Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Yield: about 2 dozen

Ingredients:
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In large bowl, combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg.
In separate bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and cinnamon. In small bowl, dissolve baking soda in milk. Add to first mixture.
Slowly add flour mixture, stirring until well combined. Add vanilla and chocolate chips.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop dough on cookie sheet by teaspoonful (mine are slightly larger) about an inch apart. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until firm. Remove to cooling rack.

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Chocolate Drop Cookies

Chocolate Drop Cookies

Yield: about 35 cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups butter (2 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla until well blended.
Combine flour, cocoa, and baking soda in a separate bowl. Gradually add to previous mixture.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet (I rolled my dough and threw it onto the pan. It can be fun if you have decent aim) about an inch and a half apart.
Bake 8-11 minutes. Cookies will spread out and be soft. Let cool for at least 2 minutes before removing to cooling rack.

For an extra special treat try adding one of the following:
walnuts
chocolate chips
white chocolate chips
peanut butter chips

Mac and Cheese with a Twist (Butternut Squash!)

Mac and Cheese with a Twist (Butternut Squash!)

This version of mac and cheese is absolutely delicious! The butternut squash makes the cheese sauce super creamy and it reheats well!

Ingredients:
12 oz pasta shapes (I chose pipette because they held the sauce very well)
1 1/2 lbs butternut squash, cubed
2 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup milk (this is additional, not from the above)
8 oz smoked cheese, shredded (I used gruyere, but you can use any smoked cheese)
tablespoon butter
1/2 cup bread crumbs

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. If you bought a block of cheese, now is a good time to shred it. Cook pasta until 1-2 minutes before it is “al dente.” Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, cook squash and 2 1/2 cups milk over medium heat until squash is very tender, stirring regularly. It should become mushy.
Combine 1/4 cup each milk and flour. Stir into squash mixture and cook for 2 minutes. This will make the sauce very thick.
Add cheese and stir off heat until fully blended. Pour pasta into the cheese and mix until completely coated.
Place mixture into greased, non-stick pan. Melt butter and mix with bread crumbs. Sprinkle on top.
Bake in oven for 15 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown. Remove from oven and serve!

There are lots of variations to this recipe. Try one of these, or make your own:
– Add crumbled pieces of cooked bacon before baking
– Add onions before baking
– Use cheddar or a different cheese
– Sprinkle extra cheese on top before baking

Snickery Sugar Cookies

Snickery Sugar Cookies

These cookies taste like a hybrid between sugar cookies and snickerdoodles!

Ingredients:
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg. Stir in vanilla.
In small bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Add gradually to butter mixture until well blended.
Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls and place onto ungreased cookie sheet, about 1.5 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand on cookie sheet for 2 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.

*This recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies

Granola

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This is a great recipe because you can make an unlimited amount of variations!

GRANOLA:
Ingredients:
4 cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups nuts (I like chopped walnuts or sliced almonds)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups raisins or dried fruit (I prefer dried cranberries)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a 9×13 pan (NOTE: my picture is of a larger pan, but cooking times for this recipe work best with a 9×13 pan) mix oats, nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon. In saucepan, warm oil and honey. Stir in vanilla. Carefully pour liquid over oat mixture. Stir gently until oats are coated. You can add the dried fruit now if you prefer the cooked taste, or you can add them in after baking.

Bake 40 minutes, stirring carefully after every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool. You may store granola at room temperature for one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months!

Please comment with your favorite variations. I would love to try some new ones 🙂

Chocolate Cut-out Cookies

Chocolate Cut-out Cookies

I personally love making cookies in different shapes, but am not the biggest fan of plain sugar cookies. These are delicious chocolate cut-out cookies that you can make in all sorts of shapes and sizes!

CHOCOLATE CUT-OUT COOKIES:
Ingredients:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup salted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I like to use Droste)

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour and baking powder in medium bowl and set aside. Mix butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and cocoa in large bowl. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing until smooth. Wrap dough in plastic and chill in refrigerator for at least one hour.
Mix flour and cocoa powder. Sprinkle mixture onto counter surface and roll out dough until 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to create cookie shapes. Bake on pan lined with parchment paper for 8-11 minutes. The edges should be firm and the cookies slightly puffed.

*Note: you can drizzle these with melted chocolate for an extra special treat