Category Archives: Food

Bake Pumpkin Cookies for Halloween

pumpkin cookies

Pumpkin cookies with chocolate kisses

When were chocolate kisses invented?  How did we survive without them? Particularly when making cookies like these luscious soft, mildly spicy, pumpkin cookies. Go straight for the chocolate, or take bites around the edges and let each bite melt in your mouth before munching the chocolate–either way this is just about the perfect cookie.

Actually Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, have been around since 1907. [In 1907, my mother was one year old and my father had not yet been born. So not only have Kisses been around my entire life, but my parents’ as well.] While that article I linked in the previous sentence talks about red green and silver foil for Christmas, we know that not only have the foil colors expanded, but kisses are no longer limited to dark brown milk chocolate. Flavors this time of year include pumpkin spice kisses!

Naturally, the Hershey company encourages you to bake with their chocolate (or other flavors) kisses.  Their website shares some great recipes.

I am still in my pumpkin phase, and wanted to use up some of that pureed pumpkin I made from baked pie pumpkins.  To kick it up a bit, I added a kiss to each cookie. But being a traditionalist, I used milk chocolate kisses.

You can make pumpkin cookies with a glaze, with cream cheese frosting, with maple frosting (Mmmmm, that sounds good!) , with chocolate chips and/or nuts inside the cookies or leave them clean.

While you can find several recipes on line, I particularly like this one because it offers a solution to how in the world can you store cookies with kisses on top?  After all they have a pretty point on top and that is bound to get broken when you stack the cookies with the tip pointing up.

[Spoiler Alert] Brilliant solution:  turn the kisses upside down.

Pumpkin Cookies

Serves 24-30
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 22 minutes
Allergy Egg, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin (canned or freshly baked)
  • 2 cups flour

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper, or lightly grease.
2. Beat butter with electric mixer until smooth.
3. Beat in brown sugar
4. Stir or beat in pumpkin, spices, vanilla, egg
5. Whisk together baking soda and baking powder with flour, and then beat the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture.
6. Drop by tablespoon unto cookie sheets. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned on edges and firm on top.
7. Take from cookie sheet onto cooling rack. Place a chocolate kiss upside down in center of each cookie and let cool.

 

Stuffed Pumpkin: Savory or Sweet

Pie Pumpkins

Pie Pumpkinsl for baking stuffed pumpkin

Our pioneer grandmothers cooked a lot of pumpkins before they could get their proper gardens going.  Do you suppose they ever got bored with plain slices of pumpkin or mashed pumpkin?

I have been experimenting with some of those cute little pie pumpkins, and decided to share with you two stuffed pumpkin recipes, although the directions are pretty vague.  You may have tried out the macaroni baked in a pie pumpkin, but if you did not, you might want to look back there for more info on pie pumpkins and how they differ from the Jack-o-Lantern pumpkins.

Not only did I make stuffed pumpkins, I  also baked a couple of the pie pumpkins and scoop out the meat, which I pureed with my hand blender. I used the puree in cookies (recipe coming soon) and waffles.

Now that you understand the benefits of pie pumpkins–here we go with two other ideas for using the pie pumpkins for stuffed pumpkin dishes.

Savory Stuffed Pumpkins

My savory stuffed pumpkins started with a box of Baby Bella Mushrooms. I only needed seven for one pumpkin.

Mushrooms

Baby bell mushrooms

After buttering the inside of the pumpkins, I chopped the mushrooms and added a little salt, a little thyme and a lot of parsley.

Mushroom mixture for stuffed pumpkin

Mushroom mixture

Next, I cut the tops off the pie pumpkins, the same way I would if making a Jack-o-lantern.  Then I scooped out the seeds and stringiest part of the interior. [Note: this is the only hard part of these recipes.  Some people keep the seeds and roast them.  Personally, I don’t want to keep finding the stringy stuff connected to the seeds. If you have found an easy way to clean the seeds, please let me know!]

After I loosely packed the mushrooms into the pumpkin shell, I poured in about 1/3 cup of half and half. Then it occurred to me that a bit of cheese would be good, so I added what I had on time–a slice of mozzarella. [NOTE: BAD CHOICE.  Next time I will use a more melty cheese like Gouda or maybe goat cheese.] I topped the pumpkin/cheese stuffed pumpkin with the “lid”.

Stuffed pumpkin with lids

Two pumpkins with lids ready to bake

After baking on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes, it looked like this. (Time will vary. Check by sticking a fork into the meat of the pumpkin. When it goes in easily, the pumpkin is done.)

Baked stuffed pumpkin

Baked mushroom-cheese pumpkin

Sweet Stuffed Pumpkin

Next, I decided to use up a single large apple I had in the refrigerator.  I chopped it and mixed with a little brown sugar, some cinnamon and nutmeg. It went into another pumpkin that I had hollowed out and smeared on the inside with some butter.

