In 2005, quidditch was founded at Middlebury College in Vermont. By the following year, Vassar College formed its own team called the Butterbeer Broooers and participated in the first World Cup against Middlebury. Growing in popularity as an official club sport, quidditch teams began forming at universities across the US. Soon, countries including Canada, Finland, the United Kingdom, Australia and France were competing.
The game is now governed by both the International Quidditch Association and US Quidditch. The rules generally follow those in the books, which state that players must straddle broomsticks while attempting to score goals with a quaffle (think football), and block the opposing team from doing the same with bludgers (think dodgeballs). In the midst of all this, one player is tasked with catching a small flying ball called a snitch, which in real, non-magical life is carried at the waist of a snitch runner, who must try to avoid being identified and tackled by the other players.
Vassar's team, the Butterbeer Broooers, will be kicking off their season this weekend. Despite a couple decades between myself and the newly minted college students, I intend to be there just for the fun of seeing people knock around on broomsticks while playing a contact sport.
Naturally, all this sports talk makes me think of snacks. Can't go to a game empty handed. I suppose butterbeer cakes and treacle roasted nuts are a bit more Harry Potter-worthy. But I've made none of that. Instead, I came up with these moist, delicious pumpkin cookies (Harry Potter lives on pumpkin juice after all). The oat flour in this recipe tends to become a bit fluffy when added to liquids, giving a cake-like quality to the final product, so don't expect these to flatten and harden the longer they bake. One final tip, the icing is a must, providing that little extra explosion of flavor and can easily be doubled.
Happy weekend fellow readers. Go Broooers!
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg, separated
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 1/2 cups gluten-free oat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons almond, soy or dairy milk
Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
In a large mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to beat the butter, oil, sugars and egg yolk until light and creamy. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and continue to mix until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg white and cream of tartar for 5 minutes, or until stiff peaks begin to form. Fold into the pumpkin mixture.
Using another bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Stir it around a bit with a fork before adding half to the wet pumpkin mixture. Use a rubber spatula to combine, then add the remaining dry ingredients and continue stirring until a sticky dough forms.
With an ice cream scoop, place balls of dough onto the lined cookie sheet, about 1-inch apart. Gently pat each cookie into a flat disc with the back of a teaspoon. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the bottom edges are lightly browned. The cookies should appear slightly underdone. Let stand for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling wrack.
For the icing, whisk together the sugar and milk until thickened. Dip the tops of the cooled cookies into the icing and place on parchment paper to dry. Alternately, use a fork to drizzle thin stripes across each cookie. Icing will harden in approximately one hour.
Yield: 18 medium size cookies