Crispy Acorn Squash Fries with Cheddar-Sage Sauce

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A reader asked me if I could make something with a squash besides butternut squash and zucchini, and I was immediately intrigued to take the challenge. There are so many scrumptious squashes out there, but butternut is admittedly my go-to fall/winter squash, and zucchini is my go-to summer squash, so I often forget to use anything else. I hadn’t realized that I was giving other squashes the cold shoulder until my reader made that request.

The first squash that came to mind was acorn squash. It has been so long since I’ve eaten it that I couldn’t tell you the last time, but I know I enjoyed it as a kid at some point. I remembered its mild, sweet squash flavor, and knew there were endless possibilities for it.

I could’ve done the typical gratin or bake, but this is The Smart Cookie Cook, and we shake things up around here. So, I dreamed up these Acorn Squash Fries with Cheddar-Sage Sauce, and without realizing it, made the best fall appetizer you’ll have all season.

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A bold claim that may be, but I stand by it. I dunked the first of these golden brown beauties into the creamy, thick cheese sauce laced with that distinctly fall-like flavor of sage, took my first bite that sank through crunchtastic seasoned breading to a melt-in-your-mouth interior, and I knew I had something special. It was beautiful how the sweetness and savoriness played off of one another. And although I went in planning to only try a couple, I split the entire thing with my boyfriend.

He too was amazed at how good these were. Just one fry was enough to ignite a frenzy within him, and he threatened he might not share any of it with me. Of course, I was having none of that. Our compromise was sharing.

And now, I’m sharing the recipe with you so you can enjoy the crunchiest, tastiest finger food you’ll find this fall. Even as a lover of squash, I never knew squash could taste this good. Whether you’re talking game day eats or holiday appetizers, you’d be a fool not to serve these Acorn Squash Fries with Cheddar Sage Sauce.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you’re looking for more unexpected ways to enjoy squash, try my famous Butternut Squash & Caramelized Onion Mac & Cheese. It’s a favorite among many, myself included.
  2. Milk can be subbed for the cream in the breading.
  3. You can also add the fresh sage to the breading, if you’d like.
  4. Acorn squash is a pain to work with, and I haven’t figured out a good way of removing the skin. If y’all have suggestions, let me know. That being said, I promise it’s worth it in the end.
  5. Be patient. These will take a little while to get good and brown, but you want to make sure they’re super crunchy.
  6. Use fresh sage, or don’t bother at all.

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Acorn Squash Fries with Cheddar Sage Sauce
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Easily serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 acorn squash, halved
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped sage
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • ½ tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the squash cut side-up on the pan. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool enough so you can handle it.
  2. Remove skins and discard. Cut squash in 1-inch thick strips (it doesn’t’ have to be exact, just go for a fry-like size). Try to keep them all close in size so they cook evenly.
  3. Turn oven up to 400 degrees. Place a fresh piece of foil on baking sheet and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Place eggs and cream in a shallow bowl and lightly whisk together. Place flour in another shallow bowl, and the breadcrumbs in a third bowl. Take a fry and dip it in the flour, coating the entire thing. Then dunk it in the egg/cream mixture so it coats completely and finish with a dip in the breadcrumbs, making sure the whole fry is covered. Place on baking sheet.
  5. Once all fries are coated and on the pan in a single layer, sprinkle with salt and oil. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, flipping after 20 minutes, or until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and whisk in flour. Immediately whisk in 1 cup of the cream until completely free of lumps. Sprinkle in sage then cover and let simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes, making sure it does not boil.
  7. Turn heat to low and whisk in cheeses and salt until smooth and melted. Whisk in the remaining ½ cup of cream.
  8. Serve fries with cheese dip. Enjoy.

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Caramel Apple Trifle (Made with Cider Donuts!)

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Around here, when fall arrives, one of the things we locals look forward to most is the opening of the cider mills. Locals will argue over which has the best cider and the best donuts, and maybe I’m bias for having lived in Clinton for six years, but I am partial to the Clinton Cider Mill. Their cider, and especially their donuts, are unparalleled.

