FLAT Ginger Molasses Cookies

This post has been sitting in my brain since Thanksgiving (the Canadian one, that is), so I figured for the American one I could accent your Black Friday with a chewy cookie.

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These cookies inspired by Gimme Some Oven came out way flatter than I normally like and tasted a little greasy. I still prefer my Starbucks knockoff cookies, but I’m always on the lookout for another recipe, and someday when I no longer have a tiny boy with a short attention span on my hands, I may come up with my own.

Start, as you do with most cookies, with your powdery bits. Whisk together 4 cups flour, 4 teaspoons baking soda, and 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (put it together from here).

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Set that aside and cream together 1 1/2 cups salted softened butter, and 2 cups granulated sugar.

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Then pour yourself a lovely gob of 1/2 cup molasses.

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Tip that into the butter mix, together with 2 eggs, and beat that up until combined.

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Slowly add the flour mix and beat until well combined. Chill that dough for 30 minutes.

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Preheat your oven to 375°F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll your dough into golf ball-sized balls and roll them in granulated sugar (with a dash of cinnamon mixed in). Plop them on the baking sheet and leave a lot of space as they flatten quite a bit.

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Bake those puppies for 8-10 minutes, until they start to crack, then let them cool on the sheet before removing them to a rack (or just eating them).

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See? They expand quite a bit. And eat all the other cookies.

Again, not my favourite adaptation but good nonetheless.

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Lemon Bread Pudding

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Here’s yet another recipe for trying to get rid of the massive amount of lemon pudding/curd I have left. Also a recipe for dealing with a lazy breakfast when you still have weird leftovers from the holidays. Here I have some of my pudding, half a panettone (my favourite fruity egg bread), some cream, and some eggs.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and butter up a baking dish.

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Crack 4 eggs into a bowl and whisk ’em up.

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Pour in a dollop or two of the cream, and add some vanilla and some pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon or whatever) and give it a beating.

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Grab your panettone. Inhale the gorgeous fruity aroma.

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Then rip it to shreds and drop some of the bits into the baking dish. Add a few dollops of pudding.

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Then add some more panettone. And more dollops of pudding.

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Then when you’re done/you’ve filled the dish, pour your eggy/cream mixture all over the whole thing.

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Let it soak in for a minute.

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Then pop it in the oven for about 45 minutes, until the middle is solid. If it starts to brown too much on the top while you’re waiting for the interior to solidify then cover it up to keep it from burning.

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Let it sit for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven so that you don’t burn your face off.

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Then serve for breakfast with a bit of maple syrup or some whipped cream!

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Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting: Redux

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Two years ago yesterday I made this post, and to date it’s my most popular post of all time. It didn’t garner a lot of attention when I stuck it up there, but daily it’s my most-visited, most-pinned item – by thousands. AND I HAVE NO IDEA WHY. My second-most popular post of all time? Wattle fencing. Third? Cleaning your dishwasher. What is WRONG with you guys? You have seriously weird tastes.

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So the Pie thought it would be fun for me to re-create the post to see if it’s just as good the second time, so here I go: but with way more pizzazz than the first time. HOLD ON TO YER BUTTS.

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Making this for a second time, I’m reminded of how stupidly easy it is, which might be part of its allure. I mean, it feels like I’m making it out of a box, it’s so simple. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and spraying a 9″ x 13″ baking dish. I am doubling this recipe so don’t be alarmed by the sheer amount of pumpkin cake you see here.

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Grab a large bowl and dump in 1 15oz can of unsweetened pumpkin purée. Crack in 4 eggs,  tip in 1 cup vegetable oil, and plop in 1 cup sugar (I reduced this from the last recipe). Give it a thorough whirl with a whisk so it’s gloriously and uniformly orange. Next, in a whole other bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (that’s another small change from the last one).

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Dump that flour stuff carefully into the pumpkin stuff and be thorough with the mixing again.

