My favorite Halloween things

Hauling out my Halloween decorations each year always brings to mind the 23 years I worked in the features department at the Grand Forks Herald. For most of those years, one of my colleagues was Carol Graham, a wonderful seamstress who loved constructing not only clothing, but crafty things.

It was probably in the 1980s when Carol made this adorable fabric pumpkin for me. It’s never been a naughty pumpkin, but each year it sits in its place – a corner in my kitchen with its friends, a fabric watermelon I purchased another year at Hallmark, two lighted pumpkins, a scare crow and a Harvest Angel. The Harvest Angel was a table decoration one year during my church’s fall festival.

This is the display that makes me smile every time I come into the kitchen during the month of October. And after I smile I sigh as I remember the good times with Carol who died of cancer in her Alvarado, Minn., home in 2006 after 33 years at the Herald.

She would be delighted to know I take very good care of the pumpkin she made for me — so much so it still looks like new!

Even farther back than the 1980s, I was heavily into ceramics. As Halloween approached one year, I made my little Casper-carrying-lighted-pumpkin. It sits on a cabinet right above the corner Halloween display.

And today, right beside Casper, is a plate of pumpkin sandwich cookies. I absolutely love anything pumpkin so when I saw this recipe I had to try it. From Land O’ Lakes, these pumpkin like whoopIe pies are filled with a creamy cinnamon-flavored cream cheese frosting.

Here’s the recipe in case you want to try them. And if you do, hope you like!

Cookie ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (note below what can be substituted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup Land O Lakes butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Filling

  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Directions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine flour, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.

Combine brown sugar and 1/2 cup butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until creamy. Add pumpkin, milk, egg and vanilla; beat until well mixed. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Beat until well mixed.

Drop batter by level measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 9-10 minutes or until set and lightly browned around edges. Cool 2 minutes on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely.

Combine all filling ingredients except powdered sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until smooth. Gradually add 4 cups powdered sugar, beating well after each addition until creamy.

Spread 2 teaspoons filling onto bottom-side of 1 cookie. Top with another cookie, bottom-side down. Repeat with remaining cookies and filling.

Although I chose not to, you can sprinkle more powdered sugar on top the filled cookies.

SUBSTITUTE: If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice in your spice rack, you can use: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

Now I look forward to the little goblins that will ring our doorbell this evening proclaiming: “Trick or Treat.” There are not enough pumpkin sandwich cookies left, but I will have candy.

Until Soon

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