Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies: Comfort Food Calling

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Life in Dubai means traveling a lot, exploring as much as possible within a direct flight radius. I started 2017 in California, and since then visited the Taj Mahal in India and went skiing in Kazakhstan. It’s only February. I love our adventures and trying local specialties wherever we go. I can’t say I loved the fermented horse milk in Kazakhstan, but hey, I tried it. Whenever I come home, I unavoidably go through a powerful comfort food craving phase. Usually that means allll the pasta, and a lot of baked goods.

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Which brings me to these cookies! Soft, chewy, sweet, pumpkin spicy cookies. This recipe is based on a good friend’s famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. She makes them every time my college girlfriends get together, or we make them together. They’re always amazing, and I can only speculate that they’re the magic glue of our long term friendships!  So she gets all the credit for introducing me to this magic formula. Also she’s a doctor so she knows what’s good for you. I just made a few tweaks to put pumpkin and spices in the mix. I was skeptical at first about keeping the chocolate chips in with the pumpkin, but you’ll just have to trust me that pumpkin apparently goes with everything.

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Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 48 Cookies

1 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 cup Canned Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Ginger
1/2 tsp Cloves
2 cups Whole Oats (not steel cut or quick cooking)
12 oz (1 bag) Chocolate Chips
Sea Salt for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat oven to 375F (190C). Allow the butter and egg to come to room temperature. Cream the butter and combine with the sugar, egg, pumpkin and vanilla. In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, and oats. Add dry ingredients gradually to the butter mixture, mixing well to combine. Finally add in the chocolate chips and mix together.

Usually by this point I’m nearly full because I’ve tasted so much dough…but I shouldn’t recommend that because of raw eggs being bad or some such nonsense…

Spoon the dough into evenly sized balls on a cookie sheet, pressing them slightly flat into, you know, cookie shape. If desired, sprinkle the dough with a bit of sea salt before putting in the oven. Bake at 375F for 8-10 minutes. If I’ve learned anything by moving so much lately, it’s that ovens vary wildly. Start low on the timer and check for doneness.

Let cool and enjoy with milk (of the non-horse variety)!

©Cook it Pretty 2017

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I Miss My KitchenAid. And Other Concerns.

I recently got started with blogging because I finally had the time. But doing a cooking-focused blog while I’m in a new foreign kitchen (and country) without most of my previously acquired tools and appliances has its challenges.

A couple months before I knew I would be moving to Dubai from San Diego, I finally got the KitchenAid stand mixer of my dreams. Aqua sky.

Aqua Sky KitchenAid

So beautiful, and so helpful. At the time, I was in the habit of making a new flavor of cupcake for all my loved ones’ special occasions. Like these:

White Chocolate Raspberry Surprise Cupcakes

White Chocolate Raspberry Surprise Cupcakes. Recipe from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures.

As I nursed hand cramps from making that frosting fluffy (WITH A FORK), I dreamed of the stand mixer that would crank those puppies out in record time. When I finally got the dream machine, I made chocolate lava cakes for my love for Valentines day, and by then we were engaged and starting to talk moving plans.

Chocolate Lava Cakes

Brings a tear to my eye…

That was the KitchenAid’s initiation and swan song. Life happened and I only got to use that beautiful mixer once before packing her up and putting her in storage. Aside from outlet issues, that thing weighs a ton. I already had 5 suitcases and unacceptable baggage fees.

Martha's Chocolate Lava Cakes

I used Martha’s recipe, and it was incredible.

So here I am in my new foreign kitchen. My stove is studio sized, electric, and doesn’t heat evenly. My oven is in Celsius and uses weird symbols instead of words like ‘Bake’. My fridge is not large. I don’t have a toaster and hate my microwave. My working triangle is…obtuse.

I haven’t had occasion to make celebratory cupcakes for anyone here yet. But when I do, I will miss my Aqua Sky beauty and surely notice that I don’t own a muffin tin (yet).

I’m learning to appreciate that I can still produce meals that my man appreciates in this nearly gadgetless kitchen. It’s not like I’m rubbing sticks together over here – my counters are granite and quite spacious, for one – I’m just adjusting, restocking, and newly appreciating what’s in storage back in San Diego.

I have tried to gather up the most important basics. I learned my vital kitchen essentials are as follows:

Large mixing bowl
Multiple cutting boards
At least one decent sharp chopping knife
One small serrated knife (cherry tomatoes, I’m looking at you)
Med-large skillet
Pot large enough for spaghetti
Spatula
Measuring cups/spoons (that aren’t metric)
Baking sheet

While I miss my mixer dearly, I have managed to bake most of my life without it, so I suppose it can’t be on the essentials list. I definitely don’t want to live in a world without this tomato knife though:

Thank you, Crate & Barrel.

Thank you, Crate & Barrel.

I’m not producing elaborate Thanksgiving dinners every day or using fancy techniques for anything. I’m just trying to make simple healthy food that tastes good as often as possible. I’ll slowly start branching out, but for now I’m accepting my limitations and working with the basics. I have already surprised myself with some kitchen victories (more soon).

What can you not live without in your kitchen? Tell me in the comments!