Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Sweet Cinnamon

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Ahhhhh, it's been a while since I fired up the ovens! I baked Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies and Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
The Banana recipe is from Martha. It received great reviews and really is delicious. The batter is rich, I love the walnuts, oatmeal and chocolate together with the bananas. If it was ice cream it'd be Chunky Monkey, my all time fave from Ben & Jerry. It made about 5 dozen cookies. I read the reviews, all good, and also used chocolate chunks from Hershey's instead of chopping my own. I am a big fan of King Arthur Flour and love the whole wheat, I use it in just about everything, and it is especially good here. I transfer it out of it's bag, so I can't remember the exact name, but it is a whole wheat flour that is better for all around baking than their really grainy version which is better for bread. I am also a banana freezer. When they get ripe on the counter and you just can't get rid of them, throw them in the freezer, skin and all. They are perfect for recipes. I run them under warm water, strip the skins with a paring knife and cut into slices while frozen. It will be perfectly mushy in minutes. The cookies brown on the edges quickly because of the natural sugars, so keep an eye on them. It's a little humid here, so they are a bit sticky. I will separate my layers with wax paper when I store them.

The pumpkin cookies, are OK. The recipe is jotted on the back of an envelope, so there is no telling where it came from. There are a zillion recipes just like it. It called for 1 cup of pumpkin. Come on people, there are about 2 cups in a can. What the devil do I do with the rest? I used more like 1 1/2 cups, because I dumped the leftovers. The very best part of these spongy cookies is the cinnamon.
Not just any cinnamon. Extra Fancy Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon, from Penzey's Spices. Think all cinnamons are the same? Boy are you wrong! If you're like most bakers, you add extra cinnamon to every recipe. This cinnamon actually recommends you lighten up on the measurement. Of course I didn't. The fragrance is fabulous. And despite the spongy texture, very flavorful. I misplaced my favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe, so I opted for the cookies. The recipe make about 6 dozen cookies. I think I like them better made with pumpkin butter, which is darker and cooked down pumpkin. But it runs around $10 a jar at Williams Sonoma and I can't justify it in a batch of cookies. Give the recipes a try and enjoy the wonderful smell of fall baking!

Banana-Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Adapted from

1 1/2 cup King Arthur whole wheat flour
1 tea. salt
1/2 tea. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks butter at room temp
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 large bananas, mashed
1 cup oatmeal
1 bag Hershey's chocolate chunks
1 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Cream butter and sugars in mixer, add egg, vanilla and banana. Add dry ingredients and mix until blended, Fold in chocolate and walnuts. Bake on Silpat covered sheet 12 minutes, switching around racks after 6 minutes. Cool silpat on rack and transfer cookies to rack when set, about 8 minutes. Watch edges carefully, they brown quicker than the rest of the cookie. Next time I'll add some Vietnamese Cinnamon!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter at room temp
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tea. vanilla
1 1/2 cup pumpkin
3 cups flour
2 tea. baking soda
1/2 tea. salt
1 teaspoon Vietnamese Cinnamon
1/2 tea. ground ginger
1/4 tea. nutmeg
1/4 tea. cloves
1 bag mini chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add pumpkin, eggs and vanilla. Stir in dry ingredients just until blended. Add chocolate chips. Bake on silpat lined baking sheets for 12 minutes. After 6, move top to bottom. Cool silpat on racks, and transfer cookies to rack when firm, about 8 minutes. Cool completely before storing.

Where's the pics? Let's just say teenage girls take pictures of EVERYTHING, so it is in Christina's purse. I need to get my big one out. I was really loving the teeny tiny one!

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