Chai-Spiced Peach Cobbler w/ Pepita Oat Crumble

Homespun desserts such as crisps, cobblers, betties, slumps & pandowdy’s are all variations on the same theme. As much as we like to be definitive, these old fashioned desserts are ‘folk-food’ passed down orally from mother to child and like all folk culture slight variations arise from kitchen to kitchen.

My spice drawer gets a good workout in the fall. I want to add fall spices to as many things as possible. Warm fruit desserts are a perfect candidate for doing just that.

The filling for this cobbler is a combination of peaches, brown sugar, butter and some added spices. All of that is cooked briefly to give it a caramel-like flavor. The topping is a simple one but the combination of spices adds such amazing flavor and is the perfect complement to the peaches. I’ve added cardamom to both the filling and topping. If you follow the blog, you are probably aware of my obsession with cardamom. Definitely feel free to use your favorite combination and ratio of spices.

I think this Chai-Spiced Peach Cobbler is everything you could ever want in a fall dessert.

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Chai-Spiced Peach Cobbler w/ Pepita Oat Crumble
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Pistachio-Oat Topping
Chai-Peach Filling
Servings
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Pistachio-Oat Topping
Chai-Peach Filling
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Instructions
Topping
  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, rolled oats, pistachios, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom & sugar.
  2. Using a pastry blender, combine flour mixture with butter until it resembles a coarse meal. Store the mixture in the fridge until ready to use.
Filling
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place a large saucepan over medium heat & add in butter. Once the butter is melted, add in the (thawed) peaches, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom & black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer & cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  3. Pour cooked peaches into a large casserole dish & evenly top with the pistachio-oat crumble.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the top is golden-brown & the sauce bubbles around the edges.
  5. Once finished baking, serve warm with ice cream or whipped cream if you wish.

Kiwi Curd Cupcakes

After the winter months with its cold weather, covid restrictions & lots of comfort food, hopefully spring is on the horizon. With it comes lighter baking options like lime and kiwi pastries, lemon slice and strawberry cake.

Although kiwi fruit is available year round, doesn’t make it less appealing. I realize the lack of interest in kiwi curd is probably due to the enzymes in this fruit not willing to play nice with gelatin.

As a recent curd-convert, I started to wonder what other fruits I could incorporate. I’ve made mango curd, passion fruit etc. but have never tried a kiwi curd. Today, I’m going to pursue it with a different idea and see what happens ?!

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Kiwi Curd Cupcakes
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
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Kiwi Curd Filling
Cupcake Batter
Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Kiwi Curd Filling
Cupcake Batter
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Instructions
Kiwi Curd Filling
  1. Peel & chop kiwis. In a saucepan, combine kiwis, sugar & lemon juice. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Beat the egg yolks in a separate bowl. When kiwi mixture reaches a boil, very slowly add it to the egg yolks, whisking vigorously. Pour it back into the saucepan & allow to gently simmer about 8 minutes. The mixture should be thick enough to cover the spoon (it will thicken a little as it cools also). Remove mixture from heat & allow to cool until needed. If you wish, pulse curd in food processor for a couple of seconds.
Cupcakes
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk flour, oatmeal, sugars, baking soda, spices & salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together yogurt, oil, eggs & extracts until smooth. Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture until combined.
  4. Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove to a wire rack & allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Top with about 1 Tbsp of the kiwi curd & serve.
Recipe Notes
  • This recipe will make about 18 mini cupcakes if you like smaller ones.

Orange Slice Cookies

For many, orange juice and oatmeal are seen as breakfast food. I like both, so using them in baked goods works for me.

Most of the time, when it comes to cake or cookies, extract is where your flavor will come from. I recall an orange loaf my mother made by first cooking the sugar with orange zest and adding it to the batter. It gave the loaf such a bold orange flavor.

In these cookies, I’m using both the zest and juice of a fresh orange and a tiny bit of lemon zest to add another dimension of citrus. The oatmeal is processed to an oat flour.

The use of both butter and olive oil further enhances the flavor of the cookies. Butter is smooth and creamy, adding the dairy richness, while the oil provides a unique flavor and aroma.

Once the cookies are baked, a glaze using more fresh orange juice and zest makes these orange slice cookies ‘addicting’ as Brion says.

