Tag Archives: Cookie

Pinterest Challenge: Fall Cookies

We hope that you’re enjoying the beautiful fall season! While we still have quite warm weather here in California, Pinterest is aflutter with tons of pins showing cute fall ankle boots, plaid ponchos and lots and lots of yummy fall-themed cookies. It seemed about time for another Pinterest challenge, so I queued up my fellow authors and initiated a fall cookie challenge. If nothing else, it was a great excuse to do some baking and incorporate some of the spices of the season.

Mere…When I think of fall sweets, the yummy flavors of pumpkin, apple, and cranberry immediately come to mind. Upon receiving this “fall-themed cookie challenge” from fellow TK blogger Kristi, I began scrolling through my Pinterest “sweets treats” board to find the perfect cookie. I decided on White Chocolate and Cranberry Cookies from Shugary Sweets Blog, and boy, am I glad that I did!

White chocolate isn’t my typical go-to chocolate (I tend to be a sucker for dark chocolate), but the combination of white chocolate and cranberry in a cookie was delicious! These cookies were the perfect balance of sweet and tart and tasted like fall with each bite. I ended up gifting these cookies to a co-worker, otherwise I would have gobbled them all up!

October12_image1

This recipe is simple and easy to follow. I didn’t stray from the directions much—personally, I believe that over-baking cookies is a faux pas, so I suggest watching the cookies during the last two minutes of baking to avoid dry and over-cooked cookies.

Kristi…I’m a HUGE fan of pumpkin, and even though you can get canned pumpkin year round, it only seems fitting to incorporate it into my diet when the weather is crisp. So when we decided to do this challenge, I knew that my cookie needed to involve pumpkin. After a bit of scanning on Pinterest I located the Soft Pumpkin Cookies with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting by Frugal Living NW. I’m one of those types that loves squishy, soft cookies that are barely cooked, so add the pumpkin and this recipe seemed right up my alley.

Let me tell you this recipe did not disappoint. It created a delicious melt-in-your-mouth treat, with everyday ingredients that I had in my pantry (Cream Cheese was the only thing I had to run out to get).

Pumpkin Cookie 1

Overall, it was a fairly straight-forward recipe, which I was able to whip up quite easily. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Not being a huge fan of frosting (mostly for the additional calories that it adds), I ended up making a half batch of frosting. The cookies are super yummy as a standalone dessert, so those looking for a lighter version, may want to consider.
  • I also slightly reduced the sugar I added (from 1.5 cups to 1.25 cups). The cookies still tasted nice and sweet!
  • Lastly, I bumped up the amount of cinnamon and nutmeg that I added in my batch, and to be honest, I still felt like it could have used a touch more. This of course depends on how spicy you like your baking, but for me, I would say add another 1/2 to 1 tsp.

Bri… I wanted to try something that would be easy and fast, but also healthy — if at all possible. Enter the 2-ingredient vegan oatmeal cookie. When I think of oatmeal, I’m reminded of chilly days in front of a hot bowl of steamy oats and cinnamon. I think this recipe flourishes on the internet due to its simplicity: it’s just 1 ripe mashed banana mixed with 1 cup of oats that’ve been pulsed in a food processor into a flour-like consistency. You can add more flavor mix-ins if you’d like. Bake for 12-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Yields ~9 cookies. For my test kitchen night, I paired the oatmeal and banana with chocolate chunks and cinnamon.

When I bit into it, I enjoyed the chocolate bits and the warm banana flavors, but the first words out of my mouth were: “It tastes healthy…”

cookie

If you’re one of those people who say: “If you’re going to eat a cookie… EAT A REAL COOKIE!” Then, this is not the cookie for you. It has a distinct oatty/nutty flavor. Once they get to room temperature or cold, they’re not enjoyable because the texture is mushy. My friend took a bite of a hot one right out of the oven. Bless his heart, it wasn’t until after he took a bite that he told me he doesn’t like anything with banana in it. Suffice to say, the cookie did not get a thumbs up from him.