 

Stuffed pumpkin ready to bake

Popped the lid on the top and baked the apple-stuffed pumpkin along with the mushroom-stuffed pumpkin.

apple stuffed pumpkin

baked apple stuffed pumpkin

Both of these dishes turned out pretty well, but don’t make my mistakes:

Mistake number one:  I let the pumpkins sit on the shelf too long before I baked them, and they got stringier than they should have been.  Use them when they are fresh as possible.

Mistake number two:  As mentioned above–use a melty cheese on top of the mushrooms.

One more warning–you must have mushroom fans in your family if you serve the savory version of stuffed pumpkin.  This is all about mushrooms!!

I confess this is not a vintage or historic recipe, however, I can imagine grandmothers actually baking apples in pumpkins, since they relied so much on pumpkins in the frontier. Plus I mentioned once before a pumpkin-apple pie recipe so we know that combination would be one that earlier ancestors in aprons would have used.

Sweet and Sour German Cabbage Grandma Would Love

My grandmother loved sweet and sour dishes. I’ve never been able to pull off a duplicate of her really delicious sweet and sour dandelion greens. Despite her almost all British Isles background, in northern Ohio where she lived, Germans immigrants have influenced the foods we ate for centuries, like this German cabbage.

My German cookbook does have a slew (or slaw?) of German cabbage recipes,among them this recipe for sweet and sour cabbage.  Not very photogenic, but you don’t want to waste time taking pictures when you could be eating, now do you?

German cabbage with raisins

German cabbage,  sweet and sour cabbage with raisins

I found this recipe because I bought a pretty little Savoy cabbage at the Farmer’s Market.  Savoy is the one with the ruffled leaves that curl out away from the main ball of the cabbage like an Elizabethan collar. It has a milder flavor, so is an easier sale with non-cabbage people.

The recipe is from the German cookbook that I keep on my Kindle. You can see a bit about The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton on my Cookbooks Page.  I just prop the Kindle up on the counter as I would a recipe card. Very handy.

So I spotted a recipe for Savoy cabbage in brown sauce that looked pretty good, but a few pages farther on, I saw an adaptation of that recipe that made a sweet and sour German cabbage dish.  I followed the recipe except for swapping vinegar for the called-for lemon juice.  Lemon would be delicious, but somehow I can’t picture German–or northern Ohio cooks having a lot of lemons around in the winter time when they were using up their cabbage. Likewise with the called-for white raisins. I used currants.

My husband turned up his nose when he heard I was making German cabbage for dinner, but lo and behold, he took one bite and pronounced it good!  Hope yours will be as successful.

German Sweet and Sour Cabbage

Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 40 minutes
Allergy Wheat
Dietary Vegan
Meal type Side Dish
Misc Serve Hot
Region German
From book The German Cookbook by Mimi Sheraton
A favorite flavor for German recipes--sweet and sour--with a favorite German vegetable--cabbage.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of savoy cabbage
  • salt
  • 1 onion (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (Cooking liquid from the cabbage--see directions)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 pinch cloves
  • 1/2 cup currants (Or use raisins. Original recipe calls for white(golden) raisins.)
  • salt and pepper (to taste)

Directions

1. Cut cabbage in quarters, and remove tough outer leaves, hard core and any tough stems.
2. Bring to boil 4 cups water with a little salt, add cabbage and any loose leaves, reduce to fast simmer and cook for ten minutes.
3. Remove cabbage from pot and drain, reserving liquid.
4. Chop by hand or in food processor and drain again. Set aside
5. Melt butter in two-quart pan. Add onion and saute, stirring until onion turns brown.
6. Sprinkle in flour and continue stiring and sauteing until flour becomes a rich brown. Keep the heat low so it will not burn.
7. Stir in the two cups of cooking liquid from the cabbage and stir with whisk to keep it smooth as it thickens slightly.
8. Add vinegar, brown sugar, and cloves and simmer five minutes, stirring frequently.
9. Add cabbage back to pan, stir in raisins or currants and stir to combine with sauce and continue cooking slowly for ten more minutes. Taste and add more sugar or vinegar or salt or pepper if you wish.
10. Serve with sausage or a salty ham. Roasted potatoes would make a good side dish and applesauce or cooked apples are also good as a side with cabbage.

Note

As usual, I eliminated the onion in this recipe and thought that it was plenty tasty.
The sauce will not be thick, but smooth and satiny
Although I used the milder Savoy cabbage, the sauce will match up with any variety of cabbage.
I used the time when the cabbage was cooking to measure each ingredient for the sauce into small dishes, so everything was ready. Once you start cooking the sauce, you need to pay attention to it, so it does not clump or stick to the bottom of the pan.

 

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