Harvest Fest (n.) – an annual autumnal event whereby Trinity University alumnae attempt seasonally appropriate crafts, sip on apple cider, and eat all things pumpkin. See also: doggie playdate; bonding time; #FallAF
It’s that time of year again… when the leaves begin to change, the snow makes its random early-October debut, and the Trinity ladies gather for yet another Harvest Fest extravaganza.
Weren’t we just posting about the last edition of Harvest Fest? How in the world has an entire year gone by so quickly?
I’ll tell you how… some beloved friends moved away, another friend went on a 6-month trip around the world; we traveled to South America, Belgium, and Greece; several friends changed careers or started families; and then we had to go and make a mess of everything by making our own big ol’ baby announcement amidst it all.
Let’s just say people have been BUSY.
And unfortunately for us, that has meant a few annual traditions have understandably been relegated to the back burner.
In truth, Harvest Fest almost didn’t happen until two amazing women championed it into reality by transforming a previously scheduled happy hour into something even more memorable. [Katelyn and Tomi — you are the true heroes of this story.]
Surface level, Harvest Fest is little more than an adult crafting playdate. We attempt several Pinterest projects and cross our fingers that at least one is presentable enough to take home and put on display.
[Note: this year was a massive #PinterestWin. See below.]
Deep down, however, Harvest Fest is a tradition that allows us to set aside an entire afternoon for one another. It’s not a quick happy hour; nor is it a birthday dinner or even a holiday party.
It’s an often-times hilarious pursuit of seasonal joy, a team building exercise laden with a heavy dose of snacking and drinking, and an opportunity to look back on a year well spent and the upcoming year close at hand.
It’s a cornerstone of our lives here in Denver, and a reminder that — despite our crazy lives and all of the twists and turns that come with it — sometimes a single afternoon can result in the best relational reward.
These ladies. These crafts. These moments. These are the things that return year after year.
I can’t tell you how much I needed this reminder.
Pumpkin Chocolate Toffee Skillet Cookie
Disclaimer: this was my first attempt at a skillet cookie, and I dare say it won’t be my last. The foundation is taken from a Feed Feed feature, but I made some revisions based on my desire for more spice, salt, and natural flavors [read: pureed pumpkin over canned pumpkin]. The result is an almost brownie like cookie with a heavenly combination of toffee and pumpkin — a true Harvest Fest winner!
- 1/2 c. [1 stick] butter, softened
- 1/2 c. brown sugar
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 c. pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin
- 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided
- 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1 1/2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks, divided
- 1 1/2 cup toffee pieces, divided
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet with nonstick spray.
- In a medium bowl, beat butter and sugars until well combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Beat in pumpkin until evenly incorporated.
- In a separate bowl, stir together flour, 1/2 tsp. salt, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg, and baking soda. Add flour mixture to butter mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in 1 c. each of the chocolate and toffee pieces.
- Pour batter into prepared skillet and smooth until evenly distributed. Sprinkle remaining chocolate, toffee, and salt over the top.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until slightly browned around the edge. Cool for 20 minutes before serving