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What's Up Magazine

The Dish: Pumpkin Cookies

Nov 08, 2011 07:05PM ● By Cate Reynolds
When Rory Snyder was a young girl, she loved Girl Scout Cookies. In her adult years, she’s sharing her love of baked goods with the Annapolis area through her business, The Cookie Diva which opened in 2007. Snyder isn’t willing to share all of her delicious secrets, but we convinced her to share a few holiday baking tips, as well as a recipe for pumpkin cookies with cream cheese frosting—perfect for your holiday celebrations.

What’s Up?: How did you become interested in opening a cookie business?
Rory Snyder: Several years ago, a close friend of mine asked me to help out in her cookie shop in San Antonio, Texas, as she knew I happened to be an avid baker. It was a great opportunity for me to share some of my delicious cookie recipes with folks other than my friends and family. Soon after, I started a family of my own, and then we moved to the Annapolis area. My passion for baking continued, and I made cookies for events and parties I attended with friends and family members. My cookies quickly became popular and after receiving several requests to bake cookies for others, I decided to get back into the cookie business and open “The Cookie Diva.”

WU: What’s the secret to making a delicious cookie?
RS: I can’t tell you what I put in my cookies, but I can tell you the best way to come up with a yummy concoction is to experiment! Just imagine what would be great together, and throw it all in!

WU: What is your favorite kitchen utensil or appliance?
RS: Surprisingly, it’s the grill; the reason being you can grill up a whole meal. My favorite: grilled pizza with a salad on top!

WU: Do you watch any food TV? What are you favorite shows?
RS: Absolutely! My kids and I love watching the Food Network channel, from Giada at Home, Tyler Florence, Barefoot Contessa, or my favorite—Chef Curtis Stone! We love trying out new recipes from watching these shows, especially learning creative tips to use in the kitchen!

WU: What types of cookie are good to give to friends and family during the holidays?
RS: One of my favorite things to give out during the holidays would be a variety of cookies such as Chocolate Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies, Gingerbread, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and decorated Sugar Cookies in a jar. Add a nice touch by tying a small arrangement of pine needles, pinecones, and red berries along with a card around the jar.

WU: Do you offer any other types of sweets or desserts?
RS: I do offer wholesome Diva Energy Bars and 13-ounce cans of coffee from Chesapeake Bay Roasting Company. It’s a nice option to be able to send coffee along with cookies and/or energy bars to your client’s office!

Pumpkin Cookies with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes Four to Five Dozen Cookies

2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 can pumpkin puree
1/2 cup mixed raisins and dried cranberries

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
2 cups sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Toppings (optional)
Chopped candied walnuts
Chinese five-spice powder
Ground ginger
Freshly ground Chai spice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into a small bowl and set aside.

Cream together the butter, sugar, egg, vanilla, and pumpkin. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Add the raisins and cranberries.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop cookie dough by the tablespoon onto the sheet. Bake for 10- 11 minutes. The cookies will be very soft and appear dry on top. Let cool.

To make the frosting, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy. Add the vanilla and gradually stir in the powdered sugar.

Frost the cookies and top with your choice of chopped candied walnuts, Chinese five-spice powder, ground ginger, or Chai spice.