Imagine this: A flagstone path leads you to a beautiful, fall-decorated backyard. You have comfy chairs with an abundance of white pillows surrounding a warm homemade fire pit. Fairy lights are strung around the whole yard with pumpkins in all the right spaces. A comfy knit throw covers you, your friends, and probably a dog while sipping on a warm pumpkin spice latte, enjoying fall desserts while brown and orange leaves softly fall around you. Your backyard has turned into a fall fantasy. Everyone is laughing and having a wonderful time in your seasonally appropriate outdoor space. While we are at it, COVID is a distant memory and no masks are needed.
Imagine is probably as close as I will get to this. I’m not what you call, “Suzy Homemaker.” The pillow I made in home ec was held together by safety pins and hope. I am not crafty, I can’t cook (I messed up veggies from a bag), and the best thing I can do on Instagram is post pictures of my pets. My backyard is decorated with two weather damaged chairs and a table is desperate need of cleaning. No fairy lights and definitely no white pillows. So, I have decided, despite all this, that it’s a great idea to try and make my own Pumpkin Spice Latte and pumpkin cookies to enjoy in my own perfectly decorated fall outdoor space. This is a perfect idea that totally will not go wrong.
The sad truth is that I have fallen victim to the influencers, I have officially been influenced. I was seduced by all those brown and orange color pallets, perfectly styled fall outfits, delicious-looking food, and amazing backyards. All while they are enjoying their beautifully curated lives in that are totally attainable. So yeah, I wanted to give it a try.
Pumpkin Cookie Time
My very first step to this adventure is to convince myself that I can do this. Projects like this always seem like such a great idea, then I have to actually do them. But I am going to go through with it. I can do this (this is me talking to myself, not the reader). I want that fall aesthetic. Give me pumpkin drinks, cookies, and decorations, or give me death.
After my little pep talk, I created the perfect outdoor fall yard mood board! Hello Pinterest. the natural first option for inspiration. While browsing through I was looking for pictures with fairy lights, stone fire pits, large white pillows, and I really love the checkerboard with grass look. I also would love a black and white color-blocked rug over some beautiful white pavers. A rug over a wood deck also looks like something I would see on Instagram, so obviously I like that too!
I’m already regretting this, but too late it is time. I am so totally sure will turn out just like the recipe.
First thing first, preheat the oven. I cannot tell you how many times I have forgotten to preheat an oven. After the oven I gathered all my ingredients and tools. Keeping organized was key if this were to be successful. If I had to guess, my disorganization is a large part of my inability to be an Instagram worthy homemaker. The last thing I needed was to be frantically looking for a bowl while I while I was supposed to be something else.
I followed the directions, double checking because of my bad habit of not reading directions all the way though, combined all the ingredients in the right order, and eventually had most likely edible cookie dough! I was surprised. I did miss that the butter needed to be softened and I completely failed at cracking an egg with one hand. But for someone who is on the precipice of a panic attack every time I bake or cook, I would give me a gold freaking star!
The recipe said to use a cookie scoop but that’s something I definitely don’t have. So I used my hands, sticky but it got the job done. I baked those suckers and when I took them out, they looked like actual cookies! Like I could actually eat them.
Now on to the icing. I would like to point out that, per my previous statement, I don’t always read all the instructions. I didn’t realize I have to heat ingredients for the glaze. I thought I was going to just add them and mix it and be good. I have been fooled by my own lack of reading comprehension. I freaked a little at first, the kitchen was already a mess and I had put blood, sweat, and tears into those cookies. Luckily it wasn’t too bad. I made the icing and in the end, I had a complete cookie! They were even good! I had to make a second batch and unfortunately, my success clouded my judgment and I tried to cut corners. That batch of icing looked quite different than the first one. But I did have one good batch. I brought that one to the office for everyone to enjoy. Surprisingly they were gone by noon.
Pumpkin Spice Latte
Riding off the high of my cookie success I started my pumpkin drink. I ended up not adding coffee to my drink because it was 6 pm and I wanted to sleep at some point. I thought this was going to be much easier than the cookies. I skimmed through a few recipes online and decided I didn’t need to use a specific one. I’m a former barista, I got this.
I don’t got this.
I heated up my milk in a saucepan making sure not to burn it. Once warm I added my pumpkin puree. I eyeballed it and put it in almost a cup. I added the pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and allspice. Stirred that sucker up and poured it into my cup. I took a sip and…it was awful. How did I mess this up? I went looked back at one of the recipes. Remember when I said I don’t always read all of the recipes? Yeah…
Two tablespoons. I used almost a cup!! So I threw that out and used an actual recipe. This time with less pumpkin. Honestly, It still wasn’t great but it was drinkable. And then things got worse. I spilled the drink everywhere. I don’t even know how it happened! It was in my cup and suddenly it wasn’t. I just stood there, staring my drink all over my kitchen, wondering how I could bake some cookies but could not walk with a mug in my hand. Despite my pumpkin milk disaster, I consider my baking adventure a win! I only spilled one thing and no smoke detectors went off.
The Perfect Fall Backyard
Now, time to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Time to grab my miracle cookies, scrape together what is left of my mediocre pumpkin spice drink, and head out to my amazing yard. My Pinterest mood board has paid off! I worked hard to create a fantastic fall fantasy. Fairy lights have been strung; a perfect table has been set with all my vintage dishes. Take a look at my great, totally real picture of the wonderful night my friends. We enjoyed the fall night under the beautiful stars in my perfectly styled outside oasis. The perfect end to a great baking adventure.