Baking - Cookies, Ingredient Insights

Chocolate Chip Cookie Upgrade

I had a hankering for some cookies a couple weeks ago. I wanted a soft, chewy kind, and one that was easy to make. I chose a classic chocolate chip cookie recipe, but as I started prepping the ingredients I decided to get a little crazy. I have a big bag of raisins that I always forget about, so I took them out; and I had some extra pumpkin seeds from a batch of granola, so I took them out too.

To make myself feel a bit better about making cookies for no other reason than just really wanting to eat them, I substituted whole wheat flour for all-purpose. Thinking about the ingredients I had chosen, I realized that I was going to end up with some pretty dry cookies, for a couple of reasons. Whole wheat flour needs more moisture than all-purpose; and raisins (dried fruit) and pumpkin seeds (already toasted) would also absorb a lot of the moisture.

To solve this dilemma, I simply soaked the raisins and pumpkin seeds in some warm water, draining the water just before adding them to the dough mixture. As I mixed the dough, it was noticeably stiff after adding the dry ingredients; but as soon as I mixed in the pre-soaked additions the dough became moist and pliable again.

The cookies came out great, and are more substantial than a regular chocolate chip cookie; but that doesn’t mean I eat any less!

Baking - General, Recipe

Hully Cow! Hulling Pumpkin Seeds One by One

The flesh of the pumpkins has all been used, and now all that remains are the tasty, nutrient-packed seeds. I have to admit, I don’t really like the hull on the seeds. In the past I have eaten them with the hull on, but lately it has not been very appealing. So this time I undertook the daunting task of hulling the seeds I roasted. It took a long time, hulling one by one. I had found a wikihow page on hulling them, which you can find here, but it had to be done before the seeds were roasted; alas, I had already roasted, so too bad for me.

Once I had about half a cup hulled I decided to call it quits and use what I had done to make some granola. Granola is such an easy snack to make, and so healthy and yummy.  I usually mix together about 2 1/2 cups of large flake oats, and then varying amounts of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and nuts. In a small bowl I whisk together about 2 Tbsp oil, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 Tbsp honey, a dash of vanilla, and sometimes some cinnamon. Then I dump it over the oat mixture and stir until it’s all coated. Spread it out on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake at 300F for 30 minutes, stirring it after about 20.

I highly recommend making your own granola, and experimenting with different seeds, nuts and flavourings to make it your own. I would also highly recommend buying pre-hulled pumpkin seeds, unless you have a lot of time on your hands!

Baking - Desserts, Recipe

Pumpkin Brownies Take Two – with Recipe!

I made a squash pasta last week and had some leftover cooked squash, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to try making the pumpkin brownies again, since pumpkin and squash are pretty similar. The squash was much more dry than the pumpkin I used in the first batch, so I wondered how it would turn out – the batter was definitely thicker – but I think it really added to the dense richness of the brownies. And squash has a bit more flavour and colour than pumpkin, which were also nice additions.

I lessened the amount of sugar and honey I had used in the first batch, and instead of making candied pumpkin seeds for the top, I just chopped up some plain ones and sprinkled them on. I decided to do that because after a day or two, the top of the first ones got quite soggy – probably from the maple dissolving back into the moist brownies.

This batch did not come out nearly as sugary sweet as the first one, which was the goal, and they were still very moist and dense. I am pretty happy with how they turned out, so I will post the recipe for you to try and you can tell me what you think. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Brownies

  • 1/2 c butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin or squash puree
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • chopped pumpkin seeds
  1. Cream butter, sugar and honey.
  2. Add eggs and vanilla, mix to incorporate.
  3. Mix in pumpkin or squash puree.
  4. Combine flour and cinnamon, then fold into wet mixture.
  5. Pour into parchment lined 8″x8″ pan. Sprinkle with pumpkin seeds. Bake at 350F for 30-35 minutes.
Baking - Desserts, Decorating, Ingredient Insights

Scrummy Pumpkin Brownies

Halloween is over, and the dilemma of what to do with those leftover pumpkins is upon us. There’s soup, loaves, cookies, roasting the seeds. I decided I would try and make some pumpkin brownies. The recipe I have used in the past comes out more like a cake, and while it’s nice, it’s not very dense or chewy like a good chocolate brownie; and dense and chewy is what I wanted.  So I looked at several recipes for chocolate brownies and modified my pumpkin one in the hope that it would create a more brownie-like brownie. And I should clarify, these brownies are not just a sneaky way to use up pumpkin masked by the more popular chocolate. These brownies are all pumpkin and proud of it, there is no chocolate.

All baked, waiting to cut in and test the texture.

Most of the chocolate brownie recipes I looked at called for two eggs, and my recipe only had one, so I added an egg. I lessened the amount of flour, used brown sugar instead of white, creamed in a couple tablespoons of honey along with the sugar and butter, and I didn’t use any baking powder or soda.

I also wanted something for the top of them, since I wouldn’t be icing them, so I cooked some pumpkin seeds in maple syrup, then let them cool and harden. I chopped them up and sprinkled them on top just before baking. This was a very good addition!

Once baked, the result was pretty good. It was a little sweeter than I would have liked, but the texture was just what I had hoped for – dense and chewy. I’m going to work on tweaking the recipe a bit more before I share it, so you’ll have to use your tried and true recipes for your leftover pumpkins for now. Or chop them up and freeze them until this recipe is perfected!

Baking - Cookies, Baking - General

Moving Madness

I am a bit off the ball this week. We’ve been packing up our apartment over the last month, and I had been trying to keep up with a post once a week, but was unsuccessful in getting something done on time for this week. However, given that most of our kitchen equipment, utensils and cookbooks are in boxes, and I have been on the road for the last two days, I’m hoping I can be forgiven for a slip-up this week.

I will say, though, that even amongst the chaos of packing, I managed to do some baking. We were trying to use up as much stuff from our fridge and cupboards as possible, in order to minimize what we needed to pack and declare, so I made a small batch of oatmeal-raisin-pumpkin seed cookies. They were a good snack to have with not much left in the cupboards, and also a treat for the long road trip.

Hopefully next week I will have something tasty created from our new home, amid unpacking and setting everything up. One does need energy for that sort of thing, and we might as well get it from something delicious!