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Orange Slice Cookies
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
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Course dessert
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
Votes: 2
Rating: 5
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Instructions
Cookies
  1. In a bowl, combine sugar, butter & oil; beat until fluffy. Add yogurt, vanilla, orange juice & zests.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oatmeal for a few seconds. Add oat flour, white flour, baking powder, cardamom & salt. Blend ingredients together well to form a soft dough. Evenly divide dough into 10 pieces; form each into a ball. Cover & refrigerate for 20 minutes so that the dough becomes a little firmer.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a couple of baking trays with parchment paper.
  4. Remove cookie dough from refrigerator; slice each ball into 4 pieces & shape each piece to resemble an orange slice. Place on baking sheets spacing about 2 inches apart.
  5. Bake cookies about 20-25 minutes or until the sides of the cookies become a light golden brown.
Glaze
  1. Combine remaining orange juice & zest with enough powdered sugar to make a glaze consistency. When cookies are cool, brush with glaze,

Oatmeal Fig ‘Drops’ w/ Variations

For many people, figs are a traditional part of Christmas food. When it comes to the best fruits to add to your recipes, figs are probably the most underrated of the group. Not only are these sweet fruits delicious, they’re also incredibly versatile. Their concentrated sweetness is balanced by a complex spicy flavor that makes dried figs exactly the right ingredient for those holiday desserts. Fresh off the tree, dried, stuffed or baked, the fig is a classic fruit, ancient in fact.

We are fast approaching the Christmas season and if you have a sweet tooth, the holiday season is basically synonymous with one thing: cookies! Chewy or crunchy, chocolaty or nutty, flat, round or twisted … a cookie is a cookie. In the most basic terms, a cookie is a sweet, baked, flour based finger food. But it can come in all shapes, sizes, flavors and textures.

Figs seem to always have a way of catching my attention at this time of year. I recall my mother making filled date cookies at Christmas. She would make them in advance of Christmas, tucking them away in an airtight cookie box. When Christmas holidays rolled around and we could nibble on them, the flavors had marinated and they tasted amazing!

The combination of flavors and textures in these oatmeal fig cookies should create some tasty little morsels along with giving variety without fuss.

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Oatmeal Fig Drops w/ Variations
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Oatmeal Base
Raspberry-Fig Filling
Apricot-Fig Filling
Servings
Ingredients
Oatmeal Base
Raspberry-Fig Filling
Apricot-Fig Filling
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Instructions
Oatmeal Base
  1. In a large bowl, cream together margarine & sugar; beat in sour cream & vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, baking powder & salt; gradually stir into creamed mixture until blended. Cover with plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or longer.
Raspberry-Fig Filling
  1. In a saucepan, combine figs, raspberries, water, apple juice & sugar; bring to a boil. Once mixture reaches a boil, reduce heat to low & simmer until figs are soft, stirring often.
  2. When figs are soft, the water/apple juice mixture will have cooked off & will be thick & sticky. Remove from heat, place in a bowl & cool to room temperature. If you wish, you can process in a blender to make a smooth paste/filling.
Date Fig Filling
  1. Snip off stem ends of figs & put the figs, dates & almonds into a food processor. Grind to a coarse paste. Stir in remaining date filling ingredients & process until mixed. Set aside.
Apricot Fig Filling
  1. Snip off stem ends of figs & put the figs & apricots into a food processor. Grind to a coarse paste. Stir in remaining apricot filling ingredients & process until mixed. Set aside.
Assembly & Baking
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray OR line with paper baking cups, 3 (12 cup capacity) MINI muffin pans.
  2. Remove oatmeal base from refrigerator & divide in thirds. Place one tiny scoop of oatmeal batter in each cup. Create an indentation in the center of each one.
  3. Place a dollop of filling in the center of each indentation, making 12 from each kind of filling. Place another tiny scoop on top of each cookie 'drop' & flatten with a fork.
  4. Bake cookie drops for about 15 minutes or just until they test done with a toothpick inserted.
  5. Place on a wire rack to cool. When cooled you can leave plain or dress up with a bit of icing drizzle if you wish.