Since high school, I moved a few miles away from the Clinton Cider Mill. I used to go to school right next door and got spoiled. Ever since they opened for the season, I’ve been looking for an excuse to pop over. What better an excuse than for recipe-crafting?

That’s where this towering Caramel Apple Trifle came into play. Caramel apple stuff is big this season, and I had a reader ask me for apple recipes, but the question was: how could I step it up? I needed the Cider Mill’s help; I needed their donuts.

That’s right, folks. I put The Cider Mill’s incredible, fluffy, moist cider donuts into the Caramel Apple Trifle – two layers of them, to be exact. I could have just done pound cake or graham cracker crumbs, but what fun what that have been? This trifle needed an upgrade from local flavor.

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My one worry was that this could wind up being too rich, but I was pleasantly surprised by how light this dessert actually tasted. My army of taste-testers agreed – this was a light, dreamy dessert that was effortless to eat and enjoy. It’s built on layers of cool, cloud-like caramel whipped cream filling, spiced apple slices, crunchy pecans, and of course, those amazing cider donuts.

Now, if you don’t live just a few minutes away from the Clinton Cider Mill like I do, that doesn’t mean you can’t make this gorgeous fall trifle. It’s quite likely that you’ve got your own local cider mill or bakery churning out fresh cider donuts.

That being said, if you can get your butt to the Clinton Cider Mill, do it now and make this trifle. I assembled it under 30 minutes. That’s almost too good for a dessert this beautiful.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you can’t find cider donuts at all, plain cake donuts will do the job.
  2. You can turn this into individual parfaits, if you prefer.
  3. If you over-whip cream, it turns into butter, so be careful.
  4. The best part about trifles is that they’re even better the next day, and the day after that.
  5. Think of a trifle as a dessert lasagna. It looks impressive as a whole, but you’ll be scooping up a pile of it to serve it, and it won’t be perfect, but it will be delicious.

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Caramel Apple Trifle
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 10 Clinton Cider Mill Cider Donuts, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 package Jell-O Instant Vanilla Pudding
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup caramel sauce (I used Mrs. Richardson’s)
  • 2 20-oz. cans apple pie filling
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Directions:

  1. Prepare pudding mix according to box directions. Set aside.
  2. Place cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until it starts to thicken. Add caramel and continue to beat until stiff peaks form. It should be thick and whipped, but be careful not to overwhip.
  3. Fold in 1 cup of the pudding. You can save the remaining pudding or discard.
  4. Cover the bottom of a trifle dish with a single layer of the donut chunks, using half of them. Spread 1/3 of the filling on top and smooth in an even layer. Top with a layer of the apples, using about ½ of one can. Sprinkle with a bit of cinnamon and half the pecans. Repeat, topping everything with one last layer of cream. Here is the final order: donut, filling, apple, cinnamon, pecans; donut, filling, apple, cinnamon, pecan; filling. You can add a final dusting of cinnamon for show, if you like.
  5. Cover with cling wrap and chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Scoop out into bowls to serve. Store covered in the fridge.

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Fudge Swirled Pumpkin Brownies

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As y’all know, I haven’t been in the greatest shape lately. I was unfortunate enough to get slammed with mono a week before my sister’s wedding and in the middle of the semester, and it knocked me down hard. I am typically a champ at powering through illnesses, to the point where I get yelled at because I don’t know when to back off. Mono, however, sucked the life out of me. I had no energy, no ability to get out of bed without less than 12 hours asleep, and then I’d still need naps every few hours. It’s the worst I’ve ever felt.

You can imagine I haven’t been a peach to deal with. And yet, Ry has been by my side the entire time, risking his own health to take care of me. He’s driven me around to my doctor’s appointments and for blood work, he’s lied around with me, and he’s been ridiculously patient.

I’m still not cured; mono doesn’t go away in a week. I am, however, feeling much less symptomatic, and I’ve been able to start slowly functioning again. Right now, I’d say I’m operating at 70%.

I got my butt back in the kitchen this week, which was a lovely feeling. I decided to make something to thank Ry for being so patient with me. Given that we’ve been drinking Pumpkin Mocha Coffees from Dunkin Donuts like they’re going out of style, I decided to use those flavors in my treats for him.