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Smooth the batter (wasn’t that easy?) into your baking dish and shove it in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

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Set that glorious orange cake on a wire rack to cool completely. Now you can whip together your amazing cream cheese frosting. I’m doubling the icing amount on this one because I believe that cream cheese icing is the greatest thing in the world and everything needs more of it (this is also why I reduced the sugar in the batter).

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In the bowl of a mixer, plop 8oz/250g plain cream cheese that is room temperature (to avoid lumps) and 1/2 cup softened butter, with a few drops vanilla extract. Beat that smooth and then add in 2-4 cups icing sugar until it’s the consistency that you like.

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Spread that amazingness generously on your lovely dark orange cake and EAT IT.

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Thrifty me, I still had some cream cheese icing leftover from the General’s Spider-Man cake, so I used it on my second cake. It looks a little funny but it tastes just as good!

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 15You’ll have to forgive the photo quality here: I mixed the dough in the dead of night and then made the cookies at the crack of dawn so they’d be a nice birthday surprise for the Pie.  This dough is very soft so I would recommend baking your cookies from frozen(or at least chilled). Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 1

Start with 1/2 cup butter and cream that together with 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 2Now crack in 2 eggs, tip in 2 teaspoons vanilla, and scoop in 2/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth, up to you). Beat the crap out of that. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 3

In another bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or just cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg), and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder. Tip that into the other stuff and mix it until a soft dough forms.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 4Add in 1 cup oats and 1 1/3 cups peanut butter chips (that’s basically a whole package). Mix, mix, mix! Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 6

Roll the dough into golf-ball-sized chunks, set them on a baking sheet, and freeze them (or don’t – but this is what I did in order to keep the secret).

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 8Once they’re frozen, transfer them to an airtight freezer bag if you’re not making all of them right away. Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 10

When you’re ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°F and set your cookie balls on a baking sheet – leave a decent amount of space between them. If the dough is soft, squish the cookies a bit to flatten them. If not, then shove them in the oven for a while and squish them after about 5 minutes. I baked these for about 12 minutes, until the bottoms were a dark brown and the tops were golden. Leave them to solidify on the pan while they cool and then leave them on a table for your husband to discover when he wakes up in the morning.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 11Cookies for breakfast? Yes please! Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies 12

The From-Scratch-iest Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Some day I’m gonna be super hardcore, growing my own pumpkins in my magic pumpkin patch and harvesting my own gluten-free flour from the enormous gluten-free flour tree on my massive acreage. Until then, however, I will acquire all my ingredients from fairies, just like everyone else. Or the grocery store. Whichever is more convenient.

Still, there’s a certain satisfaction to be garnered from taking a thing from the absolute start to its completion. For me, for now, that means making things as from scratch as I possibly can. And for this particular recipe, that means pie crust from scratch and pumpkin that I slaughtered and roasted myself. Don’t question my wording on that. Have you ever cut up a pumpkin? Yes, “slaughter” is appropriate.

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Let’s start with that, shall we? Look at these beautiful pumpkins. These are NOT carving pumpkins. They are sugar pumpkins or pie pumpkins, specifically grown for their tender sweetness and exactly the sort of thing you want to dismember and roast for this pie.

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Give them a good washing to remove any dirt.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and grab yourself a nice big rimmed cookie sheet or baking dish.

Decapitate your pumpkin by gently sawing off its stem.

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Cleave the pumpkin in two vertically.

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Eviscerate your pumpkin by scooping out the seeds and guts. You can wash and dry the seeds for roasting later on. They’re very good for you but may make you a little gassy. Just sayin’.

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Brush the fleshy surfaces of the pumpkin with vegetable oil. If you’re roasting this pumpkin for savoury purposes, then you would probably dust it with salt and pepper as well, but we’re using it for un-savoury purposes (as in, sweet, not nefarious), so you probably shouldn’t do that.

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Place the pumpkin halves face-down on the baking sheet and let that roast for about 45-60 minutes (depending on your pumpkin size). If you want this whole thing to go faster, then cut the pumpkin into smaller pieces.

