Scrooge-like

It’s safe to say that I typically do not post recipes here in time for the holiday at hand. Thanksgiving is full of good food around here, and I never seem to make any pre-turkey day trial dishes; I’m a big fan of winging it with new things, and it’s safe to say that most things Thanksgiving are tried and true repeats from our families, and our friends’ families.

As for Halloween, I suppose you could say that I’m whatever the equivalent to Scrooge is for this season – and it’s not that I wouldn’t fancy a grown up costume party or a creative Halloween jack-o-lantern if I really thought far enough in advance. But I don’t, and so the weeks slowly roll by and by the time I can say “expelliarmus“, the holiday has come and I am costume-less, decoration-less, and for those rug rats trampling up to my door this year (as I just know they will), candy-less.

The other night, I found my cupcake papers from some Halloween cupcakes I did manage to make a couple of years ago. Halloween food must have been on the brain, because on the way home from work Friday night, I remembered a recipe for a cookie involving candy corn that sounded pretty fantastic. Well, let’s just say (or maybe just look above) that I must have royally screwed something up in my hastiness on Friday night. The dough on the other hand? Not bad, as I probably tossed back a few tablespoons of it intermittently between chugs of wine and Chinese take-out.

Needless to say, the recipe sounded so good that I was compelled to try again, insisting that I must have added too much butter, or too little flour, or done something to make these cookies melt all over the place in boredom, sorta like my general feelings about Halloween anyway.

So I measured carefully Saturday morning. I used the recommended chocolate chips instead of the toffee chips that sounded so much more awesome. I made sure to chill the dough for at least 3 hours, and I tossed the ice-cold sheet of cookie dough into the oven, set the timer (yes, the timer!), and watched them like a hawk this time around, so that there’d be no surprises, no jaw-dropping or exclamations of “what the hell is wrong with your cookies??!!!” from the husband.

And even so, I ended up with thinnish mounds of cooked dough with glowing slivers of melted candy corn all over my baking sheet. But this time, they were at least edible, at least chewy, and at least worth sharing. This time, I didn’t prefer the raw cookie dough (ok, maybe that’s a lie, because I’m sort of a fan of raw cookie dough) to the baked version.

I brought them over to a friend’s house, and we happily ate them following a dinner of chicken pot pie and a night of board games and horror movies (because how would Halloween exist without such things?!). I still felt pretty annoyed about the recipe, considering its’ source, but I finally read a few reviews online and learned that clearly, candy corn is made to melt at high temperatures. I deduced that while I certainly could have screwed up something the first time around, there was no way to prevent the oozing of candy corn the second time around.

And either way, the taste is still there, even though the cookies are certainly a sight for sore eyes. But every bite is reminiscent of the season (super duper sweet, just like Halloween should be), perhaps a little crunchier than intended, maybe a little less dressed up than expected. Scrooge-like? Well, I won’t argue there, but don’t let that turn you away because in this case, there is much more to enjoy if you look past that craggy exterior.

‘Momofuku’ Chocolate Chip-Cornflake Cookies (with Candy Corn)
Adapted, barely, from Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar via Food & Wine, October 2011; makes ~18 cookies

time commitment: 4 hours (1 hour active time)

printable version

I can’t believe I’m posting a recipe that took me twice to get right, and the second time wasn’t even right, really. But I’ll tell you why – this recipe has so much potential. The cornflake crunch is out of this world and by far the best part about the dough cookie. You can easily adapt this recipe and after Halloween substitute other candies or dry ingredients in for the candy corn (I think the original momofuku compost cookie that this was adapted from uses pretzels or potato chips?). Here’s a link to the reviews of the recipe (you probably have to click rate and review on the recipe page) on F&W so you won’t feel like a douche if you get runny cookies, like me. And here’s a link to another blogger who made these cookies, but made tons of substitutions and hers look way more ‘together’ (and what adorable pictures!). I swear there’s way too much butter in this recipe but I just don’t care enough to try a third time. If you do try out this recipe, let me know how it goes, and if you change anything I will definitely add some updates on this site.

ingredients
cornflake crunch
4 c slightly crushed cornflakes
1/2 c dry milk powder
3 T sugar
1/2 t kosher salt
8 T unsalted butter, melted

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1 1/4 t kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 c granulated sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 t vanilla extract
2/3 c chocolate chips
1 c candy corn

instructions
Make the cornflake crunch. Preheat the oven to 275 F and line a baking sheet with parchment or silpat. In a large bowl, toss the cornflakes with the milk powder, sugar, salt and butter until coated. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet and bake until golden and fragrant, about 17 minutes. Let the crunch cool completely.

