Sunday, December 19, 2010

No Knit Chocolate/Pumpkin Cookies....

Happy last of week of holiday chaos to one and all. For me, and perhaps for many of you, today starts the home stretch of meal planning, present wrapping, house cleaning, final knitting or crocheting and baking. I'm working a top down cap and am at the ribbing for brim, should be done this afternoon. Then I have one little teddy bear hand puppet to whip up and the holiday knits will be complete. More on the puppet project in another blog, it's easy and quick from what I can tell.

There is more than knitting to these last few days before Christmas. I always make a Feast of Seven Fishes dinner for Christmas Eve and this year it will be DH and myself only, but I'm still going all out. Crab cakes, lobster bisque, latkes, smoked salmon, roasted salmon & asparagus olive and herb salad on romaine leaves, and a Christmas Trifle for dessert. Now, if you were keeping track, there are only four fishes on this menu. That's because DH is not a big fish lover so I have to plan around the ones he enjoys. That's the only compromise in  the meal though, it's rich, lush, lux and quite grand and in the end it's the thought that counts. This is about celebration, not forcing people to eat things they don't like.

Then there is the big Christmas dinner. Again, just DH and myself but no skimping on the celebratory meal. We go all out. Turkey (breast), dressing, ravioli, mashed potatoes, vegetable gratin, gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, rolls, two kinds of pie, homemade fudge and all the baking from this week. Yes, there will tons of leftovers, but I love that part. I make lots of freezer meals and then we can re-visit the warmth of that meal a few more times over the next few months.

I really see no reason to skimp even though there is only two of us. We miss having the house full of people, but we are going to celebrate just like any other year. Besides all the yummy food, that celebration includes the baking of lots of yummy cookies (to be shared with neighbors and friends.) And there is one new recipe from last holiday season that I want to share with you all. It offers the following that is sure to please:
1) Quick, quick, quick
2) Easy, easy, easy
3) Yummy, yummy, yummy
A friend gave me this recipe and I'm sure she won't mind that I'm sharing it with world. Consider it a holiday gift as I cannot make them for you all.

Chocolate chip - Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 - 15oz (or what I call the regular not on steroids size) can of pumpkin puree (not the pre-spiced pie filling that's too wet.)
1- bag mini Nestle Chocolate chips (or your chips of choice - I'll explain my choice in a moment)
1 - Full sized boxed spice cake mix (any brand will work)

1- large mixing bowl
1-cookie sheet
1- silpat or sheet of parchment paper
1- heavy duty mixer (I use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer)
1- spatula
1- large mixing spoon
1- kitchen tablespoon
1- cooling rack
1-container of choice for cooled cookies
1- hot toddy mix & rum, coffee, tea or hot chocolate for drinking with cookies

How to:
 Pre-heat oven to 325F (or metric equivalent)
Empty cake mix and pumpkin into mixing bowl.
Blend with mixer until the pumpkin has thoroughly combined with cake mix. Pumpkin is the only wet ingredient so make sure it is well incorporated.
Stop mixing and add 1 or 1and 1/4 cups mini chips and blend into the mixture.
Dough will be think, but not overly stiff.

Aside: The reason I use mini chips is two-fold.
1) I have a mild allergy to chocolate (I know who did I tick off in the allergy department - I mean really!) Anyway as I need to watch my chocolate intake - the mini chips allow me to have two cookies without overdoing the chocolate.
2) Although the original recipe calls for regular chips, I find that that minis incorporate better and don't overpower the pumpkin and spice flavor.
Feel free to use what you like.

Recipe Resumes:
Using your tablespoon, spoon out dollops of batter onto a cookie sheet that is lined with a silpat or parchment. This batter does not spread much if any at all so you can load up the tray.
Bake for 20-25 minutes
Remove from the oven - leave on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes and then transfer to the cooling rack. Cookies are more on the cake side so they will be softer than a typical cookie.
These cookies remain very moist so they will last for several days (right - they are usually gone next day around here) and they can be frozen for advance planning.

Now that they are cooled, place several on a lovely holiday plate, make your favorite hot beveragenie (thanks for the word Smithy.) And there you have it - a warm chocolaty/spicy cookie to warm your tummy on a cold evening. These cookies, a hot toddy and my knitting have been known to send me to nirvana on a more than one occasion. Eat, Drink, Knit and be Merry!!!!

Peace and joy to you all....
The Green Girl


Anonymous said...

The cookies sound great! Actually your whole menu sounds wonderful. It's usually just hubby and me. This year we are having Christmas brunch with our neighbors: stuffed french toast, bacon or ham (undecided as of yet) and mimosas. After we are going to watch Christmas Vacation. I hope you and your hubby have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Very Healthy New Year :)

Greengirl said...

Thanks Lara - you too! Christmas Vacation is one of our favorite holiday films. We start off the season by watching it on Thanksgiving day and then a few more times throughout the season. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.