Friday, October 30, 2015

PS, it’s Fall: Pumpkin Spice Nutella Cookie Bars

If you’re like me, then that means you’re knee-deep in schoolwork, housework and of course, work-work. And if you’re also like me, then you’d like to do everything.
And you might put some of your needs ahead or behind others or you might fall asleep while doing homework or ditch a family outing because of other engagements with friends, or you might’ve promised to do one thing for a person, or end up chopping an arm or leg because you want to be in two places at once.
Well, I have some news for you:

You cannot make everyone happy, you are not Nutella.

When I’m stressed or completely overwhelmed, I love to indulge. It could be pasta, naps, Gilmore Girls on Netflix, or just sweets.
This week, it’s sweets. More specifically, Nutella.
I stumbled upon this recipe from Crazy for Crust’s blog. And it was fate.
Our two suspects?
Pumpkin Spice and Nutella
Some people may disagree, but separately, these two products are highly addictive. And I am guilty of this, completely.
What’s so special about Nutella?
Well, it’s a hazelnut spread (link: http://www.nutellausa.com/about.htm)—its two major ingredients are hazelnut and cocoa. What some people don’t know is that the really fancy schmancy chocolate Ferrero Rocher (you know, the chocolate ball wrapped in gold foil with a brown ruffled skirt-like holder that opens a little funny) is made of Nutella. Depending on whether or not your taste buds enjoy this hazelnut taste, you may have enjoyed a Nutella binge, spreading that chocolate goodness on anything edible.

Now, back to the dessert.


This was a fairly easy thing to bake, just takes some time. The dishes might be an issue, but it was really an easy clean up!






This is when things get interesting.
You’ll see below, in the directions, that after you’ve spread the “pourable” Nutella over the half-baked crust, you have to smooth over the rest of the cookie crust. You will wonder how to do that smoothly and evenly.

But it will not be smooth or even. It will be like pieces scattered across, somewhat flattened and carefully (and if possible) spread out. Just try to cover as much space as you can. Do your best J

 Bake it all the way through and it should turn out a little like this:


Here’s to another successful baking venture.

What’s your favorite way of winding down?

Happy indulging!

The Recipe (from Crazy for Crust):
Ingredients:
·      1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
·      1/3 cup pumpkin puree
·      3/4 cup dark brown sugar
·      1/4 cup granulated sugar
·      1 egg yolk
·      1/2 teaspoon baking soda
·      1/2 teaspoon salt
·      1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
·      1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
·      1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
·      1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
·      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·      1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
·      3/4 cup Nutella (or other chocolate spread)
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9” pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Place melted butter, pumpkin, and both sugars in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. You can also use a hand mixer, if you prefer. Mix until smooth, about 30 seconds. Mix in egg yolk, baking soda, salt, spices, and vanilla. Mix in flour until batter is smooth. It’ll be a soft batter.
Press half the batter in the bottom of the pan. The batter is sticky so you may want to spray your hands with cooking spray. It’ll be a thin layer in the bottom of the pan. Bake for 8 minutes.
Place Nutella (or other chocolate spread) in a microwave safe bowl. Heat for just a few seconds until pourable. Pour evenly over the top of the partially baked crust. Spread it carefully so it doesn’t rip the cookie bars. Scoop tablespoons of batter over the top and carefully spread with your fingers. It won’t be a smooth layer but will mostly cover.
Bake an additional 17-20 minutes until the top is no longer glossy and the edges are golden brown. Cool completely before slicing.
Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Friday, October 23, 2015

PS it's Fall: Pumpkin Spice Latte M&M Cookies

It’s a bright and (maybe a little) chilly morning at 7:30 a.m. and you want to start off your day feeling warm and fuzzy. So, what do you do?
Well, you don’t have desserts for breakfast, that wouldn’t be the adult thing to do. You pull up into the shopping center where your favorite Starbucks coffee is because the adult thing is to get your morning java.
Buuuuut.
The line is so backed up, you’re better off waiting at the DMV for some coffee.
This might mean two things: everyone is having a case of the Mondays (or Tuesdays) (or Wednesdays) (or Thursdays) or it’s officially Pumpkin Spice Latte season.
In our case, we’re going to go with the latter (and a little of all of the above).
You cannot afford to get to work/school late—that wouldn’t be the adult thing to do.
So, you plan to bake Pumpkin Spice Latte M&M cookies the night before, so you can have cookies for breakfast!
It’s a win-win, and it’s the adult-thing to do! You’re an adult, you get to make your own choices! (And figure out later if it was a good choice or not).
Luckily, you’ve struck gold because CopyCass came across the perfect PSL cookie recipe, straight from a blog called Lil’ Luna, that’s got some big things going on!
What is Pumpkin Spice, anyway?
The hype is definitely targeted at pumpkin-lovers. The pumpkin spice is what taps at our taste buds—the mix of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. In stores, you’ll see it called Pumpkin Pie Spice.

The most important thing you’ll need for this recipe are the M&Ms (which you can find at Target):
The recipe calls for Pumpkin Spice M&Ms, but they might have discontinued those and replaced them with the Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms. You’ll just need to take ½ a cup of the M&Ms and crush them. I did it in a little baggie (double-bagged it) and pounded it with a spoon.

The recipe should run pretty smoothly, with just flour clouds here and there.





I pretty much followed the recipe to a T and it just came out SO PERFECTLY.
I can assure you, I’ve had this breakfast. Could it really stand in for a real cup of a PSL? That’s a good (or bad) decision for you to decide ;)

The Recipe (from Lil’ Luna):
Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup butter softened
½ cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp. pumpkin spice
½ cup crushed Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
1 cup Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
Instructions:
Add the butter, oil and sugars to your mixer. Mix them. Add the eggs and beat until it looks fluffy.
Add the rest of the ingredients but not the 1 cup whole Pumpkin Spice M&Ms
Spoon dough onto a greased cookie sheet. Add 3-4 M&Ms on top and press in a bit.
Bake at 350 for 7-8 minutes. ENJOY!