Category Archives: Pumpkin

Pumpkin Bar Cookies

I’ve got some bad news, guys.

I’ve developed a flour allergy.

You see, in addition to baking things in my spare time, I also work in a bakery. Not a legits bakery, mind you — you know, where stuff is made from scratch and everything — but still a bakery, nevertheless. Part of my job is setting up the bread dough for the next day. The dough is already pre-shaped, and I lay it out on trays, put it on racks, and stick it in the walk-in refrigerator.  One of the kinds of breads we have – kaiser rolls — has a lot of loose flour particles sitting around in the boxes, and I’ve been breathing this shit in for almost a year. A few months ago I started having intense sneezing and coughing sessions whenever I was setting up this particular dough.

Which is, you know. What a flour allergy is.

Some days are okay, with just a few sneezes and then it’s over. Other days, though — holy shit. Snot’s dribbling out of my nose and I’m sneezing five times a minute and I spend 10 minutes at a time in the back of the bakery, blowing my nose over and over and feeling like a huge pile of mucus-y crap.

I understand that this kind of allergy is common among bakers and people in the food preparation business, but it still sucks. I’ve even been considering getting a dorky medical mask to wear whenever I’m setting this dough up and seeing if that helps. That’s how bad it gets.

Don’t think this means I’m gonna stop baking, though! Fuck that noise, man. But after the fucked-up profiteroles from last time, I thought I should make something simpler again. Something I’ve made before but didn’t really get a chance to post on here — pumpkin cookies.

Some of you might remember last year, when I had that battle with the can of pumpkin while making pumpkin rolls. Happily, the tears and the fruitless hammering didn’t occur this time, and I was able to open the can of pumpkin by myself without having a mental breakdown.

https://i0.wp.com/oi53.tinypic.com/sm366f.jpg

Amazing! See, I can learn basic tasks like using a can opener. Take that, aluminum cans! Ha ha ha!

(For some reason, I could only find canned pumpkin at Trader Joe’s. None of the other supermarkets in my area had any canned pumpkin, which is just an outrage!)

The story behind these cookies is… well, I tried making them last year, as, y’know, regular cookies, using this recipe from Bakerella. But what I wound up with was a huge goddamn mess and something more like blobs of cookie rather than actual cookies. It tasted amazing and delicious, but I was upset that I couldn’t share it with others. Then, my mom got the idea to put the dough in an 8×8 pan, and it actually worked! And it was amazing and I would’ve eaten them all if I hadn’t brought them to work and everyone else ate them instead.

It seemed only fitting that I make these again, seeing as how it’s fall and EVERYTHING IS PUMPKIN AND NOTHING HURTS.

https://i0.wp.com/oi56.tinypic.com/14xcjrr.jpg

However, I modified the recipe for this slightly. Because I don’t have any pumpkin spice, and I didn’t feel like buying any, what I made to substitute is a teaspoon of allspice and 50 metric tons of cinnamon.

Well, all right, not that much cinnamon. But still a lot. And, to be honest, I never even measure it. I just dump a lot in there. A. Lot. Everything tastes better with cinnamon. Bacon probably even tastes better with cinnamon. I don’t know, I haven’t tried it. But it probably does.

I usually mix cookie dough together with my hands, but this time I changed it up and used my stand mixer. Except, um, it still didn’t cream the butter and sugar together properly. So I still had to do that part with my hands, but not for very long. I dunno, man, no matter what I do my butter never seems to cream with a mixer and I have to do it manually. I’m either doing it wrong or my mixers just suck. Maybe both.

https://i0.wp.com/oi52.tinypic.com/11vqp9c.jpg

I should’ve been able to make these a whole lot sooner. But life kept getting in the way. The major hindrance was that my camera appeared to have broken last week, but thankfully it turned out I had just pressed the viewfinder button. Which is great, because I would definitely not have been able to afford to get it repaired! Besides that, though, it was mostly work and my reluctance to get up ridiculously early in the morning to make cookies. I could never be an actual baker, I don’t think, flour allergy aside…

Anyway, it wasn’t that bad making these in a mixer. It doesn’t really provide for a variety of interesting photos, but there’s only so many angles you can get of food anyway. Of course, I’m not exactly a professional or naturally gifted photographer or anything, so.

https://i0.wp.com/oi51.tinypic.com/4joosz.jpg

It was at this point that the kitchen was filled a completely intoxicating, mouth-watering, delicious smell of cinnamon and pumpkin and autumn. Man, baking in the fall is the greatest. The weather is perfect, the trees with their orange and red leaves swaying the gentle breeze outside. The warm and comforting sweaters that hug your body as you eat apple and pumpkin flavored treats and sip tea. Autumn has a special kind of feeling to it, unlike any other season.

Plus, the bugs starts going away. That’s definitely a plus.

https://i0.wp.com/oi54.tinypic.com/15dp5if.jpg

IT’S SO SHINY!!!!!!!!

