Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies

I have a love-hate relationship with the fall. I hate it when the weather turns colder. Every few days I think I'm getting sick, because I interpret my constant chilliness as fevered chills.

On the other hand, I love the fall harvest and the food that comes with it. I love winter squash and sweet potatoes, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. I love desserts based on apples and pumpkin. I am ready for warming comfort food.

Last week, I cracked open a big can of pumpkin I had leftover from my pumpkin craze last year. The problem with canned pumpkin is that, unless you're making two pumpkin pies, you're not going to use the whole can. I've had to make five or six different pumpkin recipes, including these cookies, since then in order to use it up. I love to use pumpkin, but it's annoying to have to use it in a short span of time. I think the solution is to stop buying canned pumpkin - I'm going to get myself a nice cheese pumpkin or two at the farmers market, make my own puree and freeze it in half-cup increments. Much more convenient. And local!

Speaking of local, Jeff and I went to Terhune Orchards yesterday to get some apples for a new batch of applesauce. I'd never been to their orchard on Van Kirk Road - only the main farm. It was nice to see another side of one of my favorite local farms. We came home with almost twenty-five pounds of apples - a whole sink-full! I know my sink is shallow, but this is still a lot of apples. I'm currently brainstorming about how to use them up!

So. About these pumpkin cookies. This is the recipe that my mom's been making for as long as I can remember. These are not pumpkin spice cookies - think of them as a cakey chocolate chip cookie packed with vitamins. The pumpkin adds texture, moisture and color, but only a touch of flavor. Depending on the moisture level of your puree, you might want to add a little more flour (I think I should have - my dough was a bit too batter-like). Since they're nice and orange, they would be a good Halloween treat!

Pumpkin Cookies
My mom's recipe.

1 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c sugar
1/2 c butter, softened
1/2 c pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c chocolate chips (or more, to taste!)
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking powder.

In a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the pumpkin, vanilla and egg and beat until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the stand mixture and beat on low speed until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Refrigerate the dough for an hour or so, until chilled. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease baking sheets with baking spray. Scoop out tablespoon-sized balls of dough and place on the baking sheets.

Bake for about 15 minutes, until edges are lightly browned. One batch makes about two dozen cookies.

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