Pumpkin Pie Brownies

We’ve been wanting to make these brownies ever since we picked up our copy of “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar” a few years ago (sorry for the crappy picture). And these bad boys were made by my husband. I provided the taste testing and they were outrageously good. Rich chocolate brownies are topped with a pumpkin-pie-style topping. It’s a great dessert to follow a pot of chili (I’ll have a recipe for that posted soon), which is how we spent our lazy Sunday. That and back-to-back classic horror movies, such as “The Wolf Man” from 1941.

I love this time of year. I hope you all are well!

Citrus Glitters

Have you ever had an off-cooking day? You know, where your recipes just don’t turn out as expected? Well, I had an off-cooking week. I tried a few new recipes this past week and while none of them were disastrous, they were all off in some sort of way.

With this being Girl Scout cookie season, I didn’t want to feel left out, so I decided to make my own cookies. My favorite Girl Scout cookies were always the “Savannah Smiles,” a crisp lemon cookie covered in powdered sugar. I was flipping through “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar,” and came upon the Citrus Glitters recipe. While not exactly the same, I thought I’d give them a try.

The cookies were good, but not great. I had trouble getting the sugar and shortening to combine until “light and fluffy” as the recipe called. As a result, I could kind of taste the shortening in the final product and the texture just seemed off.

Also, the cookies looked nothing like the picture in the book. The directions said to “Press each ball into the turbinado sugar to flatten it into a tire shape …” Now, my interpretation of a “tire shape” is round with a hole in the middle. So, I made mine thumbprint cookies, which also messed with the texture. They were more shortbread-like. Looking back now, I don’t know why I did that; they didn’t look that way in the picture.

But the cookies weren’t horrible — we ate them all — just not what I expected. I can see where I made a few wrong turns, so I’m planning on making them again. Hopefully, my second try will turn out better than my first.

I hope you all are well!

Food and a Feature: Shortbread and ‘Downton Abbey’

What goes better with a rainy, cold day than back-to-back episodes of “Downton Abbey,” shortbread cookies and tea? That’s how I spent my Saturday and it was awesome.

The shortbread recipe I got from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar,” which, sadly, isn’t posted on the site. I’ve found sites that have the recipe posted on them, but I encourage you to buy the book if you haven’t already; you won’t regret it.

The recipe was super easy to follow and came together very quickly. The wedges of shortbread were buttery and dense without being too rich or too sweet. Next time I make it, per the book’s suggestion, I’d like to add rose water or lavender to the recipe. A cup of warm black tea with a touch of almond milk was the perfect finishing touch.

As far as the feature, I had heard wonderful things about the Masterpiece Classic series “Downton Abbey,” but never got around to watching it — that is, until yesterday. Netflix has the first season on Watch Instantly. I’ve gotten through the first three episodes and I’m hooked.

The series is set in the early part of the 20th century, right before World War I. It tells the story of the Crawley family and their servants, who all live the Edwardian country house of Downton Abbey. It’s primarily a drama, but there’s humor and suspense woven in with the characters and storyline. I can’t recommend it enough.

Banana Everything Cookies (Modified)

I’ve created a monster. A cookie monster, that is (sorry, I couldn’t resist). My husband has been on a cookie-baking mission ever since he baked his very first batch of cookies during the holidays last year. This latest batch of cookies came from “Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.” These Banana Everything Cookies contain everything from the original recipe minus the walnuts because we didn’t have any on-hand. Because of that, I wasn’t expecting them to be as good as they were, but, man, they were delicious. We devoured the entire batch in less than 48 hours, which is sad, I know.

On a side note, I apologize for the bad pictures. My kitchen has a ton of windows, but they are all shaded. It’s also been very rainy and gloomy lately, so I’m missing my natural light. So that, combined with my lack of photography skills, equals blurry, badly lit pictures.

Anyway, I’m scheduled to pick up my third CSA bounty tomorrow. I hope to put up a post on it soon.