I think because I actually attempted to do this recipe mostly correctly, unlike last time when I just used Presto instead of self-rising flour (granted, I had to make the self-rising flour myself using baking powder and salt, but still), the dough actually came out the way it was supposed to. Which is why it took quite some time to bake in the pan, since these cookies are not supposed to be bar cookies. But too bad! I don’t play by the rules, man! I’m not a part of your system!

https://i0.wp.com/oi55.tinypic.com/bios1y.jpg

And oh God. These cookies are so freaking good. They’re soft, and cinnamon-y, and pumpkin-y, and they have chocolate chips and asdfghjkl JUST MAKE THEM. YOUR TASTEBUDS WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER.

I brought these to a showing of the infamous “film” The Room, which is the best worst movie of all time. Me, my hetero life mate Bonner, and her roommates all gathered around and cracked the fuck up at Tommy Wiseau’s undefinable accent and deplorable “acting” skills as we ate these awesome cookies. And everything was great, the end.

https://i0.wp.com/oi54.tinypic.com/otzy38.jpg

Here is my modified recipe, if you’re interested.

Pumpkin Bar Cookies

2 1/4 cup of self-rising flour

1 tsp allspice

2 tablespoon cinnamon (add more or less to taste)

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/4 cup of packed light brown sugar

1 cup  granulated sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Whisk together the flour, the allspice, and the cinnamon in a separate bowl and set aside. Cream the butter, then add the sugars and beat until fluffy. Pour in the vanilla extract, then add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined. Add the flour/spice in three additions, alternating with the pumpkin and ending with the flour. Dump in all the chocolate chips (yes, a whole goddamn bag, just do it and don’t question it) and stir. Spread the dough evenly in an 8×8 pan that’s either been sprayed with cooking spray or buttered, and store the rest in a covered container in the fridge for later use. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Let cool completely, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and flip the cookies onto a plate. Turn right side up and slice into squares. Serve and enjoy!

Pumpkin Rolls

Oh, man.

Once again, I’m doing Sugar High Friday, and this month’s challenge was to make anything with a center that is different from the outside. I decided to do pumpkin rolls, only instead of the traditional cream cheese filling, I used glorious Nutella instead. I did this for a couple reasons — 1) Nutella is delicious and I haven’t had it in a very long time, and 2) I really didn’t feel like making a cream cheese filling.

There were, of course, a few stumbling blocks on the way.

I actually intended to bake this thing yesterday, on my day off, but a horrible, terrifying tragedy occurred, leaving me unable to make the pumpkin roll until today.

I…

…couldn’t open the can of pumpkin.

https://i0.wp.com/oi53.tinypic.com/2myduh2.jpg

Before you point and laugh at me, just hear me out! I’ve never used a can opener in my life! And just look at this thing! If you’d never used a can opener before either, and you were all alone, with no one to help you, you too would start sobbing hysterically as you hit the can with a hammer.

https://i0.wp.com/oi56.tinypic.com/sl06pu.jpg

…Okay, maybe you wouldn’t.

I tried and tried and tried to get the can open. I tried stabbing it with a knife, but my arms were too thin and weak to pierce the aluminum. I tried flipping it upside down and rubbing the can vigorously across the counter, hobo-style. Didn’t work. I beat on it and beat on it, and only made slight dents.

I finally gave up after about half an hour, although even when my back was turned, I could still feel it… watching me… judging me…

I waited until later that night for my dad to get home so he could open it for me, which he did, laughing at me the entire time. I stored it in some tupperware in the fridge and vowed to conquer the pumpkin roll the next day.

That day would be today. I mixed together all the ingredients, tra la la la — then, because we are out of Pam, I had to flour and butter the jelly roll pan, which I have never done before. And when the roll came out of the oven, there was a huge spot of flour on the bottom.

https://i0.wp.com/oi52.tinypic.com/20axr90.jpg

I made the executive decision to do nothing. I know the flour will be eaten at some point, and a DD: face will be made, and I have not the time to care for such things.

I rolled the pumpkin cake thingy into a dishtowel and let it cool off. It was actually kind of neat. Steam was, like, coming out through the towel.

https://i0.wp.com/oi52.tinypic.com/16jjtd.jpg

After it cooled, I put it in the fridge for a bit, then unrolled it. And then, the coup de grace —

https://i0.wp.com/oi56.tinypic.com/b5s74w.jpg

NUTELLA. It’s pretty much just as good as I remembered. Although I’m not so sure it goes so great with these pumpkin rolls. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s delicious — but the peanut butter consistency makes it difficult to cut when you’re serving/eating it.

https://i0.wp.com/oi56.tinypic.com/5aj5p0.jpg

And, of course, when I rolled it back up, there was a huge crack. Why can’t most of the things I make be pretty, ever? Sigh. I loathe my clumsy hands. I also didn’t roll it up tight enough.

https://i0.wp.com/oi55.tinypic.com/fu84yd.jpg

But look at the Nutella on this knife instead. Yum.

I also like to employ my own method of cleaning:

https://i0.wp.com/oi53.tinypic.com/vq1aag.jpg

So, after it sat in the fridge again for a little bit, I had a slice. And it was all right. A little bit too pumpkin-y for my taste, though.

And I don’t feel like posting the entire recipe here, so you can just find it at the Joy of Baking website.