Sunday, November 12, 2006

Pumpkin Sandwich Cookies

For the last few weeks I have been dying to bake, but have just been too busy between school, work, and completing my Teach in Japan applications. However I had 2 exams last week so once those were over I thought I would take advantage of some free time to get some fall baking in. Pumpkin flavored treats have been my obsession this fall season (especially Trader Joe's pumpkin butter!) so I knew I wanted to bake some kind of pumpkin cookies. While cruising through the food blogasphere (bleh..I hate that word ^_^;) I came across these "oreo" chocolate sandwich cookies on TunaTost. They looked so tasty and cute that I was inspired to use the same idea and make pumpkin sandwich cookies, kind of like a pumpkin oreo. Doing a quick search for pumpkin cookie recipes I found one on Bakingsheet which sounded good and for the filling I decided to use the same filling recipe from that TokyoAstroGirl from Tunatoast used for her inspiring oreo cookies.

Since I usually try to cook healthy I did feel a bit guilty while buying all the butter for these cookies. The dough was a cinch to put together but the oven in my boyfriends apartment isn't quite the best quality which resulted in some of the cookies burning on the bottom before being cooked throughout. I had meant to pick up an oven thermometer and will definitely be doing so before my next baking adventure. Only one batch was burnt really bad though.The cookies were tasty but the pumpkin to be as pronounced as I wanted. This may have been because I added a little extra of the spices and a dash of ginger since ginger one of my favorite flavors. The extra spices may have been a little overpowering and inhibited the pumpkin flavor from being able to really shine. The texture was not too cakey like some pumpkin cookies tend to be but was still nice and soft. The filling turned out really good and helped give a little more sweetness and interest to the cookie. Since pumpkin cookies are nice and soft they make perfect sandwich cookies, they were almost like mini cakes, how cute!! Overall I was satisfied with the results but I think I have more fun when I don’t bake Paula Dean style (i.e. lots and lots of butta). The challenge of trying to make bad for you stuff somewhat healthy but still super yummy makes cooking a little more interesting. I mean, almost anything can taste good when you have 2 sticks of butter in it, but making something taste good on a tablespoons of flax seeds blended with water till frothy is another then you don't have to feel so guilty polishing off a plate of 'em.

here are links to the recipes:
Pumpkin Cookies
Creamy Vanilla Filling

All you have to do is make the cookies, minus the chocolate (although you could try it with, a little chocolate never hurts). It helps to try and make them round and about the same size. After the cookies have cooled, make the filling. Then use a pastry bag to dollop a little frosting on the back of a cookie and press it on another to make a yummy yummy pumpkin sandwich cookie. Happy Baking!!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Japanese Kit Kats II - An Nin & Uji-Kintoki Milk

I enjoyed my Japanese kit kat experience so much last time that I bought some more from the same guy on ebay. While I have to admit that getting candy off of ebay does seem a little weird to me, it is also a lot of fun. It is great getting to try special edition flavors from the other side of the world. This time I ordered a regular size An Nin Dessert Kit Kat bar and a bag of Uji-Kintoki Milk Mini kit kats.

The An Nin Dessert Kit Kat was absolutely amazing, probably my favorite so far. An Nin Dofu is a sweet-almond-tofu dessert that is eating in China. The taste was definitely very sweet but also very complex. The flavor is a little hard to describe accurately and it kept changing making want to take more and more bites. At first it tasted almost like bubble gum, but definitely more tart. The almond flavor reminded me of the spritz cookies my mom used to bake made with almond extract. I really love the texture of the "chocolate" in the Japanese kit kats. Its much smoother and creamier than the American variety and the wafer is much lighter too. My boyfriend really enjoyed this flavor. He said that it reminded him of something from when he was little, maybe it was spritz cookies as well. As with all the other Japanese kit kats I've had, it tasted best when chilled. The blue box packaging is so pretty! I really love how the regular sized bars come with two individually wrapped pieces.

The other bag bag of Uji-Kintoki Milk Mini kit kats are supposed to be Kakigori, a dessert consisting of shaved ice topped with sweet azuki beans , green tea and milk. While this variety sound very complicated, these kit kats tasted exactly like the regular green tea flavor. The only difference was that the creme between the wafers was red and not green. I guess that is supposed to be azuki bean, but it didn't change the flavor at all.Since I really enjoyed the machakats it is not a bad thing that they tasted the same. However since I could have just bought a bag of the regular green tea flavor from Mitsuwa for about half the price, its seems kind of silly to have bought them off of ebay. Oh well, I still enjoyed them very much and the bag is much prettier (its all about the packaging ^_^). Hmmm...I wonder what new fall flavors they have...