Next week, the Hubster and I are leaving for a week-long trip to Scotland. I’m pretty much freaking out, because, you know, Scotland. Last year, near this time (in December), we went to Oxford and London. We did a Harry Potter super tour and visited all of the places where they filmed, or that were talked about in the books. We hit up the Bodleian Library and Christ Church College in Oxford. We went to King’s Cross Station and other Potter-esque locales in London. And we went to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour: The Making of Harry Potter. It. Was. Awesome.
All of this Scotland planning has had me reminiscing about our England trip last year, and reminding myself not to believe everything you read online. While planning that trip, I read (from a very reputable tour guide site, I might add), that if you take the Yeoman Warder tour at the Tower of London, then be sure to tip at the end. They said it isn’t required, as it’s a free tour, but it is appreciated.
Well, we took the tour, we loved the tour, and I had my money out and ready as we exited the Tudor chapel at the end. Our guide was waiting by the door, thanking people as they exited, and holding a small cup. He smiled at us as we approached, I walked up and gladly dropped in my tip. There was a kerplunk…and a small splash of cold water hit me squarely on the forehead.
You guys. I’d just dropped filthy muggle money into our tour guides post-tour refreshment.
I died. I was so embarrassed. He was very chivalrous as he tilted the cup and looked at the grubby pound that had sunk to the bottom, and explained to me that they weren’t actually allowed to accept tips…all the while discreetly wiping water from his own face and hand. Ohmigosh. Seriously, I’m that person…I try to show my appreciation…and I ruin a perfectly nice man’s cup of water.
We mutually agreed that the best place for my poor misguided donation was in the chapel’s collection box, and he escorted us out of the chapel. He posed for a photo with me, and laughed with us for a couple of minutes afterward, but I had the nagging suspicion he couldn’t wait to get away from us…because let’s face it, he now had a great story to tell his friends.
I suspect that maybe if I’d had cookies, this whole thing would’ve gone over a lot smoother…assuming I didn’t drop them into his water. Just further proof to support my theory that dessert fixes everything.
Can we talk about how cute these cookies look? I know they’re not exactly ground-breaking, but I’m pretty smitten with them.
They totally look like peanut butter cookies, with the lines in them and all, but they’re all dressed up for Fall as pumpkins. Cuteness. All I did to them was add a little orange food coloring (totally optional), and only press vertical lines into them, rather than criss-cross lines. Lastly, I topped them off with little almond sliver stems. You could also use thin pretzel sticks or make some with chocolate or tootsie rolls.
I filled these cookies with rich pumpkin caramel. All I did was stir a bit of pumpkin puree into my favorite caramel sauce, but you can find a great full recipe over at my friend Courtney’s site, Cook Like a Champion.
Now, most of my cookies are filled with caramel, but I noticed that the majority of them sort of just absorbed the caramel sauce, rather than having a gooey center. They still taste incredible – the caramel helped form this really soft, pumpkin-flavored center that was completely amazing, but only a few of the cookies (like the first one pictured) kept any ooey-gooeyness. If you want that caramel-y goodness, you could also make these into cookie sandwiches, like those pictured above, or just drizzle the cookies with caramel. And, of course, you can skip the caramel altogether, and just have adorable pumpkin-shaped peanut butter cookies.
These cookies are fast (I made the caramel a few days ahead of time), fun, and easy…and totally irresistible.
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, softened (margarine for vegan)
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup white sugar
- 1 egg (1/4 cup applesauce for vegan)
- 1 cup peanut butter
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon baking soda (add and extra ¼ teaspoon for vegan)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ to 2 cups flour
- 1 recipe pumpkin caramel sauce
- To make the cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees (190 C).
- Whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together in a small bowl; set aside.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in the egg (or applesauce) until combined. Add the peanut butter and beat until well mixed. Stir in the vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture a half cup at a time until combined.
- Using a small (1 tablespoon) scoop, or a regular tablespoon, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of dough and divide it in half. Press the center of one of the pieces of dough in with your thumb. Fill the indentation with about ½ to 1 teaspoon of caramel sauce. Place the other piece of dough over it, and pinch the sides together, sealing the carmel inside (for picture of this process, click here). Gently roll into an egg-shaped ball. Place the prepared cookie dough about 2-inches apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a Silpat mat. Press each ball gently with a fork, with the tines vertical, to create the "pumpkin" lines. Lightly sprinkle the cookies with sugar. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes or until just browned.
- Allow to cool completely before serving.