#Recipe #Pumpkin Patch Cookies

Following up on my previous post with three delicious ways to use this season’s favourite, the pumpkin, here a couple of other recipes in the form of the humble “cookie”. Snickerdoodles are everyone’s favourite. The addition of pumpkin elevates them to another level of seasonal Fall goodness.  Autumn in a cookie! With the oatmeal cookies you a a much more rustic baked treat. These are a handful (literally!) and you’ll be all the better for it! The combination of soft-baked oats, pumpkin and Autumnal spices just begs for a tall glass of milk!

The recipes are ideal for baking with the little ones, however as always leave the oven work to the grown-ups. Get them rolling, scooping, drizzling and in no time at all you’ll have some very happy little tummies.

I hope you have fun baking and wish you and your families a very happy Halloween full of spooky, fun-filled goodness!

Snickerdoodle Cookies

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Cookie Dough

Makes 36

  • 3 1/4 cups All-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup salted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree (make sure it’s 100%)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Sugar Crust Coating

  • 1/4 cup fine (caster) sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Method

  • In a bowl combine the flour, cornstarch, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and mixed spice. Mix until well combined
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer (with paddle attachment), cream together butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until combined. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl
  • Mix in egg yolk, followed by pumpkin puree and vanilla extract.
  • On a low speed,  add in dry ingredients (I usually do it a couple of heaped tablespoons at a time) then mix until combined.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl, wrap in cling warp and chill in the refrigerator for 30- 60 minutes
  • After the chilling time, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie baking sheets with baking parchment
  • In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup granulated sugar with 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon.
  • Scoop dough out 2 tablespoons at a time and shape into a ball
  • Roll the dough ball in cinnamon sugar mixture to evenly coat then transfer to prepared cookie sheets, spacing cookies 2-inches apart.
  • Bake in preheated oven 14-16 minutes
  • Remove and leave cool on baking sheet about 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies

For the cookies:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup Quick Oats
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 sticks  unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups pumpkin purée (make sure it’s 100%)

For the glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons Ice-wine syrup (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line 2 cookie baking sheets with baking parchment paper
  2. In a bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg and mix until well combined
  3. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat until lightened in color and fluffy, about 10 minutes. Periodically scrape down the sides of the bowl
  4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium until incorporated
  5. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour/oats mixture and mix until incorporated. Add half of the pumpkin puree and mix until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour/oats mixture and pumpkin puree
  6. Using a 1/4 cup, drop scoops per baking sheet (approximately 6-8) spacing them 2 inches apart on the prepared sheets. Reserve the remaining dough until needed
  7. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back and continue baking until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and around the edges, about 12 minutes more
  8. When baked remove from the oven and let the cookies cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes. Using a flat spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely.
  9. Repeat with the remaining dough (you can use the same parchment paper). Leave all the cookies to cool completely before glazing

 

For the glaze:

  1. Place all of the glaze ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth
  2. Place all of the cooled cookies on the baking parchment. Drizzle the glaze over the cookies in a pattern of your liking
  3. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze has set, about 20 minutes
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#Recipe Baking with kids…not literally!

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We’ve now been resident here in Toronto for 5 months and things have pretty much settled. My husband has found his pace with his job, our kids have made a smooth transition to a new school, heck we even seemed to have navigated the whole “Daylight saving hours” thing without too much trouble. The only fly in the ointment is me trying to start Mr. Mom’s from scratch again. Whilst a brand new audience awaits from my take on baked goods, it also means a whole bunch of people who no NOTHING about you. And that’s an uphill climb! (If you do happen to work in the foodie sector and would like a food writer, or baker to work with  please do check out my Collaborations page here.)

Anyhoo I digress! As I mentioned above, our kids have (surprisingly) takenthe move to a new country in their stride with little or no tears and tantrums. This week had them on their “March Break” from school- seems to be the equivalent to a UK mid-term break. As well as taking them to the obligatory art galleries and museums (I don’t know who enjoyed it more!) I decided to introduce them to the world of baking. Now I’m not talking anything major- they’re not quiet ready for the cook’s torch or bain maire yet! However you’d be amazed how some simple stirring, cutting, and participation can ignite eagerness.

Here are some of the recipes that took place in Mr. Mom’s kitchen this week. Whilst they range from the sweet to the savory, they are all big on fun, flavour and involvement from little flour-caked hands. I’ve  also included some tips on getting kids involved in the kitchen. Don’t get me wrong- I’m not including this because I consider myself some kind of childcare expert and these are rules by which you should abide. They’re simply meant from the point of my being a dad who wanted to get his children involved in baking and these ways worked for me. I’ve left where to get your kids involved to your discretion as you know them best after all.

