brown butter pumpkin cookies_1

I have met quite a few pumpkin cookies in my day that I like. I’ve met one or two with cream cheese frosting that were outstanding, a few with chocolate chips that were the essence of fall, and even one with chocolate glaze that was a surprise hit, but I’ve never quite fallen head over heels in pumpkin cookie love. And then this cookie sat down at the bar…

…or rather I spent the last few weeks developing this recipe for the perfect pumpkin cookie (if only that was true about life)!

For this project I went in with a few specific goals. The first was height. Most pumpkin cookies spread out while baking (because of so much liquid in the pumpkin) but I wanted a cookie that remained thick and didn’t spread too much in the oven.

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Point two was that they should be soft and cakey, but not too soft or too cakey. I know, I have high cookie standards and am like Goldilocks when it comes to baking, but have you ever tried to eat a pumpkin cookie and it crumbled in your hands? Not fun, especially if it is topped with any type of glaze and you are around anyone else but yourself.

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homemade pink and white animal crackers 4

Most of the time I can resist an impulse buy, or rather, delay it until doing at least one lap around the store. It was another story however with these animal-shaped cookie cutters. When I saw them just innocently staring up at me, I knew I would not be leaving the store without them. Zero regret and $8 dollars later, I set to work to immediately recreate one of the best childhood cookies – pink, white, and sprinkled frosted animal cracker cookies.

homemade frosted animal cookies butter me up brooklyn

If you are familiar with the fine confection of the pink and white animal cookie, then you know that “frosted” is a bit misleading. There is no buttercream involved, as in a not-so-distant cousin – the graham cracker/frosting sandwich. These little circus animal-shaped cookies are more aligned with the “coating” camp as each one is dipped in a substance that hardens in such a way that can only really be described as waxy. Waxy in the best way possible, I can assure you.

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apple_cake_2

Hey friends! Has your fall been zooming by? Those last lazy days of summer? Where did they go? More like queue the montage of calendar pages slowly flipping then getting faster and faster until they are flying off the screen as fast as possible. September and October are usually the lull before the holidays but this fall I decided to write a SUPER SPECIAL collection of recipes for your perfectly curated holiday cookie platter. Exclamation marks. More exclamation marks.

Upside Down Apple and Crème Fraîche Cake

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It should be ready just in time to be downloaded to your iPad for all your holiday cookie baking needs. I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE IT WITH YOU. For realz. This is not your grandmother’s cookie platter. Unless your grandmother made things like mulled red wine crumble squares and bourbon-spiked drop cookies.

maple butter cookies

Soft Brown Sugar and Maple Butter Cookies

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I’ve been up to my elbows in butter, flour, sugar, and festive sprinkles as well as working on a variety of other projects. Like these extra cu-HOOT-e owl cookies made with speculoos cookie butter which I made as part of Rent the Runway’s Halloween Bazaar curated by the fabulous party planners Cait & Jules. I’d like to also make a special shout out to the dry cleaning costume which from personal experience I can recommend as a fabulous last-minute costume idea. After being a Metrocard the year before I had exhausted all my costume mojo and I couldn’t quite get it together – thus “dry cleaning” as costume was born.

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maplesnaps via buttermeupbrooklyn

A few weekends ago I took a little trip up I-95 to the lovely state of Vermont. All it took was a few hours of seeing ever so slightly golden leaves for me to shift into autumn overdrive. Pumpkins! Scarves! Bourbon! Then the pinterest manic mode turned real life and there was no turning back. Every baking idea was tinged with a golden ray of nutmeg spice. At the Brattleboro exit around midnight I got the idea for the ultimate fall cookie: maplesnaps. Oh you know, a chewy spiced gingersnap-like cookie but made with pure maple syrup instead of molasses.

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Then a few select food souvenirs came through to help me out in making it a reality. I picked up a bag of maple sugar for the coating. I spent far too long in what I think may be my ultimate happy place (also known as the King Arthur Flagship store where – among other things – I found an amazing vanilla extract with VANILLA BEAN SEEDS (and a gnome cookie cutter which is patiently waiting for its turn in the cookie line-up).

But the moment when I knew my cookie apparition was destiny was when I was given a jar of maple syrup to take home which was harvested from a tree no less than half a mile where I slept.

maplesnaps on buttermeupbrooklyn 2

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chocolate chunk 1

Wowie, all of a sudden It. Is. September. I hope everyone had a lovely summer!