Verdict: I won’t make them again, but I’m glad I gave it a try!

We had lots of fun sourcing out fun Fall cookie recipes. Do you have a favorite recipe that you like to make each year? If so, please share a link below and let us know your tips!

This post is part of an ongoing series. Please check out all our Pinterest Challenge posts.

Baking Without Breaking your Diet

I have always loved to bake, and can trace back some of my earliest childhood memories to baking with my mom. She always taught me to lay out all of my ingredients, level off my measuring cups and use the butter wrapper to grease my baking pans and dishes.

However, about four years ago, the amount that I baked decreased significantly for a variety of reasons. First, I met my now-fiancé (a dedicated Paleo “Caveman”). Second, my teenage metabolism slowed down and I just really couldn’t “eat my heart out” anymore. Lastly, it seemed that time was always a factor and I never had the time to whip out all of my ingredients and bakeware.

Like most of us who work full-time and are juggling a number of work-life challenges, I am conscientious of what I eat. It took about three days on the My Fitness Pal and Spark People to realize how many calories and how much saturated fat were in the tiniest little indulgences that I often had. Even more depressing was how many miles I needed to run to burn off a fraction of what I was consuming.

So for the past few years, my bakeware has been gathering dust. My fiancé is incredibly dedicated and can stay away from sweets (even when tempted). I am not. If it is something I like (cupcakes and cookies, primarily)…it is incredibly hard for me to just eat one.

However, this past weekend, I was craving a little treat! So I dug out my items and got to baking one of my favorite cookies…Oatmeal Bittersweet Chocolate Chip cookies.

15Jun14_Image2Here are some tips for how to bake, and not break your diet.

#1 – Half your Recipe. One of the best techniques that I use is to half my recipe. Especially with baking, this is typically not too hard, since so many dessert recipes typically serve a huge crowd. My theory is the less you bake, the less you have to eat.

Have a 3/4 cup of sugar that you need to break down? Consider using an online resource like Half Recipe which allows you to enter all your measurements and it calculates your revised recipe.

If this becomes a regular habit for you, consider purchasing specific baking tools (like a 1/8 Teaspoon) for your baking from online vendors like Amazon, and looking for recipes that are “downsized” from the start. One of my favorites is Dessert for Two.

#2 – Portion Out What You Leave Accessible. The next technique I use is to put a reasonable portion out on my counter, or in a cute cookie jar, that allows you to enjoy your fresh treats, but not go “hog-wild.”

15Jun14_Image3My friend gave me this adorable dessert display, which fits about 5-7 normal-sized cookies. It not only adds a decorative touch, but allows me to keep fresh enough tasty morsels to last a few days.

In my family of two, I am typically the only person consuming the cookies, but portioning out what makes sense for your household is a great idea to ensure the cookies make it to the weekend (and you do not negate all your hard calorie-busting workouts).

#3 – Freeze the Goods. So what do you do with all the leftovers? My normal solution is to immediately pack them into a freezer bag, and get them out of sight. I try to do this pretty quickly (before I can think otherwise).

15Jun14_Image4I love the freezer for a few reasons. First, you can pull one out and zap it in the microwave for 5-10 seconds, and voila! You have a reincarnation of your freshly baked cookie. Second, unless you want to break your teeth on a frozen cookie, the freezer method keeps you from grazing for a naughty snack!

#4 – Bring ‘em to Work. So if you STILL find yourself with extra leftovers, consider packing them up and bringing them to your coworkers. A common lunch room or a counter at a desk is a great place to display your baked goods—and we all know that we need a little “pick-me-up” at that 2 p.m. slump time! Not only will your office popularity points increase, but you’ll save your waistline in the process.

So what’s the morale of this post? Go forth and BAKE! Add that butter and sugar, without hesitation! Just make sure to utilize one or two of these tips in the process!