Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkinpocalypse 2013: The Bakering- Pumpkin Cookie Cake

This summer I played a fun game called "let's see how far I can bend my knee in an unnatural direction" (soon to be a major TV event on NBC). In the end, physics won that game, and one shiny new zombie knee later, I found myself confined to a recliner and missing the days of baking bliss in my kitchen. My poor stand mixer just sat there in its little corner all alone and abandoned. I would crutch by and not be able to look it in its face. Now that I'm finally back on my feet, I had two choices. Either I could take my newfound zombie knee strength and take the NFL by storm, or I could make it up to my beloved and neglected best kitchen (aid) buddy. Fame and fortune be damned! It was time to get back to work.
Why hello, old friend. Oh, how I have missed thee.
Since all of nature from my lattes to my beers has been taken over by the giant looming specter of the pumpkin, I figured there was no use fighting it. I would make my triumphant return to the kitchen with fall's greatest round orange thingy (after all this time, I still have a way with word type stuffs). Plus, it was time to show all my new coworkers who only knew me as that weird guy in shorts with a limp what my real expertise was in.

Pumpkin Cookie Cake (or cookies)
Adapted from BHG.com
Servings: 3 cakes, or 36 cookies (or 2 cakes and 16 cookies)
Time: 30 minutes


Don't even look at it! It's all mine!
2 cups butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla
1 15 oz can pumpkin
4 cups all-purpose flour
Walnuts (optional but highly recommended)

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla 
2- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. Whisk the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large bowl.
  3. Cream the butter using  a stand mixer at medium speed for 30 seconds until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and combine well.
  5. Mix in the eggs one at a time.
  6. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin.
  7. Marvel at the disgusting mix that stands before you.
  8. Gradually add in the flour until just incorporated.
  9. Marvel at the delicious bowl of batter in front of you and vow to horde it for yourself.
  10. Stir in walnuts if necessary (you really should to add some crunch).
  11. Drop in tbsp sized lumps on baking sheets covered in wax paper or spread in a round baking pan (it rises a lot, so don't fill it too much).
  12. For cookie cakes, bake 14-16 minutes or 12-14 minutes for cookies (basically until the top sets).
  13. Let cool on a wire rack.
  14. Decide that 2 cups of sugar weren't enough and vow to fight this injustice by making frosting.
  15. Melt the butter and brown sugar together in a saucepan over medium heat. Remove.
  16. Mix in the milk and vanilla then slowly add the powdered sugar until it reaches your desired thickness (not too liquidy) and sweetness.
  17. Once the cookie (cake) has cooled, spread on a thin layer of the frosting and let it set.
  18. Realize you still have almost an entire bowl of super sugar.
    This is what I imagine tooth lava would look like (note: it looks better on the cookies).
    I decided to make some pumpkin cookies so I would have an excuse to browse Better Home and Garden's website that I could emphasize the sweetness of pumpkins to go with some healthier and muffins focusing on pumpkin spiciness (stay tuned, true believers!). After I baked my first batch of cookies, I was a little concerned with how they were setting and their general super softness. So I improvised! I threw the rest of the batter in two round baking pans and mixed in some walnuts to create the only thing that could possibly outshine the brilliance of a cookie- a cookie cake (at least until I figure out how to make a cookie cake pie).
    In between the sugary frosting and moist cake lies a majestic top layer of buttery cookie goodness.
    In the end, I had two amazing treats for the effort of one. The cookies were extremely light and really showcased the smoothness that is pumpkin, but the cookie cake really raised the bar. The cookie cake baked beautifully, providing a moist cake with a buttery top that was truly melt in your mouth. The frosting added another layer of almost mapley sweetness (but beware, a little goes a long way), while the walnuts provided some much needed crunch to balance the smooth pumpkin cookieness (man, I missed making up food words). This truly is a great way to explain to someone why pumpkin is so amazing because it really stands on its on in these cookies without being bolstered up by an overabundance of spices (I saved that for the next one).
    Cookies are great and all but why not have the best of both worlds by putting them in cake form?
    This cookie (cake) was enough to make me thoroughly satisfied with diving back into baking madness, but could my healthy option, Pumpkin Chai Muffins, raise my baking confidence and ego to even higher, almost unsafe levels? Check back tomorrow to find out.

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