I hate fall.
That’s right. I said it.
I realize this confession is like admitting to not liking puppies or ice cream, and every time I proclaim it to someone, I get the same shocked expression in return. But I don’t get it. As everyone’s skipping and smiling and gleefully announcing, “The air is colder; beach season has ended; the sun is gone, it must be fall!” I remain puzzled. What am I missing, and why are these reasons to celebrate? No more skirts and dresses, you have to wear more clothes to get comfortable, it’s dark by 4 o’clock, which of course causes a surge in my depressive woe-is-me thoughts, and worst of all, you know what’s just around the corner: winter—the most dreaded season of all.
But this year, something rather peculiar happened to me. As the air grew chillier, and the days got shorter, I found myself growing happier. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m in NO way happy for the weather changes. I 100% belong in the desert, and if I could figure out how to transport the beach, NYC, and my job there, I would. But something about fall had me excited.
I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to figure out what it is exactly I’m so excited about, and I’m really still not entirely sure. Maybe it’s because as we entered fall, I was coming out of another rough case of c.diff that had me mourning the loss of food and basically what felt like life as I knew it. I thought for certain I’d never feel healthy again, and now with the illness behind me yet again, I guess I had this whole renewal on life (sounds silly, but I did!). But another part of it was this warm, fuzzy feeling that I guess normal people get with this season. I find myself excited for fall activities, and pumpkin carving, and hot chocolate, and soon Thanksgiving (who doesn’t love a day that revolves around eating?) and even decorating for the holidays (even if that technically falls into winter, which we’re really, really not talking about).
And, then there is the one fall food fetish I can really get behind: PUMPKIN!
As soon as I was feeling better, I couldn’t wait to bake (another joyful thing I associate with cooler weather). I love baking around the holidays, and this year, I couldn’t wait to get started with a few pumpkin dishes, and soon-to-come, some apple ones. And there’s so many other fall flavors and foods I love (brussels sprouts, squash, sweet potatoes, cider, pears, cinnamon, nutmeg, caramel… okay maybe it’s just food that has me excited for fall!).
I kicked off the fall food with a pumpkin pasta I’ll post soon and these delicious pumpkin oatmeal cookies. It was my first time baking with gluten-free flour, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, but boy they were a hit. For one, I couldn’t stop eating them, but the coworkers I shared them with kept coming to ask if it was okay to take seconds and thirds. When I became gluten-free, one of the first things I thought of was that I wouldn’t be the “cookie girl” (as some have called me) at work anymore. It’s kind of my thing, and I love baking for other people. Sweets make me happy, and I like to make others happy with them. I started thinking that I’d have to make fully-glutened desserts anyway, but wondered how I’d pull that off without tasting them. This recipe brought me joy in knowing that you really can have g-free goodies that taste just as good as the real deal! Everyone kept asking me, “You can actually have these?” You bet. Ten at a time, in fact.
Spiced Pumpkin-Oatmeal Cookies
*adapted from chow
What you’ll need:
For the cookies:
- 2 cups gluten-free all-purpose baking flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
- 1 1/3 cups rolled gluten-free oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill again)
- 1/2 teaspoon Xanthan Gum (I used Bob’s Red Mill again)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
For the glaze:
- 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk (not nonfat), plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
**You could make these vegan by using Bob’s Red Mill egg replacer, a vegan butter replacement like Earth Balance shortening, and omitting the frosting or using soy or almond milk (vanilla flavored would probably be tasty, but you might need a bit more maple syrup or sugar for thickening).
What to do:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and arrange the racks to divide the oven into thirds. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
2. Whisk the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.
3. Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on medium speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
4. Add the egg and vanilla. Return the mixer to medium speed, and beat until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Stop the mixer and scrape down the paddle and the sides of the bowl.
5. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the reserved flour mixture and mix until just incorporated. Add half of the pumpkin and mix until just incorporated. Repeat with the remaining flour mixture and pumpkin.
7. Place both sheets in the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back and continue baking until the cookies are golden brown on the bottom and around the edges, about 12 minutes more.
8. Place the baking sheets on wire racks and let the cookies cool on the sheets for 3 minutes. Using a flat spatula, transfer the cookies to the wire racks to cool completely. Let the baking sheets cool to room temperature and then repeat with the remaining dough (you can use the same parchment paper). When all of the cookies are baked, set the pieces of parchment paper aside.
For the glaze:
1. Place all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until evenly combined.
2. Place all of the cooled cookies on the reserved parchment sheets. Dip a fork into the glaze and drizzle it over the cookies in a zigzag pattern. (Next time I’d use a zip-lock bag with a tip cut off or an icing/pastry bag to be more precise. I ended up running out of icing because I made a mess.)
3. Let the cookies sit at room temperature until the glaze has set, about 20 minutes. The recipe says they can be stored in a Tupperware container for 5 days. I think I had some left after 6 days and they were still fine. A very moist and delicious cookie that is great at breakfast!