If everything has gone according to our plans, as you read this Spicer and I, along with Rasma and Bernard Tudor, will be floating along on a barge in southeastern France on the Canal du Midi.
If everything has gone according to our plans, as you read this Spicer and I, along with Rasma and Bernard Tudor, will be floating along on a barge in southeastern France on the Canal du Midi. The Tudors are seasoned travelers but I've stepped way outside my comfort zone in venturing off to a country where I don't speak the language and can't understand the monetary exchange.
Knowing that we'd be gone for almost a month, I had intended to do a lot of recipe testing before we left but that didn't happen. In this column, I will share with you the recipe for Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies that I tested earlier this week. Some "Snickerdoodle" cookie recipes produce a hard, crunchy cookie but this one contains pumpkin puree and that addition offers a pleasant flavor and a softer cookie. Using my smallest scoop I was able to get 20 cookies on a regular-sized baking sheet that I had lined with parchment paper. I made up two trays of cookies and froze the rest of the prepared dough so that I could bake more cookies on another day.
When Ami and her family called to say that they would be coming over to spend a day with us over Labor Day weekend, I decided that they should at least have a choice of cookies and used the opportunity to test the recipe for Coconut Nut Bars that I'd found long ago in my "Six Ingredients or Less Cookbook." Trust me when I tell you that cookie making doesn't get any easier than this. You won't even need a mixing bowl. The recipe as printed called for using chopped nuts but I had a partially opened package of Heath brickle chips and I quite satisfactorily substituted those for the nuts. These are similar to "Hello Dollie" cookies but I think you'll like this variation, as well.
I ran out of time (and energy) before I tested Hershey's Special Dark Triple Chocolate Pudding Cookies so I'll share the recipe with you and leave the testing up to you. I'll be anxious to know what you think.
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Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup pumpkin puree (About 1/2 of a 16-oz. can)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin. Mix just until barely combined. In a medium bowl stir together dry ingredients. Slowly mix dry ingredients into the batter, continuing to mix until there are no streaks. If your dough is overly sticky, dough may be chilled at this point for an hour or longer until ready to bake. (Chilled dough can often be much easier to work with.)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon (about 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon). Shape a scoop of dough into a ball and roll in the cinnamon sugar. Gently press with a fork to slightly flatten. Space cookies about 2 inches apart. Bake for about 14 minutes until just starting to turn light brown. Allow cookies to cool on pan for several minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container. (Frozen dough can be kept for several months.)
Coconut Nut Bars
1/4 cup butter, cut into small pieces
1 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
1 (14-oz.) can condensed milk
1 to 2 cups semi-sweet or mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 to 2 cups Heath bar brickle chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pieces of butter into a 9x13-inch baking pan and place in the oven just long enough to melt the butter. Tip pan to allow melted butter to evenly coat the pan. Sprinkle oats evenly over the butter. Sprinkle coconut evenly over the oats. Evenly pour condensed milk over the coconut. Sprinkle with chocolate chip and brickle chips. Using a fork or spatula, gently press down the chips. Bake for 24 minutes until just lightly browned. Cool before cutting into small squares. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.
Hershey's Special Dark Triple Chocolate Pudding Cookies
1 cup butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon hot water
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder
1 (3.75-oz.) box instant dark pudding mix
2 cups Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the sugars and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until nearly creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time and mixing in between additions. Dissolve the baking soda in the tablespoon of water. Add both the baking soda and the vanilla to the mixer and mix well. Mix in the salt. Add the flour, cocoa powder and dry pudding mix and mix until dough forms. Mix in the chocolate chips using a wooden spoon or spatula. Scoop dough in heaping tablespoons onto a parchment lined or silicone-lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until edges are set. Let cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.