Saturday, 5 October 2013

Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche frosting!



I made these easy drop cookies a couple weeks ago for a football party at Sweet One and TT's house, they are so soft and chewy. Then, I posted a picture the other day on Twitter and you all went a little nuts!! 

 
By the way, if you don't follow me check out the options to follow on the right side. I also have a Facebook page "Sew whats cooking with Joan Facebook" , you can click the "like" on the top of the page and Whaa La you are going to receive each post on your Facebook feed. 

Let's see, where were we....oh! Back to the delicious pumpkin cookies! They are topped with an incredible penuche frosting, they are delicious! Penuche (pun-noo-chee) is a brown sugar fudge-like candy. The name derived from the Mexican word for "raw sugar" or "brown sugar".
They are easy to make, stay soft for days and are just the right amount of spicy and sweet. Alone they are kind of boring, but with the glaze, they are addicting!! My only caution: don’t over bake them! You want these to stay tender and moist!


Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Frosting

Total preparation and cooking time 1 hour


1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 c. unsalted butter
1 c. canned plain pumpkin  (not puree)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
2 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c chopped pecans + extra whole pecans for decoration


Penache


3 T. unsalted butter
1/2 c. firmly packed sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 3/4 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla 

Pre-heat oven to 350 F degrees. In a kitchen-aide mixer large bowl, combine the sugar, brown sugar and softened butter. Add pumpkin, vanilla and egg, blend well. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, mix well. Stir in nuts. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart on silpat or parchment lined cookie sheet.



Bake at 350 F for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown around edges. Let the cookies sit for a minute to cool, then move to a cooling rack.

Meanwhile in a sauce pan combine 2 tablespoons butter and 1/2 cup brown sugar; bring to a boil. Cook over medium heat for 1 minute or until slightly thickened, stirring constantly. Cool 10 minutes. Add milk, beat until smooth. Beat in enough powdered sugar for desired spreading consistently. Frost the cooled cookies and garnish with whole pecan.



These pumpkin cookies taste so good, it's hard to eat just one! They freeze and travel well, especially if you let the icing completely dry, then layer the cookies between sheets of waxed paper.

                                                          ~~~

A few pictures of Wee Bear and I at Don Alfonso 1890. Hotel Ristorante Don Alfonso 1890 is located downtown in the quaint village of SantAgata sui Due Golfi on the romantic Sorrentine Peninsula. We were honored to have Livia (owner)invite and escort us throughout this beautiful restaurante, cooking school, wine cellar and boutique hotel, after our beautiful three + hour lunch.

 Here's the short version....... This was unequivocally the best meal of my life, an afternoon that Wee Bear and I will always remember.  We both had four courses we chose ala carte. Each one was exquisite, so much so, that Wee Bear and I sometimes became a chorus with closed eyes, moaning with the pleasure of the flavors.  How can this food DO this to your mouth when 98% of the stuff that you eat can't? Absolutely extraordinary natural food, all grown in their garden on the hills along the coast line. The most amazing part is I kept thinking, the next course cannot be as good as this course, so I would slowly savor each and every morsel, however the next course would prove me wrong.... unbelievably good.

The sommelier, a very nice man named Maurizio, served us wine with each course. At the end of the meal (it's now 3:30 in the afternoon, and we've been here since 1pm), Livia gave us a tour of their cooking school, we met the head chef and Livia's son, Ernesto. He welcomed us into the kitchen for pictures and discussion about their philosophy. We then toured the cooking school meeting the master chef, then we went into the wine cellar, which is one of the largest in Italy..... stone stairs descending down, down and even further down, 35 meters, into what were once Etruscan catacombs, passing chambers filled with Brunellos and Barolos and even - in a dusty little alcove above the stairs - a G H Mumm 1893 champagne and ending with a catacomb filled with Mozzarella cheese, that ages there for two years, hand made by these artists. When we emerged, we were invited to join Livia in the library, where she insisted I take a bag full of goodies all made there, olive oil, dried pasta and a beautiful coffee table book, that she wrote an entire page to me and signed. Livia asked me to sign her book and give me the blog address along with my card. To say we were blown away, is an understatement.......


I have eaten at great restaurants all over the world, but this one was in a class of its own.  Truly an experience to cherish.
There is so much more to this story, I will be writing an entire blog about the school, boutique hotel and the restaurant. to cover it all will take me time to write, so stay tuned!!

Salute!
JJ

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