Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

These cookies are chewy, sweet, and full of pumpkin and Fall spices.

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Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

So, it’s been a minute.

I don’t think I’ve ever gone this long without posting something. I’m pretty sure I baked these cookies back in September… I even missed out on A Nerd Cooks’ birthday in August (the blog turned 6!!). In my defense, lots of things have been happening! To give you a little taste:

  • I/we have been doing a bit of traveling and have had friends and family visiting us.
  • I was promoted to Assistant Professor at Duke!
  • We bought a house!!

We moved in last weekend, and are so happy here already. I’ll likely share some photos of the kitchen at some point, because it is GORGEOUS. But only after the inside of the house stops looking like a tornado passed through.

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

As for the cookies? Well, they’re pretty fantastic. Unlike many pumpkin cookies (like these Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies), these are chewy, not cakey. You have the oats and drained/blotted pumpkin (see instructions below) to thank for that. Beyond that, these cookies are full of pumpkin spice flavor as well as chocolate chips. Scroll a little further for the recipe!

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from the blog Sally’s Baking Addiction.

You’ll need (yields 30-36 cookies):

  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups + 1 tbs all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 3 tbs pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips, plus more for pressing into the top

Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Line a medium-sized bowl with paper towels. Add the pumpkin puree to the lined bowl. Using the paper towels, squeeze a bit of the moisture out of the canned pumpkin. Check out Sally’s blog for a visual. Removing some of the moisture from the pumpkin helps produce a less cake-like cookie. Which is what we’re going for here.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, spices, salt, and oats together. Set this aside.

In another medium-sized bowl, whisk the melted butter, maple syrup, sugars, egg yolk, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Using a cookie scoop, scoop ~1.5 tbs-sized balls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Smoosh the dough balls down slightly. They don’t spread much on their own, so they need some help in this department. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges.

Remove the baking sheets from the oven. Press a few chocolate chips into the tops of the cookies while they are still warm. Allow the cookies to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheets before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd CooksChewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Chewy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

 

 

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Kalimotxo Cocktail

Red table wine + cane sugar cola + a squeeze of lime juice = a refreshing, super easy cocktail.

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Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

I was flipping through a couple of cookbooks earlier this month and came across this recipe again. It’s the Kalimotxo cocktail. The Internet tells me that the Kalimotxo is popular in the Basque region of Spain. So, there you go. There’s that.

AND! A Kalimotxo is composed of… wait for it… red wine and soda! I know that this combination may sound strange, but trust me!

Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

I’m telling you, this drink is like sangria, but perfect for lazy people. Two ingredients (three if you count the lime juice) poured in a glass over ice and you’re done.

Because the ingredient list is so short, you really want to make sure that you’re using the correct ingredients. For the wine, you don’t need to use anything fancy. A cheap to moderately priced red table wine (I used a Rioja) will suffice. But for the soda, make sure you grab something that is made with cane sugar and not high fructose corn syrup. Have you ever had the Coke that’s made in Mexico (affectionately called MexiCoke)? It tastes SO much better than the stuff that’s made in the U.S. I’d go for that. It’s pretty widely available in regular grocery stores.

Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe comes from the cookbook Over Easy: Sweet and Savory Recipes for Leisurely Days, by Joy Wilson (aka Joy the Baker).

You’ll need:

  • Red table wine (I used an inexpensive Rioja)
  • Cane sugar soda (I used MexiCoke)
  • lime wedges, for juice and garnish
Kalimotxo Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

Over ice, fill a glass half full with wine. Top with soda and squeeze a lime wedge. Garnish with another lime wedge if desired. Sip and enjoy!

 

Strawberry Crumb Bars

Summer’s almost over, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy a sweet strawberry crumble bar!

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Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks

So, yes. It’s been a while. I’ll save you the excuses. Let’s just cut straight to the food!

It’s not too late for strawberries, is it? I hope not, because these bars are tasty. The crumb is buttery and lightly sweet. Cinnamon plays surprisingly well with strawberries (check out this Strawberry Crisp for another excellent example). The filling is sweet, but not too sweet thanks to lemon zest and juice. Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks

This recipe is based on the Cranberry Crumb Bars with Mulling Spices from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook.

You’ll need:

For the crumb –

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • 1 large egg

For the filling – 

  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 13 oz. strawberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tbs cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.  Line the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish with parchment paper.  Butter the sides and parchment, or spray with cooking spray, and set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, add the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.  Pulse a couple of times until everything is combined.  Add the butter and egg to the flour mixture.  Pulse until it resembles a coarse meal.

Taking half of the crumb mixture, pat it into the bottom of your prepared pan.  It will be on the thin side.

Rinse the food processor.  In the same bowl, add the filling ingredients and pulse briefly.  Do this until the berries are coarsely chopped but not puréed.  Spread this mixture evenly over the crumb base.

Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly over top of the strawberry layer.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the crumbs on top are lightly browned.  Allow it to cool completely before cutting it into squares.

Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks

Strawberry Crumb Bars | A Nerd Cooks

Confetti Pudding Cookies

These cookies are super soft, full of sweet vanilla flavor, and covered in colorful sprinkles!

