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!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cookie Recipe #280 - Pumpkin Spice Bars

Make a batch of these to enjoy after carving your jack-o-lantern. All three layers combine to form an irresistible bar of goodness.

Ingredients: 2 cups graham cracker crumbs or gingersnap crumbs, 7 tablespoons butter, melted, 1 2/3 cups plus 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided, 2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 4 eggs, 1 can (15 ounces)pumpkiin puree, 1 cup vegetable oil. Cream cheese frosting: 1 package (8 ounces)cream cheese, softened, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 4 cups powdered sugar. Halloween-shaped sprinkles.

Instructions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 15x11-inch pan with foil; set aside. In a small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and the 1/4 cup granulated sugar until well combined. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Using a measuring cup with a flat bottom, smooth mixture to form an even crust.

Bake crust until fragrant, about 6 minutes; let cool completely. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, remaining granulated sugar, pumpkin, and oil; stir in flour mixture.

Using a rubber spatula, spread the pumpkin mixture evenly over the cooled crust in pan. Bake in 350 degree oven until filling pulls away from the pan, 25-30 minutes; let cool completely in pan.

Make the Cream Cheese Frosting: In medium bowl, combine cream cheese, milk, vanilla, and 1 cup of the powdered sugar; mix well. Continue adding powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, until of spreading consistency. Spread evenly over cooled bars. To make design, draw tines of fork in a zigzag pattern over frosting and sprinkle with Halloween-shaped sprinkles.

Cut into 24 bars and serve.

"Great American Home Baking Cookie Collection", MM International Masters Publishers AB, Pittsburgh, PA.

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