Some tips/tricks:

  • Put on some music. Not loud enough that you have to shout over it but loud enough for background. It helps to have something to pass lengthy tasks like kneading or blending. Also think sing-along or random exclamations of “Knead to the beat!”
  • Get the children to find and fetch the ingredients. Framed as a “Baking Treasure Hunt” I’ve seen it help reading skills and memory.
  • Weighing is a surprisingly enticing activity which always draws willing volunteers.  If they overshoot the mark when pouring, it’s no biggie (despite their possible panic!)

So now on to the fun stuff- the recipes! These are a selection of what ended up on the cooling rack…

No Bake Chocolate Cookies

Pumpkin Bread

Sugar Cookies

Simple White Loaf ( and how this can be used to make Pizza)

 

Mud Puddles (aka No Bake Chocolate Cookies)

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Ingredients

200g caster sugar

125ml semi-skimmed milk

115g salted butter

4 tablespoons cocoa, unsweetened

1 tablespoon good quality vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

120g gram crunchy peanut butter

225g Jumbo Oats

225g Quick Oats

Method
  • Line baking sheets with baking parchment
  • Bring the sugar, milk, butter and cocoa to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, then keep on a rolling boil for 1 minute
  • Remove from the heat. Add the oats, peanut butter, vanilla and salt, and stir to combine
  • Drop spaced tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet
  • Leave to cool at room temperature for min 1 hour. After this they’ve set enough tp pick up and eat. I find they usually taste better and are easier to handle the next day
  • These can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days

 

Pumpkin Bread

pic 3

Ingredients

250g all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

400g caster sugar

170g unsalted butter, softened

2 eggs

1 can (425g)  pumpkin (make sure it’s 100% pumpkin puree)

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Method
  • Preheat your oven to 160c or 325F.
  • Prepare two 1lb loaf tines with cake release or grease with butter
  • In a bowl sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices
  • In a stand mixer combine the sugar, butter and eggs and mix for at least 10 mins
  • Add in the pumpkin puree and mix on slow until just combined
  • Reduce the mixer speed to low and add in the flour mixture by heaped tablespoon at a time. Keep  the mixer going until just combined – make sure there are no white flour pockets
  • Remove the bowl, pour the mixture equally between the prepared tins and level the top
  • Bake in the oven for 60-70mins until a skewer comes out clean
  • Remove from the oven, remove from tins and leave to cool on a wire rack. When cool wrap in clingfilm until needed.
  • These loaves get better over time. After a couple of days wrapped they develop a fudgy, sticky texture which goes really with the warming spicy flavor (similar to McVities Jamaican Ginger Cake for those of you who know it?)

 

Sugar Cookies

pic 5

Ingredients

350g unsalted butter, softened

400g caster sugar

4 eggs

1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract

620g all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

Icing sugar for dusting and rolling

 

 

Method
  • Preheat oven to 200C or 400F
  • Line cookie sheets with baking parchment
  • Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl
  • In a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until smooth (mix for at least 10 mins)
  • Beat in eggs, one at a time,and vanilla
  • With the mixer on a slow speed, stir in the flour mixture one heaped tablespoon at a time until well combined and a dough formed
  • Tip the dough onto clingfilm and wrap tightly
  • Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight)
  • Dust a surface with icing sugar, sprinkle the dough with icing sugar and roll out the dough to a thickness of apx 5mm (*use icing sugar to prevent sticking to surface and rolling-pin)
  • Cut out shapes using cookie cutters and transfer to prepared baking sheets
  • Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 mins
  • Remove and use a wide spatula or palette knife to transfer the soft cookies to wire rack to cool. They’ll firm up upon further cooling.

* I made 50/50 blend of vanilla and chocolate sugar cookie by removing half the dough when refrigerating it and leaving half in the bowl. To this I added 50g unsweetened cocoa powder and 100g unsweetened chocolate chips. Mix until well combined then refrigerate and make as per the rest of the recipe.

 