Sweet Potato Muffin Tops

Not whole muffins, just the tops. The idea was first conceptualized by Elaine Benes, a fictional character on the American television sitcom Seinfeld, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. I was not a Seinfeld fan and rarely even watched the show but the series lasted for nine years so obviously many did. It centered around four single friends dealing with the absurdities of everyday life in New York City, USA. Something as simple as soup or muffins became the focal point of the show but with a unique twist that only the actors on the show could make funny and memorable.

In a 1997 episode, The Muffin Tops, Elaine helps her old boss open his own business where they only sell the tops of muffins. ‘It’s the best part (nobody likes the stumps), it’s crunchy, it’s where the muffin breaks free of the pan and sort of does its own thing’.

Nowadays we have specific baking pans made just for making muffin tops and I think most food stores sell them. Muffins are an item I’ve certainly made my fair share of over the years in the food industry. But I have to say, I love the whole thing, especially if its soft and cakey.

This time of year is usually filled with pumpkin and sweet potato dishes and treats. These muffin tops are quite special with a slight sweet potato flavor packed with plenty of cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and an added bonus of some pepita seeds.

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Sweet Potato Muffin Tops
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Muffin Top Batter
Streusel Topping
Servings
Ingredients
Muffin Top Batter
Streusel Topping
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Instructions
Streusel Topping
  1. In a small bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon & salt. With a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add pepita seeds, mix & set aside.
Muffin Tops
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a MUFFIN TOP PAN or line with paper cups. (This recipe makes 10 muffin tops the size shown in the blog picture). Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & spices. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk the brown sugar & eggs together; add sweet potatoes, oil, milk & orange zest (or vanilla) & whisk again. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients & stir until JUST combined. Do not overmix the batter. Scoop batter into muffin top pan; Sprinkle with streusel topping.
  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Dutch Apple Pumpkin Cheesecakes

For Canadians, Thanksgiving is just a couple of days away. Even if the basics are the same across the country …. turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes …. every family has their own special twist they put on it somewhere. That could easily come in the form of dessert.

There are few flavors that say autumn better than pumpkin and ginger but why not switch up the traditional pumpkin pie for something extra special. I’m thinking, what’s wrong with combining a number of our favorites in one dessert!

Starting with a gingersnap crust for the base, then a pumpkin cream cheese layer topped with cinnamon apples. The thing with ‘Dutch apple’ (pie) that sets it apart is the crumb/streusel topping. So in keeping with the name of this recipe, I’m making a streusel topping as the final layer of our Thanksgiving dessert. Of course, you can always add a scoop of ice cream.

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Dutch Apple Pumpkin Cheesecakes
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Ingredients
Gingersnap Base
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Apple Filling
Streusel
Servings
Ingredients
Gingersnap Base
Pumpkin Cheesecake Filling
Apple Filling
Streusel
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Instructions
Gingersnap Base
  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line mini cheesecake pans with paper liners.
  2. In a food processor, add gingersnap cookies & process until you have fine crumbs. Place in a bowl; add butter & mix until fully combined. Evenly distribute the mixture between the mini cheesecake pans. Press each one down firmly & bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven & set aside to cool.
Cheesecake Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla & spice for 1-2 minutes until smooth & creamy. Add in the pumpkin puree & mix until fully combined. Turn mixer to low speed & add egg; beating ONLY till just combined.
Apple Filling
  1. Prepare apples & combine with cinnamon, sugar & flour.
Streusel
  1. In a small bowl, combine oatmeal, flour, brown sugar & cinnamon. Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly.
Assemble & Bake
  1. Evenly distribute the cheesecake filling over the gingersnap crusts. Top with apple filling then spoon an even layer of streusel over each cheesecake cup.
  2. Bake at 325 F. for 10-12 minutes or JUST until cheesecakes are set. Remove from oven & allow to cool at room temperature for at least an hour.
  3. Serve topped with a bit of whipped cream or ice cream if desired.
Recipe Notes
  • I have always loved Dutch 'Speculaas' spice so I used it in all 3 parts of the filling instead of what I listed in the recipe. It has a unique combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom, aniseed, mace & black pepper.
  • This recipe can be easily halved if 36 is too many for you.

Apple Crisp Pie w/ Vanilla Cardamom Cream

Apple season is upon us, so its a good time to make some of those ‘homey’ kind of desserts. During the summer we have an endless array of fresh fruit available in the grocery stores. Apples are often taken for granted because their kind of a staple fruit you could say. We have countless varieties to choose from for fresh eating or cooking. One that is well known is called the Granny Smith apple. Its acidity and strong flavor makes it a frequent choice for both baking and fresh eating. Consistently rated among the top ten apples in popularity, its hard to believe it wasn’t part of the North American experience until the 1970’s.

