We are introduced, at an early age, to the sweet wondernous of a cookie. From teething cookies to soothe the swollen aching gums of incoming incisors, onto animal crackers purchased in rectangular-shaped boxes bearing a string handle for easy toting by little fingers. Deciding which part of the animal should be eaten first-the trunk of the elephant or the tail of a lion-depended on how hungry one was. Savor each and every one or simply gobble them down as fast as possible.

My next cookie memory would be the ever famous, possibly all-time favorite, the chocolate chip cookie. There is nothing better than to bite into a round circle of baked dough sprinkled with gooey melt-in-your-mouth chocolate. A chocolate chip cookie can dry tears, heal broken hearts, mend scraped knees and elbows and solve sibling arguments. Most of the problems in the world could likely be solved by a properly baked, right out of the oven, chocolate chip cookie. The power of a cookie is underestimated.

I will attempt in the next 365 days to prepare and comment on a year’s worth of different cookies-one for each day. My goal is to share with others my extreme love of cookies-baking them and especially eating them! Feel free to send me your favorite recipe, your earliest cookie memories, or how cookies may have influenced your life. Cookies Rule!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cookie Recipe #102 - Orange Pumpkin Bars

If you still have some pumpkin left from a previous cookie recipe (March 20-Pumpkin Cookies with Brown Butter Icing), here's a way to use it in the form of a bar cookie. This moist, spicy square has orange juice in both the bar and the icing along with some orange zest giving it a little zing....

Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 cup canned solid-packed pumpkin, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, 1/2 cup raisins (optional), 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons orange juice, 2 tablespoons butter, softened, 1/2 teaspoon grated orange peel.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13x9 inch baking pan; set aside. Combine pumpkin, granulated sugar, oil, eggs, brown sugar, and orange juice in large mixing bowl and beat well. Combine flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt in medium mixing bowl, then gradually add to creamed mixture until smooth. Stir in nuts and raisins, if desired. Pour into prepared pan, spreading evenly.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35 minutes or until center springs back when touched lightly. Cool completely on cooling rack.

To make icing, combine powdered sugar, orange juice, butter and orange peel. Beat until smooth and spread over cooled bars. Cut into bars or squares and serve.

Makes 36 squares.

"Treasury of Holiday Cookies" published by Publications International, LTD, Lincolnwood, IL, in 1994.

Cookies Rule!!!

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