Simple White Loaf

pic 12

Ingredients

500g Bread flour

12g fast action yeast

10g salt

40ml light olive oil

320ml warm water

pic 10

Method
  • In a bowl combine the flour, yeast (to one side) and salt (to opposite side)
  • In bowl combine olive oil and water
  • Pour the water/oil mixture into the flour bowl in a steady stream
  • With your hand in a “Claw” shape mix from outside of the bowl towards to centre. Continue until all the mixture comes together into a dough ball and the bowl sides are clean
  • Lightly oil a surface with olive oil and tip out the dough onto it
  • Knead the dough for 10 mins until it becomes smooth and elastic
  • Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover with some lightly oiled cling film. Leave to rise until doubled in size
  • Line a baking sheet with baking parchment and dust with bread flour
  • Again lightly oil a surface and tip out the risen dough
  • Punch and knead the dough, for about 5 mins, until all the air has been expelled from it (called “Knocking Back”)
  • Shape with your hands into a long oval shape and transfer to the prepared baking sheet
  • Cover loosely with some damp kitchen paper or oiled cling film and leave for 40-60 mins until risen
  • Preheat your oven to 225c or 435F
  • Once the dough has risen, lightly spray with water, slash the top of the loaf, dust with all-purpose flour and place it in the preheated oven. After doing this place a dish filled with 1 pint of water in the bottom of the oven (this creates a crust)
  • Bake for 25mins, at which point reduce the temperature to 200c or 390F and continue to bake for a further 15-20mins
  • Remove the loaf from the oven (careful of the steam!) and leave to cool

Pizza adaptation

I’ve also used this recipe to make pizzas which the kids absolutely go crazy for. I’m not sure that it’s as much for the taste of it as it is for the whole “I’ve made this!” boost to their confidence. To use this for pizza making follow the steps until the “Knocking Back” stage.

pic 9

  • After knocking back the dough divide into equal pieces (I usually get 4-5 good size pizzas from this quantity of dough).
  • Preheat your oven to 250C or 475F (with baking sheets or pizza stones in)
  • Sprinkle a surface with a 50/50 combination of all-purpose flour and semolina
  • Dust the dough with some of the flour/semolina mixture. Flatten and stretch the dough until thin into which ever shape works best for you- circle, oval or rectangular. It just depends on what fits with your oven
  • Dress to your (and your kids!) taste with toppings. All of the following are good- tomato passata (as sauce); cheese shreds; bacon; tuna; pepperoni; chicken; fresh herbs; fresh mozzarella; thinly sliced figs…thre list can go on!
  • Carefully remove and dust your baking sheets or pizza stone with flour/ semolina mixture
  • Transfer your pizza(s) to baking sheets or pizza stone and bake for 10-12 mins until ready
  • Remove from oven, brush the exposed sides with extra virgin olive oil and servepic 8

So there’s a brief selection of some o the tasty goods from my kitchen. I hope you enjoy baking them, getting your kids to pitch in and tasting them as much as we have.

 

 

 

 

 

#BakeMumsDay with Dr. Oetker

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As a child I remember Mother’s Day was pretty much like every other day apart from two things. One – my father bought my mother flowers. This never normally happened. Two- I would rather unsuccessfully try to bake my mother something whilst keeping her completely in the dark. “Baking Incognito” if you will. This in itself was no mean feat given that my mother was (and still is despite her ailments) one of those archetypal Gaelic matriarchs who perpetually inhabit the kitchen, who know the correct oven temperature despite the dial markings having been eroded from years of use, and who insist that portion sizes are too small if you can still see the plate you’re being served on. Think Mary Berry meets Mrs. Brown. Yeah- there you have it.

Before I go any further I feel it only right I should clarify that by saying, “ …bake my mother something…” what I in fact mean is raiding the kitchen cupboard for what usually turned out to be a Green’s cheesecake packet mix and adding my own “special touch” to it. Yes, even as a nipper I was gustatorily experimental! A box mix enfant terrible! Said special touches ranged from grated chocolate topping to a hidden banana filling to that time where I added so much Baileys (I told you it was Baking Incognito!) that the final cheesecake was not as much sliceable as it was pourable.

Fast forward 30 years and now I’m the Gaelic “matriarchal” figure in my household, even down to intuitive temperature skills, but with added facial hair. People often ask me where I came up with the name “Mr. Mom’s”. It was actually whilst scrolling through my social media feed a couple of years ago on Mother’s Day that I noticed a post. It was from a woman wishing, “A Happy Mother’s day to all the Moms, Grandmas, and let’s not forget the Mr. Moms (in reference to gay male parents). I liked it, it resonated with me as a gay dad and it stuck. The rest, as they say, is history.
History that has led to my children being the first wave of my “tasting panel”. Even when their critique is not required it is doled out in precocious abundance. Baking with them is like looking at the world from an angle askew. Ingredients are suddenly wondrous and methods appear mystical- yet it all happens with a déjà vu tinged familiarity.

Mother’s Day for us is about the female influences and role models that our children have in our family. A chance for Granny and Auntie to step into the spotlight, and for me to step into the kitchen with the kids. Food gifts are something I completely endorse. To me a food gift is more than just the gift itself. It’s about the time taken to think how suitable it may be, the time taken to create it, and make sure it’s worthy of its recipient. Knowing that every step of the way the creator had the recipient in mind. And in the case of Mother’s Day in their heart as well.

