Sunday, November 3, 2013

Sweet Treats with a Sweeter Experience

Today I have a fabulous fall dessert recipe to share, one word: pumpkin. But, more importantly, I'd like to share  a sweet testimony we heard today in church that just really put things into perspective.  

A new mom had just witnessed the blessing of her precious baby girl. (I sure do love baby blessings!)  She got up to the stand, a little teary eyed, and shared a beautiful testimony.  I'll have to paraphrase her story:

"It was prescribed by our doctor to give our little girl tummy time each day.  The purpose of tummy time is to help our baby girl get stronger- she will gain better control of her head and neck muscles.  That way, when she starts rolling, she will be able to lift her head up and be able to breathe if she gets stuck on her tummy. If she can't do this on her own, there is a possibility she could suffocate. Every day I try to remember to give my daughter tummy time.  As I sit and watch her this is what I observe; at first, she's a champion.  She struggles a little but keeps fighting.  Then, her confidence slowly turns into a whimper, she cries out and I can tell that as each second passes she's getting more and more tired.  Finally, she can't take it anymore, she's in tears and has to put her head down.  This part is hard for me, as her mother, I just want to swoop in and save the day.  I can tell that as I sit by and observe, she can't see me, and she has forgotten that I've been by her side the whole time.  But, as much as I want to pick her up and soothe her cries, I know that this tummy time is important- to make her stronger.  So it is with our Heavenly Father.  When we are faced with times of adversity and trial, and we find ourselves thinking, "Why me?", "Why haven't you saved me?", "Why can't you make this easier?", we must remember two things. One, He is always there.  Two, He know's what we can handle, He has a plan, He is only making us stronger, molding us to be the greatest we can achieve."  

This perfect analogy struck me hard today. I realized that I know that our Heavenly Father loves us. I'm certain of His love for me individually.  He gives us small doses of "tummy time", only to prepare us for what is to come, so that when faced with harder trials we won't suffocate.  

On a lighter note, the long awaited for recipe! (jk).  These soft but chewy cookies will convert even the most stubborn pumpkin haters!  I found the recipe on Pinterest (of course) and made my own adjustments.  Instead of a glaze, I chose to make some homemade cream cheese frosting.  *I added to the recipe: brown sugar (can't live without it), a little more pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves.  

I didn't do step by step pictures for this one.  But the final product is pictured above!

1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
*3/4 cup pumpkin puree (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
*1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
*1/4 teaspoon ginger
*1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
*pinch of cloves

1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 8oz. pkcg cream cheese at room temp
powdered sugar (I do this by ear, explanation below)
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
cinnamon-to sprinkle on top after cookies are frosted 

Preheat oven to bake at 350 degrees. Cream sugars, butter and vegetable oil (*tip: my mom always taught me that the longer you cream, the better the cookie-set your mixer on a high setting for this). Beat in eggs, pumpkin puree, and vanilla.  Mix in dry ingredients leaving flour for last. Slowly stir in flour one cup at a time (*tip: another mom trick, try not to mix the dough too much after the flour and dry ingredients have been added).  Scoop (heaping) 1 tablespoon drops of the dough onto a baking sheet.  Press each cookie down with a glass cup- about 1/2 inch thick.  Bake for 9-11 minutes.  While your cookies are baking beat together butter and cream cheese (for frosting) with a hand mixer.  Slowly mix in powdered sugar, I probably used almost a whole package.  You want your frosting to be light and hold it's shape, if you scoop it up and it droops easily you need more powdered sugar- don't be afraid to keep adding!  Once your cookies are cooled, frost them, ]sprinkle with cinnamon and serve!  I took these cookies to a Vivint (work) party and I'm pretty sure they were a hit- the plate was bare by the time we left.  I even got this compliment, "Stef, I hate pumpkin, but you're cookies were soooooo good!!"  Hope you'll give them a try!