In a small bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter and sugars at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 4 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla. At low speed, beat in the dry ingredients, then beat in the Cornflake Crunch, chocolate chips, and candy corn. Mound 1/4-cup scoops of dough 4 inches apart on 4 parchment–lined baking sheets. Push dough together tightly and flatten just a little bit. Refrigerate until the dough is cold and firm, at least 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 F and position a rack in the center. Bake the cookies, one sheet at a time, for 15 minutes, until browned around the edges but still a bit pale in the center. Let cool completely on the tray, then serve. [If you do have candy corn the “melts” out of the cookie and candies, tear that off once the cookies cool. The spreading should lessen if you chill the cookies in a nice, tight, ball.]

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Trick or Treat…

pumpkin cupcakes

Smell my feet. Really? That’s not nice. If you are like me and still wearing those flats without socks I really don’t want to smell your feet. But to be perfectly honest, I’d rather not smell your feet ever – no matter what shoes you are or aren’t wearing. And yes – it’s cold here, but I am still wearing shoes without socks every day it might hit 50. Like today, for instance.

Give me something good to eat.Well, ok. That’s easy enough. Although technically, I’m not – but I am giving you something good to make. Does that count? Let’s not get too bogged down with the details, alright?

orange and black frosting


 

These here cupcakes are hella tasty. I finally ate one over lunch today and I must say – you really should make them. I guess you don’t really have to make them for Halloween, but it’d be so awesome if you did. Know why? Because you could make cool colored icing and make them all festive and scary-like (if you really want black icing, you’ll probably have to go to a craft store or something to find the dye. I found mine at Sur la Table). And you can put spider webs on your cupcakes. Although I guess you could do that anyway, if you wanted. You could also buy some Halloween candy and decorate with that (candy corn, perhaps? M&M’s?), although I think that messes with the fantasticness of the frosting. I suppose you can pick them off first though – that might be fun…

You should also make these precious treats because you’ll have a little leftover cream cheese frosting. Said frosting is great for dipping your fingers into every time you walk by the kitchen. I don’t really have to walk through the kitchen from the living room, but I made some “special” trips around the counter last night, just to check on the frosting. Luckily, Chris was in class – so it was all mine.

One last reason to make these cupcakes: can you ever ever ever get enough pumpkin? That’s a rhetorical question, actually. I thought I could this past weekend, but now I’ve changed my mind. I want more pumpkin!!!! Give me more pumpkin!!!!

cupcake batter


 

If you don’t, I don’t care. What? What’s that supposed to mean? Sure you care. That’s just a big fat lie. And we all know I don’t like it when people lie. Be nice, now. For realz.

I’ll pull down your underwear. Really? I mean, really? Why’d you have to go there? Are you 7?

Stop horsing around and go make these cupcakes. I mean it. And then come back and tell me all about it. I promise they are easy, and I promise you’ll love them. I’m even close to promising that you have most of these ingredients at home, except maybe the cream cheese and if you’re into it, the black icing color. Pumpkin? If you don’t have a couple of cans of pumpkin lying around in October, you are just silly. Aren’t you making pumpkin pie soon anyway? Pumpkin soup? C’mon, now – go stock up. I hear there might be a pumpkin shortage this year anyway.

pumpkin cupcakes


 

Pumpkin Cupcakes w/ Cream Cheese Frosting
Cupcakes adapted from Martha Stewart Living, 2009; makes 2 dozen

printable recipe

ingredients
cupcakes
2 c AP flour
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 t coarse salt
1 t g cinnamon
1 t g ginger
1/4 t freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 t g allspice
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 c granulated sugar
1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (15 oz) pumpkin puree

frosting
1/2 c unsalted butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 8 oz package of cream cheese, room temperature
2 c powdered sugar
food coloring

instructions

  1. preheat oven to 350 F. line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside. in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and powder, salt and spices. whisk together and set aside.
  2. in a large bowl, whisk brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. whisk in pumpkin puree.
  3. divide evenly among liners, filling each 2/3 of the way. bake until tops spring back and a toothpick comes out clean, 20-25 minutes (mine went 23), rotate pans once if needed (I did). transfer to wire rack and cool completely.
  4. meanwhile, make frosting by whisking butter and cream cheese together. add in powdered sugar and whisk until smooth and delicious-looking. divide into 3 bowls and color icing accordingly. decorate away!