Yeah, I know. Halloween was forever ago. But I'm posting a full week earlier than I did my Halloween post last year. As long as I'm improving, right? Trust me, what I made is worth the wait. But I won't make you wait any longer. As I mentioned before, I had some friends over for dessert on Halloween. I was feeling kind of down since I had wanted to do a full dinner party, but I ended up not having the time because I was sent out of town for work and didn't get back in town until Friday afternoon, which wouldn't have left me enough time to grocery shop and prep and cook. But it was just as well since all my friends either didn't want to come or said they would come later, after dinner and trick or treating. So it turned into a dessert night. I could have had some fun with that, but again, the despondency and time crunch left me feeling like baking something easy, like cookies! So I made two kinds of cookies. I'll cut right to the chase and start out with what I teased earlier:
- Pumpkin butterscotch cookies, courtesy of Joy the Baker. I am seriously drooling over the memory of these cookies. They are...just...amazing. First of all butterscotch and pumpkin are officially a match made in heaven. At first Husband scoffed when I said I was making two kinds of cookies and neither would have chocolate. He asked if I could make a smaller batch of the pumpkin cookies for him with chocolate chips instead of butterscotch chips. I told him I didn't take requests and he could at least try the recipe before he poo-pooed it. And I'm so glad I did! And so was he! We both agreed that the flavors were excellent together. He didn't mention chocolate the rest of the night (unless it was to ask someone to pass him a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup). And the cookies themselves were amazing too. They're like little cakes. Of course, I hesitate to use the word "little", since they are anything but. These cookies were huge! I think next time I might make them a bit smaller, just so I don't feel like puking after I eat three (that night was very unfriendly to my waistline). How light and fluffy were they? Well as you see from the picture to the right, some of the butterscotch chips were too heavy to rise with the dough itself, so the cookies ended up looking a bit dimpled. It was actually kind of neat looking. It didn't affect the overall texture or flavor of the cookie, so no worries. These were a huge crowd pleaser. When each guest tried one you could see their faces go from surprise to ecstasy and back to surprise in seconds. Hehe. Biting into one of these cookies was like biting into a cloud, sweet with the flavor of pumpkin, and then inside the delicious cloud is a surprise! A butterscotch chip that has a soft and oh so sweet crunch. Oh man. Go make these! You won't be disappointed!
- Chai oatmeal cookies, courtesy of Appetite for China. Don't ask me how I found this blog. I have no idea. But chai spices in a cookie had me intrigued, so I saved it off. I made these cookies once before and had liked them, so I thought it would be a good choice for my dessert night. I wanted something I knew I would like. The recipe is allllll the way at the end of the post. Keep scrolling, it's there. As as you can see, mine spread out a bit more than hers did. Whoops! Perhaps the butter was too warm? Either way, these still tasted great. As I always say, I'm a sucker for cardamom. The chai spices definitely give this cookie an interesting flavor. I think it makes them a bit more fun than just regular oatmeal, or even oatmeal with chocolate chips. Oh, and I didn't put chocolate chips in these because I don't think chocolate would have gone very well with the chai spices. But I'll bet some walnuts would have been a good addition. Hmm...maybe next time. Also, next time I want to try a different oatmeal cookie recipe to incorporate the spices into. I like the flavors, but I think there's a better recipe out there for the overall texture.
- I also made spiced apple cider for the first time. It turned out fantastic! I didn't find a recipe I really liked, so I ended up borrowing from several of them. This one from The Kitchn is pretty close to what I ended up doing. I already have the ingredients to make this again, so I'll post a full recipe when I do that and manage to snap a descent picture or two. I ended up making a gallon and a half, but next time I'll do the two full gallons that come in the apple cider bottle because it went too quickly! I combined that with 1 orange, quartered, then I threw in about 10 cloves, 3 cinnamon sticks, and 2 star anise pods. I didn't have whole nutmeg (I do now!), so I threw in about 1/2 a teaspoon of grated nutmeg. Oh, and I may have added a pinch of brown sugar, but I actually don't think it was needed. I just simmered than for about 20 minutes, then strained it. And voila! Spiced apple cider! This was surprisingly good. It was sweet and immediately put me in the mood for the holidays. Drinks like this just put a smile on my face. I made this along with the cookies because I was in the kitchen, but I hadn't made it with the intention of specifically serving it to my guests. I figured people would want the sodas and alcoholic beverages I had stocked. But surprisingly, each and every guest opted for some of the cider when I mentioned it. And they seemed to like it! Husband said he though they may have just been acting polite and requesting it because they knew I made it. I told him I hope not because they drank all my cider, so it better have been because they wanted it! Heh.