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These Fudge Swirled Pumpkin Brownies were very quick and easy for my fatigued little self to make, and the recipe yielded a wonderfully moist and rich bar with perfect pumpkin flavor. Every bar sings with the sweetness of cinnamon and other warm spices, while an injection of fudge swirls throughout.

My Fudge Swirled Pumpkin Brownies are particularly delectable to enjoy warm and topped with vanilla ice cream. This is how I plan to surprise Ry with the bars tonight. Hopefully, he’ll love them as much as I think he’s going to.

When you’re craving a wonderful fall treat without a lot of fuss, this is the recipe to remember. You don’t need to chill dough or dirty a lot of dishes; it’s simple, it smells incredible, and even my unreliable appetite these days is craving it right now.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on-hand, sub in ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. allspice, 1/8 tsp. nutmeg, and ¼ tsp. clove.
  2. If you’d like some crunch, feel free to add chopped walnuts or pecans.
  3. The key to a nice, moist bar is not overmixing. Only mix as much as is necessary to combine the ingredients.
  4. Feeding a crowd? Double the recipe and bake in a 9×13 pan.
  5. For more pumpkin-chocolate goodness, enjoy these No-Bake Pumpkin Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls.

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Fudge Swirled Pumpkin Brownies
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • ½ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup fudge sauce

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8×8 pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper so that the excess hangs over the sides of the pans. (This extra paper will later be used as a handle to help free the brownies)
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt until well-combined. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use a hand beater on the lowest setting to gently beat together butter, both sugars, and pumpkin just until evenly-combined and smooth. Add the egg and vanilla and whisk gently by hand just until well-combined. Do not overmix.
  4. Transfer batter to prepared pan and spread out in an even layer. Drizzle with fudge and use a butter knife to swirl the fudge into the batter. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely before working a knife around the edge of the brownies to loosen. Use the parchment paper to help lift the brownies out. Cut into squares. You can eat them as is, heat them up and serve with ice cream or store in an air-tight container.

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Smart Cookie Shopping 37: Caramel Apple Treats, Tricks & More

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Were you worried I’ve been too ill to go aisle-surfing for Smart Cookie Shopping? Never fear! I have still been scooping the grocery store shelves for the latest products to review for you because even sick people have to eat. Not to mention, I’m feeling better to the point where my appetite is slowly crawling back to me.

This time around, we’re seeing more and more fall treats springing up, plus a few other noteworthy mentions. What’s worth jotting down on your grocery list, and what should you avoid like the plague? That’s what I’m here to tell you.

So saddle up your grocery carts, and let’s hit the aisles.

1. Jones Caramel Apple Soda available in some grocery stores, likely with the Halloween candy

This soda fell flat (get it?). It just tasted like sparkling cider and was lacking in the caramel department. I do, however, enjoy the portion size.

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2. Garden Lites Zucchini Chocolate Chip Banana Veggie Muffins available in the frozen section near the breakfast foods and/or organic foods

Okay, these don’t sound very appetizing, but MAN, they are scrumptious! They’re so moist and satisfying, and they don’t taste near as healthy as they are. Yay for hidden veggies! This is a must-buy.

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3. Wilton Candy Bloody Eyeballs available near the Halloween stuff in Walmart

I dabbled into the spooky fun of candy eyeballs before, but the fact that these are “bloody” makes them even cooler. Be on the lookout for some scary sweet treats made with these. The possibilities are endless.

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4. Caramel Apple Oreos available at Target

Really, I bought these to curb my bitterness over not having found the Pumpkin Spice Oreos yet. These are about as good as a Caramel Apple Oreo can be. I don’t think it’s a necessary flavor combo, but it could’ve been worse. The caramel-apple flavor balance is done well.

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5. Dole Roasted Garlic Tomato Basil Garden Soup available in the soup section

This is much better and more flavorful than your standard Campbell’s soup option, but still doesn’t beat homemade. It’s good for dipping grilled cheese in, but not as a stand-alone soup.

