Isn’t it funny how powerful our senses can be? My family takes a trip to the Tennessee mountains every fall and you can’t drive very far up there without seeing a pancake house. The smell alone puts me in a good mood. On a cool mountain morning, who can pass up the scent of crispy bacon, cane syrup and stacks of buttery, fluffy and warm silver dollar pancakes?
The sound of a song can stop me dead in my tracks — when I hear No Doubt’s 1996 Hit “Don’t Speak,” no matter where I am, suddenly I’m 13 years old again in the eighth grade at my friend Amy’s house. That was one of the first songs I was ever exposed to that wasn’t country music…and just like Trisha Yearwood sang about, the song remembers when.
Even the sight of a well-placed pumpkin “patch” gets me excited. When I see one on the roadside, I can’t wait to stop and pick out a couple to call my own. To compliment my doorstep, I’ll choose two with the perfect shape for carving and painting. Then I’ll roast the pumpkin seeds and be satisfied.
As I was decorating my home this week, spreading a little fall cheer, I came across my turkey-shaped salt and pepper shakers, and dusted off my dining room table’s centerpiece—a candle stand surrounded by fall foliage, pine cones, berries, pumpkins and gourds. I’d packed it away in the closet a year ago. As soon as I opened the box, the aroma of my pumpkin candle was there like a burst of energy, a swift kick of motivation inspiring me to preheat the oven, turn on the coffee pot and bake something festive.
And ultimately, the reason we bake is to taste. The pleasure of eating and enjoying the flavors of the season is so worth washing the dishes and wearing the flour. Like October’s first sip of a pumpkin spice latte or Thanksgiving’s first bite of turkey and dressing, it’s the taste that comforts us, the feeling of warmth that binds us together.
If there’s one recipe that tantalizes every sense, it’s Taste of Home’s Iced Pumpkin Cookies. They’re filled with soothing spices, bursting with color and have wonderful texture. I bake them every year, it makes sense to me.
Iced Pumpkin Cookies
Recipe from Taste of Home magazine
• 1 cup butter, softened
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 egg
• 1 cup canned pumpkin
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup whole wheat flour
• 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 cup granola without raisins
• 1 cup chopped walnuts
• 1 cup white baking chips
• 1 cup dried cranberries
• 1/4 cup butter, softened
• 2 cups confectioners' sugar
• 3 tablespoons 2 percent milk
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and pumpkin. Combine the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, ginger, salt, baking soda, nutmeg and cloves; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in the granola, walnuts, chips and cranberries. Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 15-18 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool. In a small bowl, combine icing ingredients until smooth.
Spread over cooled cookies. Store in the refrigerator. Yield: 3 dozen.
Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a food enthusiast, writer and the cooking show host of SKG-TV on YouTube. The personality behind the blog, SomeKindaGood.com, she is a public relations graduate of Georgia Southern University and attended Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Institute of Savannah. Search Facebook for Some Kinda Good or tweet her @SKGFoodBlog.