Pumpkin Oatmeal Chip Cookies

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October screams pumpkin.  I stumbled across this cookie recipe last year and they were a huge hit when I made them for Thanksgiving.  I picked up some pumpkin while at the grocery store last Sunday and have been waiting all week to find some time to make these.  This morning when I woke up I decided to take a trip to Sur La Table and treat myself to a new baking sheet and cooling rack.  After some trial and error with my oven (ugghh!) I perfected the last two batches.  Trust me, these cookies are worth the effort. Make them for your next fall party or just for yourself!

Pumpkin Oatmeal Chip Cookies

Makes 4 dozen cookies; Prep Time 20 min; Bake Time 10 min

Adapted from Family Fresh Meals

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 2 cups of rolled oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Set aside.  With an electric mixer beat butter and sugars until creamed together.  Add in pumpkin, egg and vanilla.  Beat until combined.  Slowly add dry ingredients to mixture until well mixed.  Fold in oats.  Fold in all three chips.

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Drop dough on a nonstick cookie sheet by the rounded tablespoon.

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Bake cookies for 10-14 minutes depending on your oven.  Cook until lightly browned.  Cookies will be soft, but they will firm as they cool.  Let cool for a few minutes on the pan before transferring to a cooling rack.

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Once cooled store in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

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Caramel Apple Cupcakes

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When the weekend comes around all I want to do is lounge and be in the kitchen.  I wish I had an endless money supply so I could test out as many new recipes as possible.  Hey, a girl can dream.  Last weekend I had to use up the rest of my apples I had picked up at the farm, so i decided to test out these caramel apple cupcakes.  To be honest they were not my favorite.  The icing was very sweet from the caramel and the cake was more muffin-like than cake-like.  So what do I do with baked goods that go awry? Feed them to my students.  They are always willing to be my taste testers.  What happened last year when I made cookies that came out hard as a rock?  Gave them to my kids.  They told me they were gross, yet they continued to eat them.  But surprisingly with these cupcakes my 2nd period class LOVED them.  Probably because they got a boat load of sugar at 9am. They were begging me for more, especially the boys.  So if you love sweet or you have 16 year old boys, go ahead and give these a shot!

Caramel Apple Cupcakes

adapted from the Chic Table

Makes 12 cupcakes; Prep Time 30 min; Bake Time 16-20 min

Ingredients 

Apple Cupcakes

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups diced Winesap apples, peeled

Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting 

Caramel: (double recipe if you want extra to drizzle on top of cupcakes)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream, heated
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Frosting:

  • 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup thick caramel (recipe for homemade above, but to save time you could use store bought)
  • 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl beat oil and brown sugar with a hand mixer (or a KitchenAid if you are lucky enough to have one!). Once combined add in egg and vanilla until mixed thoroughly.  Alternate adding dry ingredients and butter milk.  Add 1/3 of dry ingredients then 1/2 of the butter milk.  Repeat until all ingredients are combined.  Fold in diced apples.  Add liners to a cupcake pan and fill each to the top with batter.

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Pop in the oven for 16-20 minutes, until lightly browned.  Let cool for a few minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

ImageWhile cupcakes are in the oven and cooling make the caramel.  This was my first time making caramel from scratch and I was nervous. I found it was actually quite simple and the taste is WAY better than store bought.  Plus, you avoid all of those nasty preservatives.  If you have the time I would highly recommend making your own.

In a small sauce pot add sugar and water. Stir.  Place over high heat until sugar begins to melt, then lower heat to medium.  While sugar is melting do not stir.  Watch carefully so the sugar does not burn.  Heat until sugar is light brown and you begin to smell it.

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Heat cream in the microwave for 45-60 seconds.  Make sure to leave plenty of room in container because cream will rise while heating.  Remove sugar from heat and let sit for about 15 seconds.  Pour 1/3 of hot cream into the sugar.  Be very cautious.  The sugar will steam and bubble.  Whisk well until combined.  Slowly continue to add the rest of the cream.  Then add in butter and whisk.  Let caramel sit at room temperature until completely cooled and thickened.

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Now begin on the frosting.  Cream together cream cheese, butter and salt until well combined.  Add in 1/2 a cup of caramel (do not heat it up).  Mix until combined.  Add powdered sugar a cup at a time until desired thickness.

Once cupcakes are completely cooled go ahead and frost however you would like.  Then drizzle leftover caramel across the top!

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