building new castles every day

Posts Tagged ‘pumpkin’

raid the cupboards and make something

In Doings, Eatings on October 9, 2010 at 6:50 AM

“Do you guys want to grab a hot chocolate, or…something?”

Andrea, Cam and I had just walked out of one of my favourite locales, the Museum of Vancouver. Grant Lawrence had just entertained us with snipits from his new book, Adventures in Solitude, along with music from his cute, nervous and highly talented wife, Jill Barber (her swooning, nasally voice stops me in my tracks), and some kids from Said the Whale. A range of ages filled the audience, enjoying Grant’s somewhat Stuart Maclean-esque story telling, what with all the minute, human details of his six-year old nausea experiences on the way to the one of many ferries to Desolation Sound.

Then we wandered through the museum’s current Home Grown exhibit and got all inspired to make something. So instead of dropping dosh at a cafe, I invited my good friends home to have some tea and baking fun!

We raided my cupboards for ingredients — huzzah for a can of pumpkin, it’s time to prepare for Thanksgiving!

Cam and I raced to find a great blog recipe for pumpkin scones and I have to say, I’m glad Cam won. Bread & Honey offers an easy, sweet recipe that is delicious even without the icing. We just modified it slightly, leaving out the nutmeg and cloves (I need to stock up my baking spices) and used some of my endless — you got it — buttermilk.

Pumpkin Scones

2 cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
3 tablespoons buttermilk
1 large egg

  1. Preheat oven to 425*F. Pull out your baking sheet and oil or parchment-line it if necessary.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices in a large bowl. Using a pastry knife, fork, or food processor (or your good ol’ hands!), cut butter into the dry ingredients until mixture is crumbly and no chunks of butter are obvious. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, and egg. Fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients. Form the dough into a ball.
  4. Pat out dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 1-inch thick rectangle (about 9 inches long and 3 inches wide). Use a large knife or a pizza cutter to slice the dough twice through the width, making three equal portions. Cut those three slices diagonally so that you have 6 triangular slices of dough.
  5. Place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 14-17 minutes (depending how powerful your little, aging gas stove is). Scones should begin to turn light brown. Place on wire rack to cool. Or tuck in immediately!

“I remember all the shit I use to consume when I worked at Starbucks,” Andrea reminisced as we tucked into our freshly-baked scones.

“Yeah, there’s no need for them to pack thousands of calories into one baked good when all you need is flour, butter, an egg…all whole, simple ingredients,” pondered Cam.

We all nodded in agreement, our delightedly full mouths too content to allow otherwise.

Have a great Thanksgiving, folks.

the Great Pumpkin Cookie

In I like, Makings on October 2, 2010 at 5:47 PM

Along with Christmas, Hallowe’en is my favourite opportunity to get all nostalgic-like for my childhood.

I grew up in the small city of Vernon, British Columbia where the valley hills were filled with a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees.  A canvas for some spectacular autumn sunsets.

On my eager walks to a new year of school, I would try to linger longer on the tree-lined boulevards just to take in the smatterings of colours above my head and below my feet. Even at 25, I still go tearing into a pile of gutter-accumulated yellow leaves. The sound of their brushing and crunching, the smell of their earthy wood and grass, the astonishment of my fellow walkers at a grown woman sprinting and yelping — I just can’t help myself.

The other thing I love about autumn is PUMPKIN. And I don’t mean pie, darn it, give me cookies!

My mom loved making these moist and spicy creatures as soon as the Okanagan Valley air turned cool. And I had my hand in the cookie jar the moment I got home from school. I’ve never asked if the name was inspired by Linus’ late-night belief in a field god but this recipe definitely deserves a title of greatness. “I’ll gobble you up!” was my mantra to the Great Pumpkin, and they’ve become a staple in my own abode since I moved out.

Now, I like mine more pumpkin than sweet and buttery but if you prefer a standard cookie with just some pumpkin, put in a whole cup of butter, a cup each of the sugars, and just a cup of pumpkin. But note that where I cut sugar I make up with an ample amount of chocolate chips (obviously).

Also, this recipe makes about 4 dozen so don’t be afraid to put half of the mixed batter in the freezer (in an air-tight container). Sometimes it’s nice to have some in reserve.

The Great Pumpkin Cookie

1/4 cup butter (or margarine, as my mother would)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
healthy dash of vanilla extract
14 ounce can of pumpkin
2 cups flour
1 cup oats
1 teaspoon (and then some) cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

  1. Cream the butter with the sugars and beat with a wooden spoon until creamy.
  2. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until it’s a beautiful creamy, brown.
  3. Throw in the can of pumpkin; combine.
  4. Then what you really should do is in a separate bowl combine all the dry ingredients. But because I work in a one-bowl kinda kitchen, I just measure the flour, oats, spices, soda and salt on top of the wet mixture before stirring it all in! So it’s your call.
  5. Mix in the chocolate chips and use a small teaspoon to make heaping dollops of batter on a baking sheet (slightly greased or not, depending on your sheet; I don’t grease).
  6. Bake for 20 minutes in a 350*F oven.

And from my experience, it’s best to retain your excitement and let those cookies cool slightly before gobbling up four or five. Otherwise your scorched tongue, though thinking it happy to taste pumpkin, won’t get the full, blissful autumn effect. Ok? Now tell me what you think.