I love getting ready for the holidays! When I get out the hats, gloves, gear and decorations I immediately think of festivities and spending much loved time with friends and family. Part of what makes the getting together so special is the prep work.
In my house that means going through recipe books, picking out old and new favorites and getting cooking and baking! There’s a long standing tradition where not only do we swap treats with loved ones but the plates and bowls get passed around as well. Look what I’ll passing along this year.
When I get to baking one of the things I love is that all the ingredients are organized and accessible in my pantry. A while back I started keeping flour and sugar in large clear glass containers. It keeps the area much cleaner than having paper bags and boxes and you can also eyeball how much of each ingredient you have on hand. For spices, I keep all of my “most used” items together on a shelf and label all of the tops for easy access. Those that are not used regularly are kept in a small plastic container and tops are labeled so I can grab them as needed and I don’t end up with a gazillion small jars of nutmeg, allspice or something else I rarely use except around the holidays.
Here’s a favorite recipe of mine that I have altered in numerous ways. It’s great from Halloween all the way through New Year’s. Enjoy and happy baking!!
Sweet Pumpkin Cookies – from “Moosewood Restaurant New Classics”
Yields about 42 cookies
Prep time: 25 minutes
Baking Time: 10-15 minutes
1 cup butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups unbleached all purpose white flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup toasted peanuts
1 cup raisins
½ cup chocolate chips
Variations or additions: craisins, almonds, white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375*
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla and mix until well blended. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, allspice, and salt, and add to the mixing bowl. Stir well to form a soft batter. Stir in the chopped nuts, raisins, and, if you like, the chocolate chips.
Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto a large, unoiled baking sheet allowing a little space for the cookies to spread as they bake. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cookies just begin to brown slightly on the bottom. Use a spatula to transfer to a cooling rack or plate. Enjoy by yourself or with friends and family!