[I just got to use the word "Wowie!" so I can tell you that things have been looking pretty good 'round here.]

Around this time of the year I always have a little moment where I reflect on the summer and tend to feel just a tiny tinge of sadness that I will have to tuck away my sandals soon for yet another fall-slash-winter. BUT any warm weather remorse doesn’t last long because you guys, FALL IS THE BEST. Well, mostly fall baking and scarves are the best. Summer pies are awesome and all, but I totally get it, no one wants to spend time around a hot oven during the summer months (and one could make the argument that the streets of New York are pretty much like a hot oven anyways) since they should be spent at the beach, or camping under the stars or laying on a patch of grass with a popsicle – all of which I was lucky to have taken advantage of this summer.

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lavender shortbread set up on butter me up, Brooklyn!

I have a real weakness for the shortbread cookie. It could be because of my Scottish roots or that it is a tiny little bomb of butter and sugar and who can resist that! But it is mostly because a good shortbread cookie seems to come along every once in a blue moon so when you see a good one, you must stop shaking your head in disbelief and realize your good fortune is not a mirage.

Oh shortbread, you get me every time.

The sad news is that shortbread seems to be one of those cookies that, in my humble opinion, never seems to be done quite to my liking. When they are sold out and about in the world they are usually too large for my cookie needs or they are overbaked and lack flavor and for all these reasons they tend to settle back into the case and let the brownies and chocolate chip cookies take all the glory. That’s cool. Shortbread know what’s up. They’ve been around a while so they are happy to let the others cookies have their turn with glory.

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red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!

I have a few life mottos that I attempt to practice on a daily basis. They mostly involve cocktails and yoga breaths and laughing and sharing cookies as often as I possibly can. But sometimes life-y things happen that are less then ideal and I turn to my most important lesson of all, “when in doubt, bake it out!”

red wine cupcakes via butter me up, Brooklyn!1

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Mascarpone Cheesecake Tart with Rosemary-Kissed Strawberries on butter me up, Brooklyn!

Did you know that June 10th was National Iced Tea Day? Or that June 7th was National Doughnut Day? Or that back in May, on the 31st, there was an entire 24 hour period devoted to all the glory that is The Macaroon, which is not to be confused with Macaron Day (that is celebrated on March 20).

One of the many indirect benefits to operating this here URL is that I am repeatedly alerted to such important celebrations. These include but are not limited to: the day of the Sandwich (November 3) and National Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Day (March 18) and be sure to set yourself a reminder to send your favorite cured meat lover a card on September 7. Why? Because it is Salami Day!

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Perhaps all these important baking-related holidays have slipped through the cracks in your calendar. That’s okay because there is one day that trumps all the others and it is June 12th. Let it be known to the powers that be that it is National Mascarpone Cheesecake Tart Day! I am declaring it the holiday to end all holidays.

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vegas in 48 hours

June 3, 2013

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I had the great pleasure of celebrating the SAVEUR Best Food Blog Awards in Vegas last week and what an incredible 48 hours it was. The editors at SAVEUR and lovely folks at The Bellagio (and let’s be honest the whole city of Vegas in general!) sure do know how to throw a party. They also know how to make a food blogger feel extra fancy for two days. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone for such a wonderful experience.

But before I get back to my real life of taking pictures of cookies in flour-dusted leggings here are a few highlights:

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nanaimo bars

May 11, 2013

nanaimo bars by butter me up, Brooklyn!

During my visit to Seattle I have been tasked with cleaning out some boxes in my childhood bedroom, a chore I have been putting off for roughly nine years. However the upside has been unearthing some pretty countless gems from my past including one of the earliest journals I kept. It opens with the line, “So, what’s new? Well, I got my first boyfriend and honestly I don’t know what everyone is talking about because it’s not all that it is cracked up to be…”

nanaimo bars by butter me up, Brooklyn! 1

I go on to apologize to no one except the journal Gods for not having written in weeks because I have been soooooo busy with self-proclaimed “trivial relationship matters” such as why doesn’t he call me all the time and should we go to the mall together? (The rhetorical answer was an emphatic “No!” Reason being: not if he hasn’t called. Obviously.) Then a few dozen pages of what I can only assume was meant to be “poetry”.

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