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6. P28 High-Protein Bread available through your local gym

This isn’t actually a new product, but new to me. Just one slice has 14 grams of protein; so if you make a sandwich, that’s 28 grams of protein from the bread alone. The texture is surprisingly still quite bread-like, but slightly chewier. One slice is seriously filling and keeps me going all morning. I like to toast it with butter or peanut butter. Be warned though – it’s pricey.

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7. Candy Corn Mini Hershey Bars available near the Halloween candy

If you’ve tried the Candy Corn Hershey Kisses, these are the same thing in bar form (shocker, right?). I just can’t get behind candy corn chocolate. It’s too sweet, and I never think things are too sweet.

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8. Caramel Macchiatto Candy Corn available near the Halloween candy (I found it at Walgreens)

This flavor is spot-on. Yes, it’s quite sweet, but no more so than regular candy corn. I really did enjoy it in small doses.

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That’s it for this round-up. Which of these products will you try?

Brown Sugar Spiced Roasted Chickpeas

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When I was younger, snacks were the least important meals of my day. If I didn’t get them, I didn’t care. What I looked forward to most was lunch and dinner (okay, and dessert too).

My appetite was also a whole lot different then, and I could get away with waiting hours upon hours between meals. But such is no longer the case. If I don’t eat every 3-4 hours, I’m starving and sluggish. Snacks have gone from a food group I couldn’t care less about to an essential and exciting part of my every day.

I’ve learned the fine art of selecting snacks that give you a lot of bang for your buck, like bananas, apples, hummus, and Beanitos. It’s easy to get into a rut though and become tired of shoveling down the same snack day after day. Even I, the Hummus Queen, can only eat so much of it.

But what about another way to enjoy chickpeas, like roasting them, for example? I love me some roasted chickpeas because they’re crunchy and craving-killing like chips, but much better for you. My Brown Sugar Spiced Roasted Chickpeas are a fun fall-inspired way to enjoy this favorite snack, and they can be whipped up in minutes.

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I make some of the crispiest, crunchiest chickpeas around because of my top-secret drying method. Okay, it ain’t a secret, seeing as I’m going to share it with you today. I blow dry my chickpeas. That’s right; I grab my hairdryer from the bathroom and let it cross over into the kitchen. This makes the chickpeas dry as a bone so they’ll bake up extremely crunchy, with not a soggy chickpea to be seen.

The honey and brown sugar create a sweet glaze, intermingling with the spices to create multiple levels of flavor. It’s a salty-sweet snack unlike anything you’re used to, and it’s got protein to make it filling as well. You do have to be careful though because one handful quickly turns into five.

That’s the price we pay for a scrumptious snack.

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A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1.  It sounds like a long cooking time, but you will really need it to get these nice and crisped.
  2. Be sure to stir these every now and then so they cook evenly.
  3. For a savory version, skip the honey, sugar, and spices and try 2 tsp. of olive oil. You can add whatever seasoning you like.
  4. Roasted chickpeas make a great salad topping.

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Brown Sugar Spiced Roasted Chickpeas
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 16.oz-can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp. salt

Directions:

  1. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Set aside.
  2. Place a large sheet of aluminum foil on a flat surface and place the chickpeas in the center of it in a mound. Fold the edges of the aluminum up around the chickpeas to create a bowl. Stick a hairdryer into the “bowl” on low power, high heat and dry the chickpeas, shaking them around a bit. Dry for at least 5 minutes, or until they’re completely dry to the touch.
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  3. Transfer chickpeas to a medium mixing bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and stir well until evenly coated. Transfer to prepared pan in an even layer and bake for 45-50 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes, or until golden brown. Enjoy.

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2-Ingredient Nutellla Chocolate Chip Cookies

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For those of you who’ve been wondering, the diagnosis is mono. As someone who’s constantly go-go-going, I am not happy at all, and it is very hard for me to take my only prescription: rest. I’m trying though. That has meant less time in the kitchen.

However, during one of my stints of having an appetite the other day, I needed cookies. And since I haven’t been hungry often lately, I was not going to argue with my cravings. The only problem was, I certainly didn’t have the strength to stand on my feet scooping out scratch-made cookies, so I decided a semi-homemade approach would be the ideal solution.