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When the pumpkin is done the whole thing can be stabbed easily with a sharp knife.

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While that is baking, try to figure out how to scrub the residue off your hands. It’s harder than you think.

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Let the pumpkins cool a little bit so you don’t burn yourself, then scoop out the flesh and discard the skins.

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I ate some toasted pumpkin seeds while I waited for the pumpkin to cool a little bit more.

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I puréed the pumpkin flesh in a food processor to make it extra smooth.

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Because fresh pumpkin is more watery than canned pumpkin, you might want to drain it a bit. These mesh bags are actually for picking produce at the farmer’s market, but they’re also perfect strainers for thick substances like mashed pumpkin.

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I ended up with about 4 cups pumpkin goo, which is pretty much exactly what I needed for two pies. I shoved it in the fridge for a couple of days before I made the pie.

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Now for the crust, which I prepped the night before I made the pie. Gluten-free pie dough still needs to rest, just the same as regular pie dough, so that the flour can absorb all the liquid properly. This recipe, adapted from Martha Stewart, makes one pie shell bottom, so I did it twice.

As with regular pie crust, you still want all your ingredients to be ice cold when you work with them, and you want to handle them as little as possible.

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Start by whisking together 1/2 cup gluten-free all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup white rice flour, 1 teaspoon xanthan gum, and 2 teaspoons castor/superfine sugar in a small bowl.

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As well, assemble a small pitcher of ice water. Cube 1/2 cup cold butter and put that in a bowl as well. Finally, crack 1 large egg into another bowl and scramble it a little. Shove the water and the egg into the fridge and the butter and flour into the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

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When you’re ready to go, dump your flour and your butter into the bowl of your food processor.

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Pulse the dough until the butter forms little pea-sized crumbs.

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Tip in the egg, as well as 1-2 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough clumps together.

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I would err on the side of less water as opposed to more. In this batch I think I added 2 tablespoons water and you can see it’s very sticky (gluten-free dough will be stickier by nature, but not this sticky).

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So the next time round I used less water and got this more crumbly dough.

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Squish your dough into a patty and wrap it in plastic. Let it chill in the fridge for at least an hour, preferably three hours, at best, overnight.

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When you’re ready to roll (literally), place a piece of waxed paper on your work surface and lightly dust it with gluten-free flour. Plop your dough patty down and dust that with flour as well.

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Place another sheet of waxed paper over top and carefully use a rolling pin to spread out your dough. Work from the inside out, and flip it over and lift up the waxed paper as often as possible so it doesn’t stick in weird wrinkles.

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When you’re ready to plop the dough into your 12″ pie pan, remember that the dough will stick more to the waxed paper than regular dough, so you might want to chill it a bit beforehand.

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Trim and crimp the edges as usual and chuck it back in the fridge.

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If you’re only making one pie, then halve the ingredients for the filling, but if you’re making two (because really, why not make two?), then here’s how you do it. In a large bowl, whisk together 4 cups pumpkin purée, 3 300mL cans sweetened condensed milk (900mL total), 4 large eggs, and 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice.

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Nice and smooth and sweet!

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Pour the filling into your two shells and carefully shove them into the oven (preheated to 425°F) on the same rack, if possible. Bake for 15 minutes at 425°F, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 35-45 minutes.

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They will be done when the middle is almost set and you can jab a knife into the filling about an inch from the crust and it comes out clean.

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Set those on a rack to cool completely, then EAT!

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Pumpkin Muffins

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The Pie is a huge, HUGE fan of muffins.  Not really sure why.  But he is.  And he requested that with the massive amounts of pumpkin purée we have that I make up some pumpkin muffins.  And I love the Smitten Kitchen so much that I knew I had to use her recipe for these delightful little things.

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Start by preheating your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with cupcake cups.  I made these pre-Hallowe’en so the festive liners are TOTALLY justified.

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In one bowl, use a whisk to mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar, and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice (I told you we were going to need it again soon!).