To celebrate this Mother’s Day, Dr. Oetker has teamed up with GBBO finalist Ian Cumming to create a recipe book that encourages kids to get in the kitchen to create some tasty treats for Mum. Brimming with fun recipes and tips, it’s a great way to introduce your little ones to the wonders of the kitchen. All with adult supervision of course!
Dr. Oetker wants to encourage children to bake with their dad, grandma or auntie and create a special surprise gift for mum. To do this, they have created a fun and engaging Mother’s Day-themed recipe book especially for children, featuring illustrations of four simple recipes from Ian Cumming, GBBO finalist and dad of two.

One of the recipes are these adorable chocolate flowerpot cupcakes-

Chocolate Flowerpot Cupcakes

Developed by Ian Cumming, the man who showed a flair for innovative interpretation of bakes, gives a suitably endearing twist on the traditional chocolate cupcake. Whether they’re for mums or grandmas, these adorable “flowerpot” cupcakes are certain to charm on Mothering Sunday. Using some delightful touches from the Dr. Oetker range lends that extra special touch for that extra special mothering influence in your life. Because the Dr. Oetker decorating range is so easy to use they’re ideal for little hands in helping out. If your children are anything like mine you may find it a struggle to actually have a full batch of completed cupcakes without some “disappearing”!

The Bake Mum’s Day recipe book can be downloaded here www.oetker.co.uk/mothersday The team at Dr. Oetker asked me to lend a hand in providing some tips for you whilst making the recipe. After all there’s always room for a little Mr. Mom’s twist on things!

– Make sure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This saves so many problems- from lumpy cupcake batter to possible splitting.

– If you’re using silicone flowerpot moulds (available from quality bake shops) I find it best if you “grease the mounds” beforehand with butter. For ease I just pop on a disposable glove, grab a finger-full of butter and apply. Using your finger makes it a lot easier than trying to use a brush or any other method to get into those fiddly crevices.

– When you remove the cupcakes from the oven, leave to partially cool (about 5 mins) remove from the flowerpot molds and leave to cool completely. While the cakes are cooling clean, rinse, and dry the molds. Then before you serve pop the cakes back into the molds. This means it’s so much easier for guests to get the cakes out nice and neatly upon serving.

– For some added texture I trim any domed top from the cakes, spread with a layer of Dr. Oetker chocolate cupcake icing, sprinkle on some crushed Bourbon biscuits (soil) and top with a swirl of Dr. Oetker cupcake icing as per the recipe.

– When you do have your children helping out, I find it saves so much mess and cleaning up if you have everything weighed out and in plastic bowls; plates; beakers. That way the little ones can actively enjoy getting the ingredients together and you don’t have to worry about them spilling heavy bags of flour, or breaking shells into the mixture.

Dr. Oetker Twitter Competition
For more family friendly recipes, head over to www.oetker.co.uk

They are also running a competition on Twitter to win a copy of the book as well as some baking goodies. To enter, just RT their competition tweet and follow @DrOetkerBakes

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This post is in collaboration and sponspored by Dr. Oetker.

#Recipe Chewy Krispy Easter Bars

I ended up making these not for Easter but slightly ahead of time as part of my daughter’s half-term homework! I wanted to avoid lengthy cake recipes and also favored something which wouldn’t have her tinkering with my temperamental oven. If you do a quick online search for rice krispie treats you’ll be awash with various recipes and this is my take on it. It’s also a great recipe to get the kids involved- well and truly getting stuck in. The addition of the popping candy gives an extra little surprise when eating the bars much to the delight of the little ones!

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Makes 24

Ingredients
50g butter
300g mini marshmallows
170g Rice Krispies
75g Chocolate covered popping candy
90g bag Mini Chocolate eggs

Method

  • Grease a 34.5 x 24 x 4cm H. (13½” x 9½” x 1½”) tray-bake or brownie pan with butter or cake release.
  • Place the Rice Krispies in a large bowl, and sprinkle over the chocolate covered popping candy. Set aside until needed.
  • Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat.
  • Add the marshmallows and cook gently until they are completely melted, stirring constantly.
  • Remove the pan with the melted marshmallows the heat and immediately pour over the cereal, mixing with a spatula until coated. If your making these with your kids this is this ideal stage to get them involved. Wearing vinyl gloves let them get stuck in with their hands mixing the cereal and marshmallow “goo” together until well combined and well coated. Be careful not to squash the cereal too much though!
  • Press the mixture into your prepared pan; press it down into the corners. It will be sticky and stringy but lots of tasty messy fun!
  • Flatten the top and push the chocolate eggs into the surface so they stuck in.
  • Let the marshmallow crispy squares cool completely in the tin and then cut them into 12 squares, then cut each square into ½ giving you 24 bars.
  • Serve and enjoy!2016-02-19 15.00.10