That’s where these 2-Ingredient Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies came into play. They are my lazy girl solution to making a fresh, warm batch of cookies. All I used was Tollhouse cookie dough and Nutella. I swirled them together, plopped little dollops onto the tray, and baked them up in just minutes.

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If I slipped you one of these swirled sweeties, you’d never know I cheated. They’re so super chewy that you’d swear I must have made them from scratch. But alas, they’re two lousy ingredients, and they’re scrumptious as can be.

Are you deceptive if you whip these Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies up and pass them off as homemade? Am I? I don’t know, but I don’t think it matters. Part of being the Smart Cookie Cook is being a little bit sneaky. It’s a part of my charm, don’t you know?

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. You mix the Nutella in more or less depending on what visual effect you’d like.
  2. As do most pre-made cookie doughs, these go from done to burnt quickly, so you’ve got to keep an eye on them.
  3. These are great with ice cream sandwiched in between.

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2-Ingredient Nutella Chocolate Chip Cookies
By The Smart Cookie Cook

Ingredients:

  • 1 16.5-oz. package Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 cup Nutella

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Using a hand beater or wooden spoon, mix in Nutella until evenly combined. Form into scant tablespoons and place on baking sheet, 2 inches apart.
  3. Bake for 8 minutes or until puffed and set. Let cool slightly then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely. Store in an air-tight container.

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12 Food Matches Made in Heaven

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Everyone’s definition of heaven is different. Not everyone thinks it exists. All I know is that, if there is a heaven, then there has got to be good food there. And if there isn’t one, then we can make our own right here, right now with the foods that make every day amazing.

One thing The Smart Cookie Cook does well is construct incredible food hybrids. I know what foods work together, and I guess you could call me a culinary mad scientist of sorts. The fusions I fashion are not always expected. Sometimes, you just need your eyes opened to a beautiful pairing. Other times, of course, a duo that has stood the test of time reminds us of its perfection.

Today, I’ve compiled my favorite food matches made in heaven so we can all have a little divinity to our days.

  1. Loaded Cheese Fries Grilled Cheese – The two greatest cheese-covered foods are a couple now, and they’re hot.
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  2. Brownie-Stuffed Peanut Butter Cups – What a beautiful chocolate-peanut butter union.
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  3. Eggplant Parmesan Grilled Cheese – I love eggplant parm (who doesn’t?), but I haven’t the patience to build a whole casserole, bake it, and tangle with cutting it to eat it. Why not make it in 30 minutes and eat it with your hands instead?
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  4. Vodka Blush Pizza – Blush sauce on pizza? Just when you thought pizza couldn’t get any better!
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  5. Mac & Cheese Garlic Bread – You already love a crusty, garlicky breadcrumb topping on mac and cheese, so why not reverse it?
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  6. French Toasted Donuts – Two breakfast powerhouses working together in an unbeatable treat.

    Made this French Toasted Donut at 11pm

  7. Tater Tot Tacos with Queso Sauce – Does your favorite crunchy side dish belong atop your favorite weeknight meal? Yes, sir.
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  8. Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini – Pumpkin and alfredo should have found each other sooner.
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  9. Hello Dolly Ice Cream – everyone’s favorite cookie bar and cool ice cream come together.
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  10. Garlic Bread Pizzas – It just makes sense.
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  11. Skillet Pizza Monkey Bread – Monkey bread just met it’s cheesy soulmate.
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  12. Waffle Brownies – The best way to eat a hot, fresh brownie buried in ice cream.

    img_1984What food couples do YOU consider a match made in heaven?

Smart Cookie Health Update

I’ve got some bad news: I’m still sick. Naturally, doctors are taking their merry time to tell me what exactly is wrong, but in the meantime, I’m trying to rest and stay nourished. I want to warn you guys that I don’t know how consistent posting will be this week because I am so weighed down by this, and nobody wants to eat what you make when you’re sick anyway, so I’ve got no one to give my food too. Let’s hope for a quick turn-around so I can keep churning out new things for you.

Please bear with me. Hopefully I’ll have something for you tommorrow.

