So, this year for Thanksgiving me and my family decided to forgo tradition and infiltrate a friend's Thanksgiving celebrations. This meant less cooking, less arguing (yes, arguing - you cannot believe the level of discussion that goes on between my brothers regarding the amount of sides and the correct way to prepare a turkey) and a generally stress-free dinner.

We did bring a Turkey and two sides (simple vegetables) and I baked. Because I bake.

This time, I made not only an Apple Pie, but a Pumpkin Pie with Walnut Streusel topping. I've never made a Pumpkin Pie before and surprisingly enough - everyone loved it over the Apple Pie (I liked the latter better).

The recipe I found here on epicurious.com, but I added less sugar because I don't think that something with a streusel topping needs more sugar.

Personally, I thought the pie was too sweet, but the texture was velvety and rich while still being light.

I wish I had another picture to put up, one preferably of a slice, but the pie was devoured without much more than grunting noises from the pleased partakers. A success!


Let's Make Whoopie Tonight - Pumpkin Style

As kinky as the title sounds, making whoopie...pies is pretty straightforward. No kinks to be found.

Since I had leftover pumpkin puree from my Pumpkin Swirl Brownie recipe I figured why not find a simple recipe that really shows off the combination of pumpkin and spice. Enter whoopie pies.

Pumpkin Whoopie Pies


1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cups dark brown sugar

1 large egg, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

8 ounces pumpkin puree

Vanilla Filling

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup light corn syrup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease two cookie sheets.

Mix all dry ingredients, minus sugar, in a bowl. In another bowl, beat together butter and dark brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Add ginger, vanilla and pumpkin puree and beat well. Add flour mixture, and yes, beat well.

Drop heaping tablespoons of the batter on to the greased cookie sheets and flatten out a little.

Bake for 12-14 mins or until the tops of the "cakes" are springy to the touch.

Let cool completely and in the meanwhile, make the filling!

Beat the shortening and butter until soft and creamy. With the mixer on its lowest speed, gradually beat in the confectioners' sugar. Increase the speed to high, and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then, with the mixer on low speed, beat in the vanilla extract and slowly drizzle in the corn syrup. Continue to beat until the filling looks like soft mayonnaise.


When cakes are completely cooled, place a heaping tablespoon of the filling on one cake (flat side) and top with another.

And that's how you make whoopie...pie. Pumpkin Style.

Pumpkins Are a Girls Best Friend!

Well, they are when said girl needs a break from writing her god-awful thesis. Tis the season for all things orange-y, so when I was doing my food shopping the other day, I decided to pick up a can of pureed pumpkin. I know I could have bought one fresh, roasted it and made some homemade puree, but pumpkin from a can is easier. And if my favorite cooking blogger smittenkitchen uses it, then why the heck can't I?

That being said, I remember seeing on her blog a lovely marbled pumpkin and chocolate brownie recipe. So, off I went in between writing bibliographies and found the recipe (which was incidentally modified from Martha Stewart's - don't you love baking? It's all about the mods).

I decided to go with my own modifications and ended up with these.

They taste as good as they look.

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies (adapted from smittenkitchen.com adapted from Martha Stewart Living)


8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups sugar (the original recipe calls for the larger amount; I think it could be dialed down a bit)
3 extra large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of allspice
dash of mace


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8" brownie pan.

Melt butter and chocolate over a double boiler. Let cool.

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and sugar. Add vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and mix well.

Separate the batter into two halves (approx 1.5 cups of batter each). Add chocolate mixture to one half and mix well. To the remaining batter, add vegetable oil, pumpkin puree, and spices and beat well.

Into your greased brownie pan, pour the majority of the chocolate mixture and spread evenly with a spatula. Top that with the pumpkin mixture and spread evenly. Add the last bit of chocolate batter and swirl the mixtures together to create that lovely marbled effect.

Bake for 45-50 mins (I know!) until toothpick comes clean when inserted into the brownies.

Let cool before cutting and serving. And let me tell ya, they taste as good as they look!


Festival of Light

No, it's not Hannukah, it's Diwali the Indian festival of light. The origins of the festival are nested in myth, but the meaning remains the same - the triumph of good over evil, signified by the lighting of small oil lamps called diyas to chase the darkness out of our lives and the baking of many traditional sweets to sweeten the mouths of friends and family.

It's a pretty cool festival all in all.

Being not as traditional as the usual celebrators, I decided to fiddle with a traditional recipe and make it a little more modern. There is a version of a butter cookie that is made throughout India called nankhatai. It is essentially butter, flour, semolina, spices and sugar. Sometimes you add nuts to the dough, like pistachio or almonds.

I decided to forgo the semolina and make a simple butter cookie with some added, err, pizazz.

Orange-Cardamom Butter Cookies with Chocolate Glaze


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup confectioner's sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp orange zest

1/2 tsp cardamom powder

1/2 tsp orange blossom water (optional)

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon corn syrup


Preheat oven to 350 deg Fahrenheit. Grease two cookie sheets.

Using a hand beater or your stand mixer, beat together the butter and confectioner's sugar until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking powder and cardamom. Add the dry ingredients slowly to the butter/sugar mixture and beat together on low speed until well incorporated. Add zest and orange blossom water and mix well.

Using a small spoon, scoop out spoonfuls of the dough and form into a flattened ball and place on cookie sheet. (Mine were oblong) Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly golden in color.

Make glaze by melting together the butter, chocolate, and syrup in a double boiler. Alternatively, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave, and then blend in the other ingredients.

Let cookies cool completely before dipping half the cookie in the cooled glaze. Let cookies rest before devouring.

Happy Belated Diwali Everyone!