Pumpkin Chocolate Chunk Cookies

These cookies are full of pumpkin, spice and chocolate chunks. Just the thing for an after school snack with a glass of cold milk.

Pumpkin cookies

The cookies puff up like pillows in the oven and are super soft and chewy, but with a crisp edge.

Ingredients:
1½ cups soft brown sugar lightly packed
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup vegetable oil
1 extra large egg
2 cups of plain/all-purpose flour
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 tsps baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups good quality milk chocolate chunks or chips

pumpkin cookie

Method:
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the sugar, pumpkin, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.

In another bowl, sieve the flour, spice, baking powder, soda and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet and then stir in the chocolate.

Let the mixture chill out for 30 minutes in the fridge, this will help the mixture firm up a little.

Pre-heat the oven to to 180°C/350°F

Using a small ice cream scoop, or a spoon, add equally sized balls of dough onto the sheet. Take care to leave room for the cookies to spread out as they bake. Flatten out the balls a little and bake for 12-15 minutes.

They will puff up and grow as they bake. These are soft and chewy cookies, so don’t over-bake. Leave to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Pumpkin cookie hand

They are lovely warm from the oven, but will get even chewier if you let them sit for a while. This recipe makes around 18 cookies, depending on how big you make them, so make sure you save some for the next day, when the flavours and texture will be even better.

Pumpkin cookie napkin

Stilton, Walnut and Apple Scones

These savoury scones are flavoured with blue cheese, walnuts, apples and sage. They are really quick to make and just the thing to bake on an Autumn Sunday afternoon.

Stilton Walnut Scones

The secret to these is toasting the walnuts, it really brings them to life and they go so well with the Stilton and apple.

Ingredients:
380g self-raising flour
85g cold butter, cut into dice
1tsp salt
100g walnut halves
180g stilton cheese, rind removed and crumbled
1 large, crisp apple – grated and squeezed to remove most of the juice
8 sage leaves, finely shredded and chopped
200ml cream
1 egg yolk and a little milk to make an egg wash

Stilton scone closeup

Method:
Toss the walnuts in a dry pan and toast them on a medium heat. Keep them on the move and don’t let them burn. You know when they are ready as they start to smell nutty and toasted and they will take on a more golden colour – around 5 minutes. Set aside to cool, before roughly breaking up or chopping them.

Place the flour and salt in a bowl and rub in the butter. Do this by hand, or in a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. The butter should look like small peas and the mixture will be like rough breadcrumbs.

Add the sage, apple, walnuts and stir through the crumbled Stilton cheese.

Using a fork, or with the mixer on low speed, add the cream to create a rough dough. Do not overmix.

Turn out onto a floured board and wrap in plastic, forming a disc. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

When you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non-stick liner.

Roll or flatten out the dough to a thickness of around 5cm and cut out your scones. If you use a 6cm cutter, you should get around 8 altogether.

Stilton scones1

Place the scones on the lined baking sheet and brush with the egg wash.

Bake for around 20 minutes, or until baked through and the tops are golden brown.

Stilton scone open

These are lovely, hot from the oven with salted butter and perhaps some chutney and a little more of the Stilton. They make a delicious afternoon treat on a rainy autumn day.

Mini Blackberry Cheesecakes with Apple Roses

Apple roses have been done to death on Pinterest, but they are still delicious, fun to make and look very pretty.  These apple roses are in the middle of mini baked cheesecakes with tart blackberries.

cheesecakes

When I was a child, my uncle used to make elderberry wine.  Every year, one one day in late August, would be the day we would bring our baskets and containers and all go with him.  There was an old, disused railway bank near his house that was covered with brambles and elderberry bushes with millions of lovely purple berries.  He would get his elderberries and make the potent homemade wine and we would pick blackberries to make pies, crumbles, cakes and jam.

I really miss our family trips to forage for those lovely berries, but I still love blackberries to this day.

These mini cheesecakes are ideal for an addition to afternoon tea, a bite-sized dessert or an after-school treat.

Crust:
2 cups/approx 200g of digestive biscuit crumbs
2 tbs sugar
2oz/57g butter – melted

Cheesecake:
16oz/454g full fat and room temperature cream cheese
¼ cup/60g room temperature sour cream
1 cup/237g sugar
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs
Blackberry puree – made with 1 heaped cup of fresh blackberries, 2 tbs sugar, heated until the juices run and the sugar dissolves. Push through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and leave to cool completely. You need ¼ cup of the puree. OR you can of course cheat and use ¼ cup of seedless blackberry jam.

Apple Roses:
2 crisp apples, preferably with a rosy red skin. I used Pink Lady apples
1tbs lemon juice
5tbs water

Cinnamon sugar:
¼ cup/60g caster sugar mixed with 2 tsp cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF and line a muffin tin with 12 cupcake cases.

Mix the crumbs, sugar and butter together and divide the mixture equally into the cupcake cases, pressing down with a spoon for a firm base.

To make the filling, place the cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, lemon zest and vanilla into a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and beat until very creamy, with no lumps.  Add the eggs and beat again until fully combined.  Stir in the blackberry puree, you can fully mix in, or leave as a marbled finish.

Carefully pour the cheesecake mixture into the prepared cupcake cases, coming up to just over half way.

For the roses, cut the apples in half, remove the core and thinly slice into half circles and place in a bowl with the water and lemon juice.  Microwave for around 1 minute until the slices soften and they are flexible.

Depending on how thick you have cut your slices, you need around 10-12 for each rose. Lay them out on a board, overlapping each slice with the next.  Sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar and roll up from one end the other as tightly as possible.  Place into the waiting case, the rose will ‘bloom’ and fill the mini cheesecake.  Repeat until you have a rose in each one and top with a little sprinkle of the cinnamon sugar.

Bake at 180ºC/350ºF for around 25 minutes until the centres are just set and allow to fully cool.  Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.

Apple rose closeup