking!

Emily’s Pumpkin Cookies

I’m just pulling my last tray of pumpkin cookies out of the oven.  Whenever I make these, I remember my introduction to them, when a college hallmate knocked on our apartment door and offered me some.  I asked her for the recipe the next day and I make them every year.  So lovely – more like little cakes than cookies, and I vamp up the frosting with a little cream cheese.  So good – worth waiting all year for!  So thanks, Emily, for popping into my memory and my kitchen every autumn with your gorgeous pumpkin cookies.

Emily’s Pumpkin Cookies
(this is a half batch of the original recipe along with a few tweaks based on what I had available to me)

1/2 Cup shortening or butter
1 Cup golden caster sugar (can also do half brown, half white)
2 eggs
1 Cup “hard pack” pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
2 Cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ginger
* 1 Cup raisins, pecans, dried cranberries, or even chocolate chips, Optional (I didn’t add any this time)

Cream sugar and butter until light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, beating after each.  Add pumpkin and mix well.  Sift dry ingredients into wet mixture and mix well.  Drop in teaspoonfuls on to greased or parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 F or 175 C for 10 minutes until solid to touch.  Cool on a cooling rack and then frost with cream cheese frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting
3 Tbls. softened cream cheese (light is OK)
1  Tbls. softened butter
Approx. 1 1/2 Cups icing/confectioner’s sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Combine until smooth and moderately stiff.  Add a bit of milk if too stiff.

Makes 24 medium sized cookies.

*    *    *    *    *

While I was in the college frame of mind, I put on some old CDs,  you know the ones I mean – the discs you hold onto without knowing why and then rediscover on a long road trip or during a solitary afternoon of baking.  It was fun to sing along with Justin McRoberts again, and my WOW 2005 albums, ha ha ha.  Brought back some memories and even some tears as I found my old singing voice wasn’t as rusty as I thought.

Now I’ve got a chocolate banana cake baking away as well, not because I needed to make one for any good reason but because I didn’t want to waste some black bananas and I was into a baking groove!  I think I’ll decorate it with coconut in some kind of ghoulish manner… it’s such a moist, comforting cake!  Anyway, I’m sure the neighbours will enjoy a taste when I bring some by tomorrow, and at least then they’ll know what all that singing was about.  🙂

Hope you’re having a nice weekend and maybe I’ve been able to share some new-to-you recipes.  Happy Baking and Happy Halloween, whatever you get up to!

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