It turns out there really was a ‘Granny Smith’. As the story goes, Maria Ann (Granny) Smith was cooking with French crab apples and discarded the remains in a compost pile near a creek flowing behind her farmhouse outside Sydney, Australia. From the pile sprouted a seedling unlike any apple she had ever encountered. She was so taken with its bright flavor and versatility, she decided to propagate the trees herself.

In the season from September through November, Granny Smith apples have become a staple of fall baking. Used extensively in seasonal pies, cakes, cobblers and crisps, it all began with a happy accident discovered by its namesake halfway around the world.

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Apple Crumble w/ Vanilla Cardamom Cream
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Crumble Topping
Vanilla Cardamom Cream
Servings
Ingredients
Crumble Topping
Vanilla Cardamom Cream
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Instructions
Apple Filling
  1. Peel, core & slice apples. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. In a small bowl, toss the apple slices with lemon zest & juice, sugar, cinnamon & salt. Set aside.
Crumble Topping
  1. In a small bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, oats & salt with a fork until uniform. In a glass pie dish, melt the butter in the microwave until about half melts. Pour the butter into the flour mixture & incorporate with a fork. Leaving the excess butter in the pie pan, arrange the apple slices in the pan. Top with the flour-oat mixture.
  2. Bake until apples are cooked through and the topping is golden, about 45 minutes.
Vanilla Cardamom Cream
  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, whisk together 'cream' ingredients. Simmer over a medium-low heat, stirring constantly until cooked & custard will coat the back of a spoon.
  2. Remove from heat & cover with plastic wrap, making sure to lightly press it over the custard to avoid a 'skin' forming. Serve over or with crumble.

‘Everything Spice’ Rolls

Everything’ bagels have been around at least since the 1980’s, but more recently we are seeing the everything spice blend itself, showing up on grocery store shelves.

Everything spice has similar flavor notes to a number of Middle Eastern spices and dishes that have moved into the mainstream over the past few years. The mix of poppy and sesame seeds, garlic, dried onion and salt has always been a popular variation for people who want some tang at breakfast or brunch.

It automatically gives almost any food item that you dust it with a ‘trendy upgrade’. On one recipe website they list more than 101 ways to use the everything spice. Some of them included cheeseballs, savory french toast, meatloaf, cheesesteak and risotto.

To be sure, this spice isn’t for everyone. If you like blueberry bagels and red velvet doughnuts this garlicky blend won’t work for you.

In August of 2020, the Presidents Choice Brand made their ‘copy kat’ version available here in Canada. For that reason, I see no excuse not to buy some. You can stir it into plain cream cheese, sprinkle it on grilled meats, avocado toast, rice, scrambled eggs, salads, chicken, pancakes or use it on top of some ‘Everything Spice Rolls’. Yum!

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'Everything Spice' Rolls
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Course Brunch
Cuisine American
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Ingredients
Course Brunch
Cuisine American
Servings
Ingredients
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together 1 cup oats, honey, butter & salt with boiling water until combined. Cool to room temperature.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the yeast with warm water. Let stand for about 5 minutes until foamy. Pour into the oat mixture followed by flaxseed meal, whole wheat flour & 1 cup all-purpose flour. Use a wooden spoon to stir into a shaggy dough.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface & knead until the dough is smooth & elastic, about 8-10 minutes. If the dough feels too sticky, add a little more all-purpose flour (up to 1/2-3/4 cup). Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover & let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
  4. Punch down the dough & let it rest for 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half; cut each half into 12 portions. Working with one portion at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent from drying), shape each portion into an 8-inch rope. Tie each rope into a single knot; tuck top end of rope under bottom edge of roll. Place each roll on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with plastic wrap coated with baking spray; let rise in a draft-free place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  6. Combine egg & water in a small dish; brush egg mixture over rolls. Sprinkle with everything seasoning mix. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks.
Recipe Notes
  • If you wish, shape your dough into more than one style of bun.

