Sunday, September 23, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

This recipe is from a blog called, 'Sweet Pea's Kitchen.' It makes about 4 dozen cookies, so I sent some to work with Nick and took some to my work, as well. Everyone loved them! The one criticism was that they were lacking in pumpkin flavor (I agreed). They are a wonderful snickerdoodle, but next time, I will definitely increase the pumpkin pie spice. You may also want to add some pumpkin pie spice to the cinnamon-sugar mixture that you roll the cookies in. I also decreased the baking time to about 8 minutes (instead of 10-12 as the recipe states).

Also important to note: My cookie dough mixture was way too soft and sticky to easily roll the dough into balls. I put the dough in the fridge for about an hour and that did the trick! A delicious fall treat...definitely a keeper!

2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice (use more for a better pumpkin experience :)
1-3/4 cups sugar, divided
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
3/4 cup pumpkin puree
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
Adjust the oven racks to the upper-and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (or use non-stick spray); set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice; set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter and 1-1/2 cups sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, as needed. Add the egg and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the pumpkin puree and beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the bowl as needed.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Roll a heaping tablespoon of dough into a 1½-inch ball, roll the ball in the sugar mixture, and place it on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough, spacing the balls about 2 inches apart.

Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, until the edges are set and just beginning to brown but the centers are still soft and puffy, 10 to 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Cool the cookies on the baking sheets about 5 minutes; using a wide metal spatula, transfer the cookies to a wire rack and cool to room temperature.

I'm back!!! Copy-Cat Panera Mac 'n Cheese

So sorry to all of you who have been waiting and waiting and waiting for new recipes! I have two excuses:

The first is the craziness of our summer. We were on the go ALL THE TIME. When I had time to cook, I was making my old stand-bys...the quickest and easiest recipes I could find! Which leads to my second excuse...

PREGNANCY! I am currently 22 1/2 weeks pregnant with our little boy :) For the majority of the summer, I didn't feel like trying new recipes, let alone even look at food! I am feeling much better now and we are so excited to meet our little Caleb - sometime around the 24th of January! Here are a few pictures for your enjoyment...

Isn't he cute?? We sure think so :) Now...onto the recipe! I'm not sure why it took me so long to discover Panera's Mac 'n Cheese. It is heaven in a cup! I saw a few copy-cat recipes on Pinterest, so of course I needed to give one a try! This recipe is from the blog, 'Smells Like Home.' I didn't expect it to be AS good as Panera's...and it wasn't...but it was darn close! And soo delicious! Enjoy...

16 oz. shell pasta or other small pasta shapes
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2-1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
4 oz. white American cheese, chopped or torn into pieces
8 oz. extra sharp white Vermont cheddar, shredded
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. Kosher salt
1/4 tsp. hot sauce (like Frank’s)

In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.

While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1-1/2 minutes whisking constantly.

Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.

Remove sauce pan from the heat and add cheeses by the handful, allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the mustard, salt, and hot sauce. Return the sauce pan to the heat and stir in the pasta. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through. Serve hot in bowls with spoons.