Here is another “Autumn Cookie” that could actually double as a Christmas Cookie. I seem to be experimenting a lot with these sorts lately. Ginger and cinnamon make it at least sort of like a Christmas Cookie, though I do associate maple more with the fall (don’t really know why though). At any rate, really simple and homey. Do beware that they spread a lot because of the maple syrup.
Here is my unsolicited piece of advice for fruit pie baking: cook the fillings separately. There are lots of reasons that this is a good idea, but most importantly, if you are baking a two crust pie (top and bottom), pies have a tendency to dome; that is, you fill them full of raw fruit and then when the fruit condenses in the baking process, you have a top crust that sits above (or collapses on to) the pie. If you cook the filling ahead of time, then you’ve already removed much of the water from the equation. Another bonus of cooking the filling separately is that you can do it up to a week in advance, so you aren’t pressed for time on the day of, or the day before, the holiday. Fair warning though, you will need double as much fruit than if you use raw in your pie. For example, this 9-inch pie used a full 14 medium sized apples (my non-pre-cook recipe uses about 8 apples).
These are not Christmas Cookies. OK, they aren’t Christmas Cookies this year as they were just an experiment to see how they worked out. Every year I do try to add a new cookie type to the Christmas Cookie Madness, but I try them out first before hand. These turned out lovely and I think they work well as a harvest / Thanksgiving-type cookie as well. Lots of orange and cranberry flavor.
Another “cold-weather” recipe. This weekend, it was kinda cold and rainy here in Boston. No big deal — it is November, after all — but it did inspire me to make another cold weather meal. This is very creamy, even though it uses only milk, not cream. The trick is to use a combination of both mealy (ie. russetts) and waxy (red, yukon gold) potatoes. The russetts fall apart and lend their starch to the broth, versus the waxy that hold together. I even used a few purple potatoes in mine, just for contrast.
Thought I would make another Thanksgiving-appropriate, yet “Handheld” and easy to share trat, in case anyone is looking for ideas for the big Turkey Day coming up in a few weeks. These Maple Pecan Shortbread bars are very much like Pecan Pie (with a whole lot of maple!) yet double as “blondies” in essence. They hold up nicely in the fridge for at least 4-5 days (if they last that long) and can be eaten “on the go” … or stick one in the microwave for 20-30 seconds, top with ice cream, and your back to eating pie. No matter what the question, pie is always the answer.