Crispy Seed & Fruit Oat Diamonds

Faster to make than cookies, easier to transport than a cake and equally as delicious as both, what’s not to love about dessert squares (or in this case ‘diamonds’).

The classic rice krispie treats recipe found on the back of the cereal box call for very few ingredients. While we will forever appreciate the simplicity of the sweet treat in its unaltered form, its hard not to experiment with a few new ideas.

There’s a good reason why oatmeal cookies are the poster child for rolled oats. Oatmeal can enhance a whole range of dough and/or batters from pancakes to bread & muffins, etc.

The idea of putting oatmeal, rice krispies, pumpkin seeds & candied fruit peel all in one dessert bar is the ultimate rice krispie treat in my opinion.

You can choose to cut them in whatever shape you wish depending on the the baking pan you use. I wanted to bake these in a 9 x 13 pan and cut them into diamonds for this blog recipe. I had previously made the same recipe in a drop cookie form. Same great taste, just a different shape.

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Crispy Seed & Fruit Oat Diamonds
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DIAMONDS
Ingredients
Batter
Lemon Glaze
Servings
DIAMONDS
Ingredients
Batter
Lemon Glaze
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Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease or line (w/parchment paper) baking pan of choice & set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda & oatmeal.
  3. In a large bowl, cream together butter & sugars until light & fluffy. Mix in vanilla & eggs until well incorporated. Add flour mixture & mix until completely combined.
  4. Stir in seeds, fruit & rice krispies with a spatula.
  5. Press batter into prepared baking pan. Bake 20 minutes, until LIGHTLY golden on the edges. These bars are best if slightly under-baked. They may look shiny & under-baked, but will darken & set up as they cool.
  6. Cool completely then cut into desired size & shape (squares, diamonds or bars). Drizzle with lemon glaze & remove diamonds from pan.
Recipe Notes
  • If you are not a fan of pumpkin seeds or candied fruit peel, just substitute them with your own favorites.

Oatmeal Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies

We are now officially into fall, so its time to think in terms of a bit of pumpkin. I had not considered pumpkin as part of a sandwich cookie before, but oatmeal with pumpkin and cream cheese makes good sense to me. There’s more to oatmeal cookies than the recipe on the Quaker Oats box. In fact there’s a lot of amazing combinations out there but first a bit of food history.

Oatmeal cookies evolved from oatcakes, a type of plain flatbread made centuries ago by the British and the Scots. Raisins and nuts were added to the mix somewhere around the Middle Ages to make them tastier. When oatmeal cookies became elevated to the ranks of ‘health food’, a recipe for them appeared on containers of Quaker Oats. These recipes were circulated widely and oatmeal cookies were soon common in households throughout North America.

An important part of these cookies lies in the spices. Rather than using a pre-made ‘pumpkin pie spice’, I like to give them a personal touch by using my own combination. This way, you can control the flavor better. Feel free to adjust the spice mix to suit your taste or just simply go with cinnamon.

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Oatmeal Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies
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SANDWICH COOKIES
Ingredients
Cookies
Servings
SANDWICH COOKIES
Ingredients
Cookies
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Instructions
Spice Mix
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together spice mix combination from recipe notes & set aside.
Cookies
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt & 1 1/2 tsp spice mixture; add oatmeal & pumpkin seeds; mix together.
  2. In a bowl, using a hand mixer, cream butter until light & fluffy. Add sugars & beat until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin puree, egg yolk & vanilla; mix to combine. Add flour mixture, mixing ONLY until combined. Place dough in refrigerator & chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper. Scoop dough into 2 tsp sized balls & place on cookie sheet. Press with a dampened for to flatten a bit. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until done but not browned. Allow to cool for 1 minute before transferring to a wire cooling rack.
Filling
  1. In a bowl, beat together cream cheese & butter until smooth. Add in pumpkin & mix until fully incorporated. Add remaining spice mixture & powdered sugar about 1/4 cup at a time, allowing each prior amount to fully mix into the filling before adding more.
  2. Spread or pipe filling on half of the cooled cookies & top with remaining cookies. This recipe makes 5 dozen filled cookies so you may want to freeze some.
Recipe Notes
  • ¬†Spice Mixture Recipe (2 1/8 tsp):
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp EACH nutmeg & cloves
  • 1/8 tsp EACH ginger, cardamom & white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground star anise