At first I was kind of bummed when I got assigned Neuro-Psych for my second rotation block – namely because I really wanted to get one of the very time intensive, 10 week long rotations out of the way earlier in the year. However, I’m learning that everything works out in the end because I have truly loved having some free time to enjoy the fall. (Remind me of this when I am waking up for surgery at 4:30 and driving through a snowstorm). Beyond the obvious fall cooking adventures, I have really enjoyed running in the park, which has been continuously blanketed with colorful leaves for several weeks now. Every time I enter Wildwood I think, ” I wish I could take my camera on runs” or “I really need to get John out here to see this before its gone”. (He gets a little reluctant to go running….well usually…..but especially when the weather drops below 70º ). I’ve managed to get him out a few times though and it has been truly gorgeous.
In celebration of the wonderful season, we had the pleasure of attending a bon fire and a halloween party. I really wanted to impress with my improving cookie decorating skills, but unfortunately I forgot how long it takes to work with royal icing. I managed to finish a few cookies to bring over, but if you really want to use royal icing, plan on making the cookies the night before. Nevertheless, I thought that these were a perfect autumn treat- just a hint of spice, but enough to remind you of fall. I’m hoping to make them again to take down for thanksgiving (especially because the 3 cookie cutter set I bought also came with a turkey!) Any icing will work for these, but if you plan on using royal icing check out my tutorial for instructions.
Brown Sugar and Spice Cookies
Makes about 40 cookies depending on the size of your cutouts
- 3 c unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ginger
- 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg (freshly grated, if possible)
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- 1/2 c granulated sugar (I use sugar that I’ve stored vanilla beans in)
- 1/2 c light brown sugar (packed)
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350.
Whisk the flour, baking powder and spices, set aside.
Cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix until well-blended.
Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until combined, scraping down the bowl, especially the bottom. (The dough will be quite thick…you may need to knead in stray bits of flour from the bottom of the bowl by hand.)
Roll dough to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into desired shapes.
Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat. Refrigerate or freeze tray for about 5 minutes if you want to insure that cookies will retain shape. Bake for 10-12 minutes
Let cool on cookie sheet for 1 minute. Then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Ice the cookies as desired.
Recipe barely adapted from Bake at 350°
On a side note, I was really excited about these containers. 40% off Hobby Lobby is the best…
I had something entirely different to share with you today – it was going to be a meal of sustenance, instead of another dessert. However, after serving these little delicacies last night, I decided that I must get this recipe out ASAP so that you can make them ASAP. I’m pretty sure these made both the gator’s and the buckeye’s losses yesterday seem less painful (at least to the people who might be pained by that sort of thing).
These treats were the perfect way to start off October. They are sweet, nutty and flakey. As a true candy lover, I think part of the reason I like these is because the brown sugar becomes caramelized on top as it mixes with the pecans, creating an almost toffee like texture on the outside with a sweet and melted inside. Because I only had enough cupcake pans to make 24 of these at a time, I ended up running out of filling for the last tray. While you’d think that extra filling would always be a good thing, it seemed like most of that extra filling just spilled out onto the pan and made a mess. Therefore I would recommend measuring out half of the filling if you are making these in batches, so you have a better idea of how much to use.
Basically these are like a miniature pecan pies, with a slightly more solidified filling and an amazing crust. They also smell amazing while baking. And I’m pretty sure they would perfectly complement a nice big glass of apple cider. So go ahead and enjoy a few (or 10) for dessert, or for breakfast (like I did today). Happy Fall!
Pecan Tassies (Mini Pecan Pies)
– Makes 48 mini cupcake sized tassies
For the Dough:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 6 oz cream cheese (I used 1/3 less fat because that’s what I had)
- 2 cups flour
For the Filling:
- 1½ cups light brown sugar, packed
- 1 heaping cup chopped pecans, plus more for sprinkling on top
- 2 eggs
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1. To make the dough: beat butter and cream cheese together until combined. Add the flour and mix until incorporated. Roll the dough into 48 individual balls (each ball should be a little smaller than a quarter). Place the balls on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about an hour.
2. To make the filling: combine all ingredients (brown sugar, pecans, eggs, butter, vanilla) in medium bowl and mix to combine. Divide this into even halves if you are making this in batches.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 and lightly grease mini muffin pans.
4. To assemble: Take a ball of dough and roll it out into a flat circle. Place inside a mini muffin cup and repeat with remaining dough. Alternatively you can simply press the dough ball inside of the mini muffin tin to create a cup. I was worried about the crust being uneven, which is why I chose to roll the balls out, but to save time you can use the other method.
5. Fill each cup with a heaping teaspoon of filling. Top each with a sprinkle of roughly chopped pecans. The filling puffs up while baking, so it is not necessary to fill to the brim of the cup, in fact this tends make a mess because the filling overflows.
6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. Let cool slightly in pans, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.
Source: Brown Eyed Baker, originally adapted from “old firehall ladies auxiliary cookbook”.