Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

First of all, this beautiful picture of a pumpkin spice latte? This one right here?

 

Is not mine. If this had been on my kitchen counter this morning, I would be a lot more excited right now.

Confession numero uno.

Confession numero dos is that this recipe didn’t totally work for me. People have been talking it up like crazy, but I found it to be a little too nutmeggy, not enough frothy, and not sweet enough.

Next time, I’ll use a bit less pumpkin pie spice, a little more cinnamon, and I am officially putting a milk frother on my wish list! So few dollars for so much frothy milk magic, I can’t believe I don’t own one already.

Perfect Pumpkin Patch Ensemble

Perfect Pumpkin Patch Ensemble

 

 

Wouldn’t this outfit be just perfect for a day at the pumpkin patch? Simple, chic and seasonal, with enough tomboy to heft a pumpkin and enough girly glam to look adorable while doing it. Add a sassy ponytail and cuff the jeans to complete the look!

Also, say what you will about Old Navy, but they are the only store where I’ve found pants petite enough for me. Banana Republic petites – fail. J. Crew petites – fail. Old Navy ankle size is both cheap and golden in terms of fit. And that, friends, is a pretty perfect combination.

Old Navy dark wash jeans
$35 – oldnavy.gap.com

ASOS wingtip shoes
$61 – asos.com

H&M plastic shades
$6 – hm.com

A Kiss of Glam Lipstick in Red
$22 – modcloth.com

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you like pumpkin? Do you like oatmeal goodness? Do you like chocolate? (Wait – you don’t? Are you an alien?) Okay great. Then that means you are going to like these cookies. And by “like” I obviously mean “go completely gaga over and want to have them all the time in your mouth, with the eating and the rapid consuming.”

Obviously.

These cookies came into my life by way of my friend D, who celebrates the coming of Fall with me every year by baking these cookies and doing something Fall-esque. This year Fall meant a bonfire on the beach and a bike ride through Golden Gate Park, though Fall has also meant getting drunk and watching scary  movies or eating breakfast for dinner. Fall is flexible.

But these cookies are not. They are mandatory! They are insistent! They are, in a word, delicious. Please bake them posthaste.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Ingredients:

. 4 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
. 2 c. quick or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
. 1 1/2 c. butter, softened
. 2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
. 1 (16 oz.) Libby’s solid pack pumpkin
. 1 c. real semi-sweet chocolate morsels OR the entire bag, because why not?!
. 1 c. granulated sugar
. 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
. 2 tsp. baking soda
. 1 egg
. 1 tsp. salt
. 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350.

2. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and set them aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars, beating them until they are nice and fluffy. Add in the egg and vanilla and continue to mix well.

4. Add in the dry ingredients and the pumpkin in batches, mixing well as you go.

If you have a KitchenAid mixer, now is the time to use it. As has been mentioned, oh, about a thousand times, I do not have a KitchenAid (though I’m considering a sham wedding just to get one) so we eventually mixed by hand. Literally:

5. Add in your chips! You can add in as many or as few as you want, but we opted for the entire bag, because, uh, yum.

6. These are traditional drop cookies, so just plop on a lightly greased baking sheet with an average sized cereal spoon. Bake for 12 – 20 minutes, depending on your oven. We like to do 6 minutes on the bottom rack, then 6 more on the top rack, but do what you need based on your oven.

These are delicious right out of the oven, but they are beyond bomb when served cold. I know, I know. Your inner cookie monster is vigorously shaking his head at the lack of logic, but it’s true. The longer you wait to eat these, the better they are.

Have yourself a very merry baking party.

Welcome Fall

Happy October everyone! October is, hands down, my favorite month of the year. Crisp air, leaves changing, woolly sweaters, college football, early morning runs and long days spent writing in coffee shops. And, of course, baking and blazers and boots and other stylish, gourmet activities!

Last October I was preparing for a trip to London and Paris with my best friend. If you have never road tripped through the French countryside, listening to a mix of Edith Pfiaf and Rhianna, eating Twizzlers and laughing until you cry, you should try to check that off your list.

This Fall is a trip to New York, some Broadway, some great food, and a weekend with best friends. We might not have Twizzlers, but we’ll have an amazing time, that much is sure.

This week: fireside chic, Fall music and movies to create the perfect Autumn ambience, and a pumpkin cookie recipe that’ll knock your adorably woolen and seasonally appropriate socks right off. Right off, I say!

What are you doing for Fall?

 

Image via the very pretty sundaycrossbow.blogspot.com

Sticky Buns

If there is anything more comforting than homemade cinnamon rolls or sticky buns, I would like to know what it is. Like, right now. Because nothing I have ever made comes even close to the warm, spicy enveloping feeling of a mug of hot coffee and these buns. It’s like a snuggly blanket for your soul. Note: I did not say snuggie. Because eww.

