Pumpkin Tahini Waffles (featuring my baby girl Elsa!)

All I can think to do this week, all of my wandering thoughts, all of my lazy moments, they center around the bed. It's cold here (finally). Usually in the thirties when I wake up in the night looking for a blanket. Instead, I find an arm to hold me. A dog to cuddle with. A light that pulses through the branches of the trees when a car comes down the hill that our window overlooks.

It's usually grey from 6 until about 9 here. Foggy, sometimes so dense I don't even see the trees. Sometimes the water in the creek is so silent you can hear the squirrels padding along its bank. Sometimes Nolan's smoke and my breath and the coffee's steam all meanders above our heads like thought bubbles in old comics.

And so I think of relaxing in bed, even though we've been too busy to lately. I think of lounging. I think of the ten minutes it takes to put this recipe together and the half hour of waking up, bleary-eyed, while the coffee gets cold. It's my favorite time of day, I think. 

Pumpkin Tahini Waffles

Pumpkin Tahini Waffles

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup flour
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 TB white vinegar
  • 1/2 TB pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup tahini
  • 1 TB orange zest
  • 1 TB molasses
  • 2 TB honey

Directions:

  1. Prep and grease your waffle iron
  2. While iron heats, sift together all dry ingredients
  3. In a measuring cup, whisk together all wet ingredients and orange zest until frothy
  4. Create a well in the center of the flour mixture
  5. Slowly pour in your wet mixture, while stirring in the contents (I found that a rubber spatula actually worked great here)
  6. Using a ladle, pour batter into iron
  7. Bake waffles to waffle maker's directions
  8. Repeat with remaining batter
Pumpkin tahini waffles
Pumpkin Tahini Waffles

And here you can see that Elsa enjoyed the waffles, too! (Plus, I threw in a cute one of her because ISN'T SHE BEAUTIFUL!)

Elsa with her waffle
Elsa with her waffle
My dog, Elsa

Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

Still hot. Still dry. Still a confusing pattern of crisp morning and blazing afternoons. We're adapting to this weather. It's hard to adapt when it's so unpredictable. A swaying and perching of temperature highs and lows that vary by twenty degrees within just a few hours.

I'm bitter. I'm antsy. I want it to be cold so I can savor the mornings a bit more than I do right now. The artificial chill of the air conditioner can only give us so much comfort. I want both warm coffee and the shivering hand that holds it. Give me this. Give me turtlenecks and rain boots. I will take it all right about now.

Is there a word for weather that has overextended its welcome? It's not an anachronism, but it feels kind of the same. It's jolting to be looking at Christmas trees made out of wood at a local craft fair when there are rivulets of sweat trickling down my side.

Our yard, our house, our land - they do not like the extended heat. The grass is dead in the patch we reserved for the dogs to play, and shaggy in the field. Overrun, the way I like it. A tamed kind of chaos, the way I like it. It's nearly completely razed in the chicken run, but they don't mind. They'll get to laying soon, I hope. 

But I'm optimistic. I want it to be winter, if we are forced to bypass Fall. But in the meantime, I'll bake up something beautiful. In the meantime, I'll kill off the chocolate that's been in the cabinet for a while. I'll use the last can of pumpkin I had sitting around. I'll keep busy, waiting for the daylight to get shorter and shorter and shorter.

Pumpkin Madeleines, with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

Recipe notes: This madeleine recipe is taken from my adaptation of Ruby Tandoh's Crumb.  These were the following changes I made: I used 6 TB butter instead of 1/2 cup (I did not brown, just melted), 3 TB pumpkin puree, and 1/2 TB orange zest, 1 TB molasses. They bake a little longer at 12-15 minutes. Dipped in 12 oz of melted dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt
Pumpkin Madeleines with Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt

Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes

Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes
Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes

This is our first Fall in the new house, and I am ready for it. We can keep our windows open again soon, having spent the last month sealed up in a freon cold of our air conditioned house. It's been in the 90's lately. It's been so hot the grass has dried up. Leaves are falling while I'm still in short sleeves. It's confusing, but I'm trying to be patient.

The dogs can't seem to notice the difference. They lay on the deck and catch bugs in their paws. Release them. Curious. They're from California, so they like the heat. We bought them sweaters this year, a size larger than what we think will fit them, so they have room to grow, to get older, to fill it out in five or ten years.

I'm ready for Fall. I'm ready to be reintroduced to the hues of colors I hadn't seen since California. Yes, I was in Pennsylvania last year, too, but I was so caught up in my own self-pity, I was distracted. This year, it will be different. This year, I won't let that happen again. This year, I know how it feels to wait and wait and wait and to appreciate the beauty when it's all around you.

Fall has always been my favorite season and I'm ready to keep the windows open and the oven on and to bake again. Bake more. To create the things I haven't had since I was a kid, because it's time for me to look back and realize it all wasn't so bad.

Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes

Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes

This recipe is an amalgamation of one from Nolan's mom and a little bit of classic snack cake elements - a bit more oil to keep it moist, and a bit of decoration on top to keep it fun. This is a great recipe that can be done in one bowl (though I broke the recipe up below into two) and can freeze pretty well too!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cup AP flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoon cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup tahini (or peanut butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups pumpkin

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F and line an 18" by 13" baking sheet with parchment paper
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all dry ingredients
  3. Whisk together all remaining ingredients until smooth
  4. Fold your wet mixture into your dry ingredients and continue to blend until everything is fully incorporated and there are no lumps
  5. Pour into prepared pan and smooth evenly. Tap a couple times on a tabletop
  6. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean
  7. Allow to cool before decorating (see instructions below)

Decorating Instructions: In a stand mixer, beat two egg whites on high until soft peaks form. Add 1/3 cup white sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Continue to beat until glossy peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with any tip you'd like. Create your pattern on your cake. Bake for 5 minutes in a 300*F oven to set meringues. 

Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes
Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes
Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes
Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes
Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes
Pumpkin Tahini Snack Cakes