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In yer other bowl, whisk together 1 cup pureed pumpkin (if you’re using a canned variety, make sure that it’s the pure stuff, not the stuff pre-mixed with spices), 2 eggs, and 1/3 cup vegetable oil.  I also added in 1 teaspoon vanilla.

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Now pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and use that same whisk again until it’s fully combined.  The whisk means that you can get all the ingredients all mixed in but you don’t have to worry about overmixing.

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Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, so that each cup is about 3/4 full, and combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar with 2 teaspoons cinnamon to sprinkle over top.

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Bake until they are lovely and puffy and gold and a toothpick inserted in the centre of the centre muffin comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

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Let those sit in the pan on a rack for about five minutes before you transfer them out of the pan and directly onto the rack.  Then you can go ahead and eat them.

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I love mine with butter.

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The Pie just loves them, period.

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Especially that glorious crusty top.

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Pumpkin Spice Cookies

HAPPY BIRTHDAY POPPA!

Photo by Ian and Jacky Parker
Badass in a tuxedo at my wedding, holding ice cream.  (Photo by Jackie.)

Today my dad turns SIXTY-FIVE. He’s very well preserved. And still my go-to guy for all information regarding everything. Ever. How to replace a toilet. The exact reasons behind the Red River Rebellion. How to put a motion through City Council.  Which tools are the best for the job at hand. How to use a sextant. The correct procedure for loading and firing a torpedo. Yup, he knows all that stuff.  And more.

Office Reno
Like how to install crown moulding, for instance.

In fact, it’s usually a shock to my brain when I find out that he doesn’t know the answer to something. It’s just too weird.  He’s like prehistoric Google or something.

Dad and Me
Enjoying box seats at the Sens game a few years ago. I actually know more about hockey than he does.  Shocker.  (Photo by Doodle.)

I’m not where he is and he’s not where I am and I have to bake some stuff for the Sweet Treats group at work, so I’m baking today with Dad in mind. He loves cookies pretty much more than anything, and I hope you do, too.  Enjoy!

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I have so much pumpkin puree.  SO VERY MUCH.  I hacked up our carved jobbies from our pumpkin-off, because we only had them out for the day and they were totally salvageable.

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And then I boiled the crap out of them and mashed and blended what came out of it.  I know that I should have roasted them instead but the way that my pumpkin bits worked, that just wasn’t possible.  So boiling it was.

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I ended up with a full 14 cups of puréed pumpkin.  So be warned: there will be several pumpkin-related recipes in the days that follow.

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With the first bit of it, I’m going to make these pumpkin oatmeal spice cookies (recipe from Love From the Oven) for the good folks at work.  So to start, preheat your oven to 350°F and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

In one bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups puréed pumpkin (if you’re using canned pumpkin, make sure it’s pure pumpkin, not pumpkin pie filling, which has its own sugar and spices already added), 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla until well-blended.

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In another bowl, mix together 3 cups rolled oats, 1 1/2 cups flour (you could use gluten-free flour here, as you don’t have to worry about rising), 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and about 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice.

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I like to use the cinnamon/ginger/nutmeg/allspice/clove combination I found at My Baking Addiction. If you’re feeling adventurous, try grinding and grating your own spices for it.

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Cinnamon is harder to grate than nutmeg.

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Some day I will have a dedicated spice grinder, but until then I just carefully wipe out my coffee grinder and chuck in my allspice and cloves.

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Then you just chuck it in a jar for the next time you need it — which, with the way we’re going, is going to be soon.

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Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.  Your dough is going to be very stiff, so make sure you get everything mixed in well.

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You can add in more spices, as well as raisins, chocolate chips, or nuts.  I decided to add some chocolate chips and pecans for a bit of extra sweetness and crunch.

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Use a spoon to drop the dough onto the baking sheets, and press them down a bit with your fingers (they won’t spread).  Bake them for about 12-15 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until they start to brown.

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Store in a sealed container for a few days or freeze for comfort food cravings some time in the winter!

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