As with many delicious and heavily carbohydrated things, it’s all starts with Joanna’s five minute bread. If you haven’t already, read the first four steps, as they will give you the bread of your dreams, and they will also bring you up to the place where we’ll start the sticky bun recipe. For the sake of clarity, however, I’ve listed all the ingredients and steps in this entry, too. And because I’m nice like that.

If you have time to make this in the morning, it would be the best morning ever, but it also makes for a very happy afternoon snack, dessert, or as a method of wriggling into the hearts of your roommates forever and ever. No snuggies necessary.

STICKY BUNS

Ingredients:

. Three cups lukewarm water

. One and a half tablespoons granulated yeast (two yeast packets from the grocery)

. One tablespoon salt

. Six and a half cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

. Up to one cup of brown sugar

. Two tablespoons cinnamon

. One half cup butter

. Confectioners sugar, for sifting

Instructions:

1. Mix the yeast and water in a big mixing bowl – the biggest you have – and let it rest while you measure out the flour and salt.

2. Mix in flour and salt until everything is fully combined. You can do this in a KitchenAid mixer, or by hand.

3. Cover the dough in Saran wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least two hours, but up to five is fine.

4. While your dough is rising, mix the sticky bun filling, which is, like so many other things on this blog, a mixture of the heart and of the preference, more than a mixture of the measurements. Cream together butter, cinnamon and brown sugar until well combined and spreadable, adding more spice or sugar to taste, and more butter if you need more to work with. It’s not exact, which is what I love about cooking. If you do not love that about cooking, this may not be the blog for you, and for that I do not apologize, but I do propose that perhaps we go have a drink sometime? You seem nice. We could still be friends.

5. Uncover the dough. By now, it should have risen a considerable amount and be sticky, wet, and quite stretchy. If it isn’t, move it to a warmer spot and let it continue to rise.

6. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating, roll the dough out into a large circle, of medium thickness. Remember, you don’t want sad, overly thin, anorexic buns, but they also need to be small enough to fit into a cupcake pan, which was a genius idea if I do say so myself.

7. Spread half the creamy filling across the dough, all the way to the edges. Then, roll it up into a large log, taking care not to flatten it.

8. Cut the dough log into bun sized increments.

9. Spread the remaining half of the filling into each indentation in the cupcake pan. If you were to do this in a pie pan, or a large cake pan even (the normal way to do sticky buns), you would just spread the filling across the bottom of the pan and group the buns together so they stick, both to the filling, and to each other. At the time of bun making, my pans were otherwise engaged, so I thought popping them into a cupcake pan would be both workable and tidy! Turns out, I was right. My favorite thing.

10. Drop the buns into the pans and bake for 15 minutes. My oven runs hot, and our buns were on the petite side, so just pay attention the first time you do this to know what precise time works for you.

11. Done buns should be bubbling and well coated in the filling, which by now, has risen up and over the tops of the buns to glaze it in a beautiful caramel color. They should not be burning however, so again, just pay attention. Put down the wine glass, woman/man/person who is cooking right now! Glossy and bubbly, not burnt or too brown.

12. Sift confectioners sugar over the top and serve with hot coffee or a cup of tea.

Delicious, no? Yes!

Slip Into Something More Comfortable


This time of year is strange for me. In San Francisco, the weather’s just getting nice and we’re in the throes of an Indian Summer at last. But 24 years of living according to normal seasons means that I crave the feeling of settling in, hunkering down, feeling wistful about the fall (wistfall?) in preparation for winter. I’m like a little grizzly bear.

This week, we’re talking comfort – weather be damned! – and what it means to us. That’s, you and me us, not me and me us. I don’t have a multiple personality problem, I swear.

Is comfort a certain pair of pants? A hot mug of tea? A feeling you get when you’re home at last? I’d love to know. As we settle in for whatever comes our way, I say, we do it in comfort.

Reiss Red

You Red It Here First!

 

Fall in San Francisco feels more like summer everywhere else, but that doesn’t make it any easier to abandon the idea of tights, blazers and back-to-school shopping.

Inspired by the perfect red blazer from Reiss (Kate Middleton’s go-to shop for classic pieces) this Style Set replaces the backpack and saddle shoes of childhood with punchy stiletto loafers and a ladylike handbag that will carry you through whatever the season – or school year – will bring.

Northern Californians, let’s sharpen our pencils and take note of the new uniform for Fall. Shopping info below.

J crew sweater
$70 – jcrew.com

Blazer
$370 – reissonline.com

Rag & Bone pleated shorts
$220 – rag-bone.com

J crew
$18 – jcrew.com

J Crew high heel loafer
$295 – jcrew.com

J crew handbag
$240 – net-a-porter.com

Mood jewelry
2.40 – debenhams.com

3.1 Phillip Lim square sunglasses
$105 – ssense.com

J Crew buckle belt
$60 – jcrew.com

Linea Yellow gerbera
1.20 – houseoffraser.co.uk