Fes­tive treats and spiced sweets to warm the sea­son

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - FAM­ILY FEA­TURES Twit­ter: @in­dy_­com­mu­nity

Cooler tem­per­a­tures, chang­ing leaves and the fa­mil­iar scent of pump­kin pie spice are all signs of fall. Whether host­ing a pump­kin carv­ing party or dec­o­rat­ing sweet treats with fam­ily, maple-fla­vored leaf-shaped cook­ies, pump­kin patch cup­cakes and hot ap­ple cider will bring out the fes­tive spirit of the sea­son.

Pump­kin Patch Cup­cakes

Prep time: 30 min­utes Serv­ings: 24 cup­cakes

2 cups (4 sticks) but­ter, soft­ened 4 tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract 2 boxes (16 ounces each) con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar, sifted 3 ta­ble­spoons milk 1 1/2 tea­spoons Sun­flower color from McCormick Color from Na­ture — As­sorted Food Col­ors, di­vided

1/4 tea­spoon Berry color from McCormick Color from Na­ture — As­sorted Food Col­ors

1 tea­spoon Sky Blue color from McCormick Color from Na­ture — As­sorted Food Col­ors 24 un­frosted cup­cakes 12 reg­u­lar marsh­mal­lows, halved cross­wise

12 small choco­late fla­vored taffy rolls (Toot­sie Roll), halved cross­wise

Beat but­ter and vanilla in large bowl with elec­tric mixer on medium speed un­til light and fluffy. Grad­u­ally add con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar, beat­ing well af­ter each ad­di­tion and scrap­ing sides and bot­tom of bowl fre­quently. Add milk; beat un­til light and fluffy.

Re­move 2 cups of the frost­ing into medium mi­crowav­able bowl. Tint frost­ing or­ange us­ing 1 tea­spoon Sun­flower color and 1/4 tea­spoon Berry color. Set aside.

Tint re­main­ing frost­ing green us­ing 1 tea­spoon Sky Blue color and re­main­ing 1/2 tea­spoon Sun­flower color. Spread top of cup­cakes with green frost­ing. Us­ing a fork, gen­tly touch frost­ing in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions to re­sem­ble grass spikes.

To make the pump­kins, mi­crowave the or­ange frost­ing on HIGH 10 to 20 sec­onds or un­til runny. Us­ing a fork, dip marsh­mal­low halves into frost­ing mix­ture, then place on top of frosted cup­cakes. Let stand un­til pump­kin frost­ing has dried. Press a toot­sie roll half in cen­ter of each pump­kin for the stem. Dec­o­rate leaves and vines with re­main­ing green frost­ing, if de­sired.

Glazed Au­tumn Leaf Cook­ies

Prep time: 30 min­utes Cook time: 10 min­utes Serv­ings: 36 cook­ies

2 3/4 cups flour 1 tea­spoon salt 1 tea­spoon ground cin­na­mon 1/2 tea­spoon ground nut­meg 1 cup (2 sticks) but­ter, soft­ened 1 1/2 cups sugar 1 egg 2 tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract 2 tea­spoons maple ex­tract

Pre­heat oven to 325°F. Mix flour, salt, cin­na­mon and nut­meg in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat but­ter and sugar in large bowl with elec­tric mixer on medium speed un­til light and fluffy. Add egg, vanilla and maple ex­tract; mix well. Grad­u­ally beat in flour mix­ture on low speed un­til well mixed.

Roll dough on gen­er­ously floured sur­face to 1/4-inch thick­ness. Cut out leaves with 2- to 3-inch leaf-shaped cookie cut­ters. Place on un­greased bak­ing sheets.

Bake 8 to 10 min­utes or un­til edges start to brown. Cool on bak­ing sheets 1 minute. Re­move to wire racks; cool com­pletely.

Pre­pare de­sired col­ors of glazes. Dec­o­rate cooled cook­ies with glazes.

To glaze cook­ies, hold a cookie by its edge and dip the top into the glaze. (Or spoon the glaze onto cook­ies us­ing a tea­spoon.) Place iced cook­ies on wire rack set over foil-cov­ered bak­ing sheet to dry. (The foil-cov­ered bak­ing sheet will catch drips.) Let stand un­til glaze is set.

Ma­roon Cookie Glaze: Use 1/2 tea­spoon Berry color from McCormick Color from Na­ture — As­sorted Food

Col­ors, 3 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter (plus ad­di­tional to dis­solve color), 2 cups con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar and 1 tea­spoon co­coa pow­der.

For­est Green Cookie Glaze: Use 1/2 tea­spoon Sky Blue color and 1/4 tea­spoon Sun­flower color from McCormick Color from Na­ture — As­sorted Food Col­ors, 3 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter (plus ad­di­tional to dis­solve color), 2 cups con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar and 1 tea­spoon co­coa pow­der. Pump­kin Cookie Glaze: Use 1 tea­spoon Sun­flower color and 1/4 tea­spoon Berry color from McCormick Color from Na­ture — As­sorted Food Col­ors, 3 ta­ble­spoons wa­ter (plus ad­di­tional to dis­solve color) and 2 cups con­fec­tion­ers’ sugar. Test kitchen tips: Use glaze soon af­ter pre­par­ing. Do not re­frig­er­ate glaze, as it will be­gin to harden. Al­low glaze to dry be­fore stor­ing cook­ies in air­tight con­tain­ers.

Spiced Caramel Ap­ple Cider

Prep time: 5 min­utes Serv­ings: 4

4 cups ap­ple cider 1/4 cup caramel top­ping 1 tea­spoon ap­ple pie spice 2 tea­spoons vanilla ex­tract

Bring ap­ple cider, caramel top­ping and ap­ple pie spice to sim­mer in medium saucepan. Stir in vanilla. Pour into serv­ing cups. Serve topped with whipped cream, ad­di­tional caramel top­ping and ap­ple pie spice, if de­sired.

Fla­vor Vari­a­tions: For the vari­a­tions be­low, use the fol­low­ing ex­tract in place of the vanilla: Spiced Caramel Or­ange Cider:

Use 1/4 tea­spoon or­ange ex­tract. Spiced Caramel Maple Cider:

Use 3/4 tea­spoon maple ex­tract. Spiced Caramel Rum Cider:

Use 3/4 tea­spoon rum ex­tract.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF FAM­ILY FEA­TURES

Pump­kin Patch Cup­cakes

Glazed Au­tumn Leaf Cook­ies

Spiced Caramel Ap­ple Cider

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