For the past few weeks I’ve been in a nesting mode and wanting to do some baking; I think it’s the cooler weather and darker days. I had been thinking of making something pumpkin-related for the holiday, and when America’s Test Kitchen Radio had a recipe for pumpkin bread, I knew the fates were looking upon me and I needed to make a batch. But then for days I kept seeing the photo of Candy Corn Cookies in my Facebook news feed, posted by PBS Food. They looked so good, I decided to make them, too!
Luckily for my waistline, I gave away most of the cookies and bread, much to the dismay of the eater of the house. His description of the bread isn’t suitable for publication; let’s just say he thinks the pumpkin bread is the bee’s knees and I have a feeling this won’t be the last time I make it! (It is pretty good!)
Candy Corn Cookies
From PBS Food’s Fresh Taste blog, recipe by Jenna Weber
2 sticks of butter, softened
½ cups powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
Red food coloring
Yellow food coloring
1. Cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until incorporated.
2. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter sugar mixture and mix until a soft dough just forms. Remove dough from mixer bowl and separate into three equal pieces (use a food scale to weigh each piece if you want to be exact!). Mix together a little bit of red and yellow food coloring to make orange and then add the orange coloring to one of the dough pieces. Make another dough piece yellow and leave the third plain.
3. Place a piece of plastic wrap or tin foil inside a loaf pan and pat down the white dough inside. Place the orange dough on top (pat down firmly) followed by the yellow dough. Remove dough from pan, wrap up in either tin foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for at least four hours.
4. When you are ready to bake your cookies, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut 1/4th inch slices down the width of the dough. Continue cutting each slice into small triangles.
5. Place triangles on a lined baking sheet and bake for 6-8 minutes until tops are puffy and bottoms are golden.
Yield: 5 dozen tiny cookies
• I found this made more than 5 dozen cookies; one slice of the dough made about 10!
• While I tried various methods to make them bigger, my cookies were tiny, a little larger than a regular candy corn. And watch out, these are delicious and being so small, you can definitely get carried away with having “just one more!”
From America’s Test Kitchen
Makes 2 loaves
The test kitchen’s preferred loaf pan measures 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches; if using a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan, start checking for doneness five minutes early.
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
1 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
4 ounces cream cheese , cut into 12 pieces
4 large eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup walnuts , toasted and chopped fine
FOR THE TOPPING:
Using fingers, mix all ingredients together in bowl until well combined and topping resembles wet sand; set aside.
FOR THE BREAD:
• Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8 1/2 by 4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, and baking soda together in bowl.
• Combine pumpkin puree, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in large saucepan over medium heat. Cook mixture, stirring constantly, until reduced to 1½ cups, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove pot from heat; stir in granulated sugar, brown sugar, oil, and cream cheese until combined. Let mixture stand for 5 minutes. Whisk until no visible pieces of cream cheese remain and mixture is homogeneous.
• Whisk together eggs and buttermilk. Add egg mixture to pumpkin mixture and whisk to combine. Fold flour mixture into pumpkin mixture until combined (some small lumps of flour are OK). Fold walnuts into batter. Scrape batter into prepared pans. Sprinkle topping evenly over top of each loaf. Bake until skewer inserted in center of loaf comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let breads cool in pans on wire rack for 20 minutes. Remove breads from pans and let cool for at least 1½ hours. Serve warm or at room temperature.
• Given the amount of sugar in the bread, I decided to forego the topping. It seemed like it would be closer to cake than that of a snacking bread.
• I discovered as I was just about to spoon the bread into the pan that I now own only one bread pan. So instead of waiting to reuse the pan, I went with an 8 x 8 square pan. Cooking time was a little bit shorter, but it was still delicious. I wrapped some pieces and popped them in the freezer for later eating!