Maple-Pumpkin Pillow Cookies

A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend about ideas for the blog and what I wanted to make coming up. She mentioned that I have not been giving cookies enough attention here at Pie with Sparkles, and she’s right! In the [almost] 9 months of blogging — wow, has it really been 9 months already?! — I’ve only published one cookie-related post… So I think it’s time that cookies get a feature! And getting on a cookie-kick is perfect since the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is coming up very soon!

This recipe is the last in my pumpkin series: the Maple-Pumpkin Pillow Cookie. The first thing people have asked when I talked about the Maple-Pumpkin Pillow Cookies was, “What’s a pillow cookie?” Well, I decided to call them “pillow cookies” because I think that describes their texture perfectly. They are a light and cake-like cookie, like a little tasty pillow.

The pumpkin cookies are sweetened with both sugar and maple syrup, as a nod to being Canadian and creating this recipe while visiting my grandparents this fall. They are then topped with a maple glaze to amp up the maple flavor, which goes beautifully with the spiced pumpkin cookie. And they taste AMAZING! 😀

This is also the first thing I’ve baked in my new-to-me kitchen! It’s been a bit of an adjustment to get used to a new kitchen layout and oven, but I’m loving the huge increase in space! I used to blog everything from a kitchen that was only about 3 feet wide in each direction with one counter-top. But now, I actually have space to move around, and I don’t need to pull chairs in to the hallway to have a place to put things down!

The kitchen was the first thing to be organized and unpacked, and I’ve been playing around in it ever since I moved in! However, I did misplace my cookie scoop during the move, so I made the first batch of cookies with an ice cream scoop. With a few extra minutes of baking time, they still came out perfect, but they were a little BIG for the average person… The boyfriend and I have been splitting them for dessert, but feel free to make some HUGE cookies if that’s your style! 😀 (Just add about 4 or 5 minutes to the baking time.)

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading!  🙂

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Pumpkin-Chocolate Swirl Cheesecake

Hello, my name is Emily, and I’m addicted to cheesecake. But I’m not necessarily addicted to eating cheesecake, just baking it… I love the simple elegance of a cheesecake, and the almost endless possibilities of flavors. Between crusts, fillings, and toppings, there are hundreds of options!  And after discovering the amazing combination of pumpkin and chocolate when I made the Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars, I knew that I needed to make a pumpkin and chocolate cheesecake!

I waffled between a few different options for this cheesecake, but I finally settled on an idea. (Thanks to my mom and grandma for their opinions. More chocolate = always better!) This cheesecake starts with a simple chocolate graham cracker crust. I use Teddy Grahams because I can never seem to find chocolate graham crackers in any of my grocery stores. Then pumpkin cheesecake is swirled together with chocolate-pumpkin cheesecake. The result is absolutely mouth-watering.

A few tips on cheesecake baking:

  • Do not over-mix your cheesecake. This will incorporate extra air in to the batter and could cause your cheesecake to crack.
  • Bake your cheesecake in a water bath to keep the air in the oven moist and allow the cheesecake to bake slowly and evenly. This will prevent the cheesecake surface from cracking.
  • Your cheesecake is done when it is set in the center but still wobbly. If you jiggle the pan a little, the very center should wobble like gelatin.
  • Let the cheesecake sit in the oven for about an hour after it is done cooking to allow it to cool very slowly. (This will also help prevent cracking.)
  • Be sure to cool your cheesecake overnight in the refrigerator, or for at least 6 hours. This will make sure it has the right consistency for serving.

This cheesecake is perfect for a holiday gathering (Thanksgiving is coming up next week!) or company potluck or any other occasion where you want to pull out a stunning and impressive dessert. I may even make another one for the office potluck next week! 🙂

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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I’ve moved!

Well, this weekend was the big move-in with the boyfriend! Last week involved packing up everything in my apartment to either go to the new apartment, storage, or charity, and this week involves all of the unpacking and organizing. I culled a massive amount of stuff from my old apartment and took on the daunting task of combining 2 kitchens worth of things this weekend! But now the kitchen (obviously the most important part of any house) is organized and ready for holiday baking.

Given the craziness of my personal life, I’m a little behind on baking and blogging… Thankfully, I spent time a few weeks ago making all of the pumpkin spice things I could fathom (5 new recipes!), so I still have 2 pumpkin posts coming up before Thanksgiving. After that, watch out for some winter and holiday themed recipes and ideas, pics of the cake I made for my friend’s 80s-cartoon-themed 30th birthday party, and my post for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012! 🙂

The next few weeks are going to be pretty busy, in between my birthday, Thanksgiving, upcoming holidays, and working in a new kitchen! Time to strap in and get set for a whirlwind! 😀

~ Emily

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

As all of you should already know, the east coast of the US with hit by Frankenstorm Sandy last week. After grocery shopping to prep for potentially being locked in my apartment for a few days, I made what felt like one of the most ridiculous things possible: ice cream. Twice. (I’ll post the other recipe later this fall!) Since DC tends to not lose power during storms (thank goodness for underground power lines), I felt pretty confident that my ice cream efforts would not be wasted. And, heck, if we did lose power, I figured I’d get friendly with the neighbors, and share the ice cream bounty…

This recipe for pumpkin pie ice cream was one of the five that I dreamed up a few weeks ago while on a pumpkin kick. (2 more to go!) While telling friends that I was going to make or had made pumpkin pie ice cream, the general consensus was that they were really disappointed in the other “pumpkin pie” ice creams they had previously tried. They just never tasted enough like pumpkin pie to fit the bill!

Well, readers and friends rejoice: I have created a pumpkin pie ice cream that tastes like a frozen slice of pumpkin pie! The secret to the extra flavor boost is gingersnaps blended in to the ice cream during the last few minutes. And, as you can [hopefully] see in the photos, even the gingersnaps are happy about it! 😉

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bars

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked for a recommendation for a pumpkin-based recipe, with the specific request that it also include chocolate. Well, I hadn’t spent much time looking at pumpkin recipes or making them either, so I unfortunately didn’t have a quick answer for her. But I added to my list of “things to make”, and came up with a pretty stellar recipe while on my pumpkin kick!

Thankfully, I had some time to catch up on baking this weekend. I got an unexpected two days off work due to Frankenstorm Sandy, and I a lot of time to bake in between packing up my apartment for the move-in with the boyfriend coming in a few days! (By the way, all is well in DC after Sandy. A lot of branches and leaves came down, but we maintained power and stayed safe through the storm. My heart goes out to everyone in states much worse off than us, including New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.)

These pumpkin chocolate chip bars are a like a cake’y Blondie, with chocolate chips and a strong pumpkin flavor. They are super-easy to mix and bake, which I was thankful for since my apartment is a bit crowded with boxes… I decided to bake them up in 2 8″ brownie pans, but you can also use a 9×13″ cake pan if you wish. (You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly though to make sure they are completely cooked in the center.)

Click below for the recipe! Have a question? Feel free to ask in the comments below! And thanks for reading! 🙂

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Warning: Pumpkin Recipes are Coming!

Yep, that’s right. It’s fall, and that means tons and tons of pumpkin recipes are flooding the interwebs… But, in my opinion, you can never have too many recipes to choose from!

I spent this weekend developing five new pumpkin recipes, so I’ll be posting one per week from now until Thanksgiving. Hopefully this will quench all of my pumpkin spice cravings!! 😀