Halloween Treats from the Kitchen

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! Our final post in celebration of Five Days of Halloween is for tasty homemade treats!

This cookie recipe attracted my attention because it looked like a little pumpkin. When mine came out of the oven, there was nothing pumpkinish about them. In hindsight, I should have been skeptical of a cookie image linking me to a recipe that did not have a picture of its own, but who knew the internet could be misleading?

My initial disappointment over these cookies did not end with my first taste. While very moist and tender, the flavor was lackluster. I was ready to chalk them up as a #fail, but decided to give them one last chance and added the glaze. HELLO!
cookies

The secret to these Tangerine-Glazed Pumpkin Cookies is the glaze and to serve them at room temperature. The mild pumpkin and spice cookie is a vehicle for the citrusy glaze that bursts with flavor. I loaded on the glaze and couldn’t stop myself from licking the bowl when I was done.

The recipe from Health calls for tangerines but my grocery store didn’t have any, so I used oranges instead. I also substituted five-spice powder with pumpkin pie spices.

Here’s how their recipe:

Ingredients

Cookies:
Cooking spray
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder (I used pumpkin pie spice)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon finely grated tangerine zest (I used orange zest)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Glaze:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons fresh tangerine juice (I used orange juice)
2 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°, and spray 2 large baking sheets with cooking spray.

2. For cookies: Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, five-spice powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

3. Beat sugar, butter, and zest with an electric mixer on medium speed in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, egg, and vanilla until blended. Reduce speed to low, and beat in the flour mixture just until blended.

4. Drop cookie dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned. Cool 10 minutes on cooling racks.

5. For glaze: Whisk together all in-gredients in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Drizzle glaze evenly over cookies. Let cool until glaze is set.

A History of Halloween

Day Four of our Five Days of Halloween celebration looks at the history of this ancient holiday.

The origins of Halloween are approximately 2,000 years old, originating with a pre-Christian Celtic festival called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”). Celebrated at the end of the harvest season, Samhain was a time to prepare for winter and honor the dead. This was not a holiday for “devil worship” (ancient Celts did not worship anything resembling the Christian devil) and it was not until many years later that supernatural entities came to be associated with the day.

As Halloween traditions grew over the centuries, people eventually began dressing up in costume and trick-or-treating. Mass rituals for soliciting food were common and it is suspected the practices evolved from “mumming,” “guising” and “souling.” These were different methods used for disguising oneself and going door-to-door when asking for food, sometimes wearing costumes to do short performances.

While trick-or-treating didn’t start in the United States until the 1940s, the act of playing Halloween tricks was common by the late 1800s. The pranks started out relatively harmless with tipping over outhouses and egging houses, but by the 1920s, they were becoming far more serious and dressing up to go trick-or-treating was encouraged as an alternative.

For more information on the History of Halloween, watch this short video from the History Channel:

The History of Halloween by Benjamin Radford was a primary source used for this blog post.

The Great Pumpkin

For Day Three of my Five Days of Halloween celebration, I bring you The Great Pumpkin. No, I’m not talking about the Charlie Brown Special, I’m talking about the big squash that is carefully selected for carving into the terrifying specter of Halloween night:

jack-o-lantern
Mine is the one with the eyebrows.

When it comes to jack-o-lanterns, it is important to put serious thought into the pumpkin selected. For maximum success, it is best to have several to choose from:
pumpkins

Consider the pumpkin’s shape in addition to stem:
pumpkins

You know you’re on the right track if other iconic Halloween creatures are attracted to it:
pumpkins

Don’t be afraid to start carving your pumpkin without a plan, those can have the best outcomes. My dad taught me to add personal touches like eyebrows, mustaches and nose holes, I encourage you to do the same:

jack-o-lantern

And never forget the best part:pumpkin seeds

The ramblings and adventures of a self-proclaimed tree hugger

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