Spiced Pumpkin Latte Cookies

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I’m persistent in the kitchen when it comes to baking blunders, but even I have to know when it’s time to throw in the towel. You see, I’d been sick all weekend, and all I wanted yesterday were some gosh darn pancakes, so I stupidly thought it’d be easy to throw them together from scratch without referencing a recipe. I went through two batches, and although the second batch was at least an improvement, neither were passable as p-cakes. So, I went and ate away my distress with appetizers from Applebee’s, then came back and regrouped.

Thank goodness my second attempt in the kitchen went better than the first, or we wouldn’t have these Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies to chat about. Everyone goes crazy for their hot pumpkin-flavored beverages this time of year like pumpkin spice coffees from Dunkin Donuts or pumpkin spice lattes from Starbucks, so I thought it’d be even more fun to fuse those flavors into a handheld treat.

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The original pumpkin cookie recipe that I adapted here is one of my favorite recipes of all time because it yields cookies that are so soft, they melt away on your tongue, and the pumpkin flavor is just right. They’re so tasty, you’d think they should be illegal. Plus, you can enjoy ‘em plain or with a multitude of frostings and glazes.

Today, we will be covering our little pumpkin clouds with a dollop of fluffy whipped cream, the ideal not-too-sweet topping for a latte. This is a “me time” kind of cookie, one you’ll want to enjoy in solitude so you can close your eyes and let the cookie’s comforting spices take you away to your favorite coffee shop.

Why don’t we give those java joints a run for their money this season? Their drinks just can’t compare to my Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies.

A Few Tips Before You Get Cooking:

  1. If you want to keep things simple, the topping is optional.
  2. Never skip chilling time. It lets the flavors come together and ensures a puffier cookie.
  3. Mini chocolate chips might be lovely in here as well.
  4. Never overbake! That’s the key to a super soft cookie.
  5. I always recommend working with parchment paper. It ensure a clean break for the cookies every time.
  6. If you want something else to do with that espresso powder, try my Mocha Brownie Fudge.
For the cookies

For the cookies

For the whipped cream

For the whipped cream

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cookies

Yield: about 30 cookies

Ingredients:

For the cookies
Cookies adapted from Food.com

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. espresso powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

For the whipped cream
Glaze by The Smart Cookie Cook

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tbsp. corn starch

Directions:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, espresso powder and salt.
  2. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter and the sugars together until light and fluffy.
  3. Blend in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix in the flour mixture on low-speed a little bit at a time. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before continuing.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Drop tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake the cookies for 8 to 10 minutes until puffed and set.
  5. Let cool on trays for 2 minutes then transfer to wire racks. Let cool completely.
  6. Make the whipped cream: place cream, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and beat on high with a hand mixer until it starts to thicken up. Add the cornstarch and continue to beat until stiff peaks have formed. Spread a scant tablespoon on each cookie.
  7. Store cookies in fridge in an air-tight container.

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The Weekender: Weddings, Illness, & Cuteness

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This week was rough because I got hit with the weirdest flu, and it knocked me down hard. I even lost my appetite, and we all know how rare of an occasion that is. Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m feeling much better. Every time I show improvement, I crash again.

You know what will cheer me up though? Talking about food. We’ve got a whole week’s worth of recipes to help up.

Let’s review, shall we?

  1. Pumpkin Brownie Milkshake
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  2. Mocha Brownie Fudge
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  3. Fresh Mozzarella, Eggplant & Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Skillet
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  4. Smart Cookie Shopping 36SCS 36

When you’re feeling sick, it’s nice to know you’re cared about. I wouldn’t know how that feels though because Mother Cookie says stuff like this to me:

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It’s okay; she was just kidding. I think.

Most of the time, it feels like she loves my babies more than me, but I really can’t blame her for that. I mean, just look at that face! Y’all went crazy for this one on my Instagram. If you’re not following me yet, it’s a great way to go behind the scenes and see recipes before they make it on the site. Plus, you get to see daily cuteness like this.

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On another note, Sister Cookie gets married in less than two weeks, and I think everyone in the Cookie family is going nuts in preparation. Weddings sure are a lot of work! Plus, being the Maid of Honor comes with a ton of pressure. I hope I don’t crumble like a cookie beneath it.

Wish us luck!

DSC08112That’s it for this week’s edition of The Weekender. See you on Monday!