Just Treats … No High Fructose Corn Syrup

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Chocolate Peanut Butter & Pumpkin Spice Cookies

Ever since an isolated incident back in the early 70’s gave us all a fright, the commercial candy industry has been aggressively persuading us not to give out apples, popcorn balls or other home made treats on Halloween. So for years, especially when I had a young son, I dutifully purchased commercial candies in miniature form each year (and ate a fair share of them myself). However, I have long questioned this practice.

I live in a small community with a very high incidence of diabetes and obesity … even among children. So for the past few years I have resisted giving¬†out candy, choosing instead to buy expensive organic cheese crackers in little boxes from Annie’s, which the kids have loved. But since I get 100 or more Trick Or Treaters each year, this adds up! Then there came this report from the Cornucopia Institute¬†… detailing the problem with most treats passed out this time of year and suggesting solutions. As a professional baker (at least for dogs) I decided to go the cookie route instead. It is an economical way to put a little love in each colorful treat bag (bought on ebay for just a few dollars).

I started out with some vintage cookie cutters of a bat and a scaredy cat (tail straight up). This quickly became unworkable with the tender cookie dough. So I switched forms to Acorns and Pumpkins. I added easy decorations of chocolate sprinkles on the acorn caps and chocolate covered dots to make jack-o-lanterns of the pumpkins. Each bag gets two large cookies, one of each kind, and is tied with a string of raffia (also from ebay, also very inexpensive). The cookies are delicious! Here are the recipes, in case anyone wants to try them.

Triple Threat Chocolate Peanut Butter Cut Out Cookies (makes 2-4 dozen cookies, depending on size)

Preheat oven to 400F

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (softened to room temp)
  • 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter (smooth)
  • 1/4 Cup Melted and Cooled Chocolate (I used chocolate chips with 60% Cocoa)
  • 2 T Dark Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 3 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 t Baking Powder (Double Acting)
  • 1 t Salt
  1. Cream the butter & sugar together until light and fluffy.
  2. Add Peanut Butter and Chocolate
  3. Add Egg and Vanilla
  4. Add Flour, Baking Powder and Salt
  5. Keep dough cold while not working, but no need to pre-chill before rolling
  6. Roll out between parchment to 1/4″ thickness and cut shapes.
  7. Decorate
  8. Bake on parchment, keeping 1″ or more between cookies, about 12 minutes.
  9. Remove to wire racks to cook completely. You can store in zip locks until packaging in treat bags.

Pumpkin Spice Cut Out Cookies

Preheat oven to 350F

  • 3/4 Cups Unsalted Butter (softened to room temp)
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar (packed)
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree
  • 1 T Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 t Double Acting Baking Powder
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1-1/2 t Cinnamon
  • 3/4 t Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 t Ground or Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/4 t Ground Allspice
  • 1/8 t Ground Cloves
  1. Cream Butter and Sugars together until light and fluffy
  2. Add Pumpkin, Vanilla and Egg
  3. Add dry ingredients
  4. Chill dough for 15 – 20 minutes before rolling
  5. Roll out between parchment to 1/4″ thick and cut shapes
  6. Decorate and put on parchment to bake
  7. Bake 12 minutes
  8. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely before packing in treat bags
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cut shapes close together & then remove xtra before lifting shapes with spatula

Enjoy! And have a safe and Happy Halloween!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

The Virgin Blog

At 66 I have to admit that some of the newer forms of communication have me stymied. I have a Facebook page but not a clue how to properly use it; don’t have Twitter or any of the newer social media things; but what I DO have is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom (I hope) about gardening — why we do it, how we should be doing it, and what it means for the planet and ourselves.

This blog will share my experiences, including my Year One with my first backyard chickens: Jayne (Mansfield), Marilyn (Monroe) Betty (Grable) and Blondie (I am a big Deborah Harry fan). I hope you tune in often for gardening and chicken tips.