Great weather for baking! Open the windows and fire up the oven for these Halloween treats. The first is a pumpkin bread from my favorite baking cookbook: “Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins and More” by Carole Walter. I love her recipes because they are so fussy. If you follow them exactly, you’ll never go wrong. However, don’t let the fussiness put you off. If you don’t have a mixer with a whip attachment, don’t worry. Your regular beaters will work just fine. You could make it without a mixer, for that matter. It’ll make the house smell so good!
The second is a recipe from Pillsbury.com called Yummy Mummy Cookies. My daughter and I made them last year, when she had just turned 5, and she had such fun squeezing the white icing in a crisscross pattern over the cookies. Depending on your kids’ ages, they should be able to help in some aspect of creating these. The cookies turn out very cute (see photo at link above) and make a great classroom or teacher treat. Happy Halloween!
Pumpkin Pecan Loaf
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour, spooned in and leveled
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (lightly packed) very fresh dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons freshly grated navel orange zest
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/4 cups canned pure pumpkin puree
1/2 cup medium-chopped toasted pecans
Position the rack in the middle of the oven. Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Generously butter a 9x5x2 1/2-inch loaf pan, line the bottom with baking parchment, then butter the parchment. Set aside.
Combine the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice in a medium bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the eggs on medium-high speed for 2 minutes, or until lightened in color. Add the brown sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, taking about 2 minutes, and the granulated sugar, taking about 1 minutes. Add the orange and lemon zests and beat for 1 minute longer. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.
Reduce the mixer speed to medium-low and drizzle the oil in a steady stream, taking about 2 minutes. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the pumpkin puree. Mix until thoroughly combined. Add the dry ingredients in two additions and blend for 10-15 second, just until incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and using a large rubber spatula, fold in the pecans.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until the top feels springy to the touch, or a wooden skewer or a toothpick inserted deeply into the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack. When the loaf is almost cool, invert it onto the rack. Remove the pan, peel off the parchment paper, and turn the loaf top side up. When ready to serve, cut with a serrated knife into 1/2-inch slices.
Store at room temperature, tightly covered with plastic wrap, for up to 5 days. This loaf may be frozen. Makes 1 large loaf, 8 to 10 servings.
Yummy Mummy Cookies
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
64 miniature chocolate chips
1 cup white vanilla baking chips
In large bowl, beat butter, sugar, vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add flour; beat on low speed until dough forms. Roll dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 to 45 minutes for easier handling.
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Divide dough into 8 equal pieces. On lightly floured surface, roll each piece into rope 14 inches long. Cut each rope into 4 (3-inch) and 4 (1/2-inch) lengths of dough. Roll the 4 (1/2-inch) pieces into balls and attach to the 4 (3-inch) pieces as heads. On ungreased cookie sheet, place 1 inch apart. Press 2 chocolate chips, point sides down, in each mummy head for eyes.
Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until very light golden brown and tops are set. Immediately remove from cookie sheets to cooking rack. Cool completely, about 15 minutes.
In small resealable freezer plastic bag*, place vanilla chips; seal bag. Microwave on High 40 to 60 seconds or until softened. Gently squeeze bag until chips are smooth; cut off tiny corner of bag. Squeeze bag to drizzle frosting in a crisscross pattern over cookies to look like mummy bandages. Let stand until set, about 20 minutes. Makes 32 cookies.
*If you prefer not to microwave in plastic, use a microwave-safe ceramic or glass bowl to melt the chips, then quickly spoon the icing into a cloth pastry bag with a small, round-hole tip attached.
Written by: Shannon Oelrich