Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Making Cookies for My Little Pumpkins


It's been a very good week here in Middle Grove, New York.  First of all, Hurricane Sandy came and went with hardly any interference in our lives, and given her devastating impact on other areas, we are indeed fortunate.  Secondly, I got to spend the weekend with my grandsons Henry and Peter (heard of 'em?  Sure you have!).  Their parents went away to the Maine coast for a kid-free weekend with their friends.  And thirdly, I get to make their Halloween special by baking cookies just for my little guys - I'm making Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe into Jack-o-lanterns (just half a recipe).  I LOVE this recipe because it is so simple, and so very good.  The buttery dough rolls so easily into a silky sheet that just invites your cutters to make an impression.  No chilling necessary even though the recipe calls for it.  Mine rolled beautifully right out of the mixing bowl.  I used a circular cutter today, because I was too lazy to dig into my treasure-trove of a gazillion cookie cutters to find the pumpkin.  Pumpkins are round, I had a round lid at the ready, so, wah-lah!  Well, a little true confession here -- I did buy a bag of Halloween candy, of those bite-sized Butterfinger and Baby Ruth bars, but it's the night before Halloween and the candy seems to be missing...  Wonder how that happened?  So, instead of manufactured, impersonal bites of chocolately goodness, my boys are getting home-baked cookies from Grandma ("Meena" as Pete calls me), and it's kind of a happy accident, right?

H and P at B and J's!
(That's chocolate ice cream smeared on Pete's cheek!)

So, about Halloween -- we live in the middle of a sparsely populated forest here in MG, and it is more a home here and a home way over there than a typical neighborhood, so the boys will trick-or-treat tomorrow at Skidmore College where Henry goes to pre-school (and where I work in Admissions).  Pete will join him and, as Darth Vader and Yoda, the duo will go with their Mom and Henry's class office-to-office, building-to-building, in what will be their primary trick-or-treating experience.  I'll try to sneak out to run an errand at just the right time, and maybe catch my little Star Warriors as they parade around campus.  I can't wait to see them all decked out!

To top it all off, I won a raffle (I seldom win contests!) and will pick up pizza, beverages, and cupcakes for Halloween dinner at Mama Mia's in Saratoga Springs.  I was one of four lucky winners, and so was my friend Karen.  The funny thing is, we both went to MM's for lunch with our friend Liz, on different occasions, and we both won, but Liz didn't!  I'll make it up to her.  She's a winner in my book of very best friends!

Following are photos of my time with H and P this weekend, as well as pics of the cookies that I'm in the middle of making right now.  In fact, you can't see it, but I have flour all over my navy blue cardigan, since I always think of wearing an apron, but a little too late.

Happy Halloween everyone.  Maybe I'll dress up as a baker! That'd be a stretch!   I hope you capture the spirit of little goblins and have a wonderful fright night!

Click to have fun with us...
(and that's Hank and Pete's friend Lynn DiMenna in the center pic)

Cookies for my lil punkins...

ALTON BROWN'S SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE

3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon milk
Powdered sugar, for rolling out dough  (I use flour)

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Place butter and sugar in large bowl of electric stand mixer and beat until light in color. Add egg and milk and beat to combine. Put mixer on low speed, gradually add flour, and beat until mixture pulls away from the side of the bowl. Divide the dough in half, wrap in waxed paper, and refrigerate for 2 hours. (I didn't refrigerate - used it right after mixing, and it was great.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Sprinkle surface where you will roll out dough with powdered sugar (I used flour). Remove 1 wrapped pack of dough from refrigerator at a time, sprinkle rolling pin with powdered sugar, and roll out dough to 1/4-inch thick. Move the dough around and check underneath frequently to make sure it is not sticking. If dough has warmed during rolling, place cold cookie sheet on top for 10 minutes to chill. Cut into desired shape, place at least 1-inch apart on greased baking sheet, parchment, or silicone baking mat, and bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are just beginning to turn brown around the edges, rotating cookie sheet halfway through baking time. Let sit on baking sheet for 2 minutes after removal from oven and then move to complete cooling on wire rack. Serve as is or ice* as desired. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.

*Use Royal Icing to ice cookies (any good recipe will do - here's one from Joy of Baking:  http://www.joyofbaking.com/RoyalIcing.html

Original recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/cda/recipe_print/0,1946,FOOD_9936_25187_RECIPE-PRINT-FULL-PAGE-FORMATTER,00.html





17 comments:

  1. The cookies aren't quite as cute as Henry and Pete! I would love some of those cookies ! Haven't had any of your cookies in a long time..withdrawal has settled in!

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  2. What a wonderful way to extend your great weekend with the boys...by baking special Halloween cookies, made with love, just for them, by a loving Grandma!

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    1. Thanks Di - hope you had a great Halloween with Jackson, Peyton, Isabella, and Oliva! That's a whole lot of cuteness for one Grandma!

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  3. What a great weekend you had !H and P are very lucky little boys to have a super loving Grandma. These are the times they will always remember.You are helping to build wonderful childhood memories for them. Happy Halloween !! CKJ

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    1. Cindy - we did have a great time, and thanks for your very kind words. I hope that you're right, and that the boys do remember these times with old granny! Hope you've had a great day!

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  4. H and P are the luckiest little boys. You're a very special Grandma and Mom indeed. Not only did the boys have a good time but Katie and Bill got a little vaca. Kuddos to you! Those cookies look amazing!

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    1. Joanne, I know of three little Hills children who are pretty darn lucky, too! So glad you made a comment - now you're in the running for that prize cake!

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  5. Your cookies look awesome!

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    1. Thanks Sue - really glad you're able to comment!

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  6. Such a wonderful time for the boys and you! It is great that you are involved within their lives on a daily basis and get to share special little times like this!

    Great cookies - will have to use this recipe for Christmas cut-outs.

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  7. Great tradition to share with your grandsons! Happy Halloween!

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    1. Thanks so much, Kim. So happy to see your comment. I love the photos of your cakes on fb. You are a true artist! I'm pretty much an amateur, self-taught, though I do have such amazing inspiration from family and friends for the cakes I bake. Anyway, you do such beautiful work and I love to see your pictures!

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  8. sharron eddy cataldoOctober 31, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    those look pretty easy and yummy ! sounds like you have had a great month with lotsof family time and grandchild . and ofcoarse baking . good for you Jeanne !!

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    1. Thanks Sharron - October 2012 is going down as a truly wonderful month. Lots of good things in our little world. Appreciate your comment, as always! :)

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  9. How lucky am I to be the recipient of your comment contest?!? I will be in touch with you after the wedding!! :)

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    1. Yea Colleen! Can't wait to hear all about it, and see your photos. You are going to be one beautiful (and very happy) bride!!!

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