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Confetti Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

I originally intended to cover these cookies in red, white, and blue sprinkles for the 4th of July, but after trips to 2 different grocery stores, couldn’t find sprinkles in those colors. Very disappointing. They were going to be Firecracker Pudding Cookies.

Once I resigned myself to using multicolored sprinkles, I really debated calling them Funfetti Pudding Cookies. But I feel like they’re not technically Funfetti since the sprinkles are only on the outside and not the inside, too.

Anyway, I settled on Confetti Pudding Cookies. Still an okay name, right? At least the cookies are cute. And they taste great. The sprinkles make the outside a bit crunchy, while the cookies themselves are soft and tender.

Confetti Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

The original recipe for Pudding Cookies comes from Crazy for Crust; I’ve also shared Lemon White Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies and Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Cookies, too.

*dough requires ~1 hour of chilling*

You’ll need (yields approximately 24 cookies):

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

Add the pudding mix, baking soda, and kosher salt. Mix until combined. Add the flour. Mix again until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. Add the white chocolate chips and mix on medium-high speed until they are well distributed throughout the cookie dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pour the sprinkles into a shallow bowl. Scoop ~2 tbs balls of dough and roll it around in the sprinkles. Place the sprinkle-covered dough balls onto the prepared cookie sheet. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the chilled balls of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets, approximately 2 inches apart. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven and allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Confetti Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Confetti Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Container Gardening 2017 – Herbs and lemons

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Hi all! I realized I haven’t shared anything about container gardening in a while, and I wanted to quickly share with you some of the things that I’m growing this summer:

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I have two of these planter boxes on legs. One of them is dedicated solely to basil. Lots and lots of basil. I have three plants that are doing quite well. I use it in so many things: salads, risotto, and Caprese salads (versions 1 and 2 here).

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I also have some mint growing, which methinks will be excellent in some mojitos. There’s also some parsley growing in this planter box, but it was pretty wilted and sad looking when I was taking the pictures.

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My Meyer lemon tree has been doing really well, too! I got it last spring as a 2 year old tree from Four Winds Growers. It spends the cooler months in our guest bedroom, which fortunately gets a lot of southern light. Once things warm up, I move it out onto our front porch (if you can call it that), where it thrives in the heat and sunlight.

It has flowered a couple of times. The first time, last summer, a couple of small lemons even set. Unfortunately, when I was away at a conference, things took a turn for the worse and the lemons dried up and fell off. Very sad.

It flowered again this spring, and two more lemons ended up setting.

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Sadly, since taking these pictures, the smaller of the two lemons died and fell off. Very disappointing. But the larger lemon is still hanging on. Fingers crossed that it makes it.

Since moving the tree outside, I’ve been battling with some pests. In the near future I’ll show you how I’ve been handling them. Stay tuned!

Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Cookies

These treats include a beloved flavor combination baked into super soft pudding cookies. 

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Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Honestly? I’m not sure what to say about these cookies. What is there to say, really? They’re super soft, chocolate pudding cookies studded with white chocolate chips and chunks of Oreo cookies.

In my opinion, cookies get no better than this. Then again, I’m fairly obsessed with cookies and cream, well, everything. Check out the bottom of this post for more cookies and cream-flavored recipes!

Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

The original recipe comes from Crazy for Crust; I’ve also shared Lemon White Chocolate Chip Pudding Cookies, too.

*dough requires ~1 hour of chilling*

You’ll need (yields approximately 24 cookies):

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract until smooth.

Add the pudding mix, baking soda, and kosher salt. Mix until combined. Add the flour. Mix again until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. Add the white chocolate chips and chopped Oreos and mix on medium-high speed until they are well distributed throughout the cookie dough.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop ~2 tbs balls of dough onto the prepared cookie sheet. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the chilled balls of cookie dough on the prepared baking sheets, approximately 2 inches apart. Bake 9-11 minutes, or until the edges just start to turn brown.

Remove the cookies from the oven and press additional white chocolate chips into the warm cookies, if desired. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes before removing them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Need more cookies and cream-flavored desserts? I got you.

Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Chocolate Cookies and Cream Pudding Cookies | A Nerd Cooks

Orange Creamsicle Crush

These cocktails are super refreshing and taste just like a creamsicle.

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Orange Creamsicle Crush Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

The weather is warming up again, and that invariably puts me in the mood for a Crush. They’re refreshing, lightly sweet, and can be made in a variety of flavors. For example, I’ve shared Grapefruit Crushes with you before.

Thanks to the combination of fresh orange juice, triple sec, and whipped cream vodka, these Crushes taste just like an orange creamsicle.

Orange Creamsicle Crush Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

You’ll need (makes 1 cocktail):

  • 1.5 oz whipped cream vodka
  • .5 oz triple sec
  • 2 oz. orange juice (freshly squeezed, please!)
  • lemon-lime soda or citrus flavored sparkling water (Orange La Croix is my go-to)

Add the whipped cream vodka, triple sec, orange juice, and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake for 10 seconds or so, or until very cold. Strain into a tall glass with ice. Top with lemon lime soda or sparkling water. Garnish with an orange slice if you’re feeling fancy.

Looking for more warm weather cocktails? Check these out, too:

Orange Creamsicle Crush Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks

Orange Creamsicle Crush Cocktail | A Nerd Cooks