Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin, Spice, and Everything Nice

As a child, I grew up on Sweet Potatoes.  Yam dishes at Thanksgiving and Sweet Potato was the dessert of choice, not my choice, from October through December.  My mom was traditional and Southern, and not a fan of pumpkin.  Therefore, I did not taste nary pumpkin until I was in high school.

I was at the grocery store and saw the cutest little pumpkin that was the size of a squished softball.  I purchased the pumpkin brought it home and then tried to figure out what to do with it.  I decide to make a pumpkin cookie.  I was by no means that baker then that I am now.  They turned out to be more like orange colored flavorless biscuits, but that was my first attempt with pumpkin.  Over the years, since then I would attempt pumpkin cookies every November with some better results, but never complete success.  By the time I graduated from college, the tradition died hard and I did not touch pumpkin much at all.

Well enter this 2011 autumn season and I cannot get enough of pumpkin.  Sure, I used pumpkin in a single dish last year, but this year I went all out.  This year I become a pumpkin enthusiast.  I have been through 4 fresh pumpkins turned into puree and two cans of pumpkin puree.  I have made cakes, drinks, muffins, and more.

A friend saw my Cinnadoodle Cookies post and asked could I make these for her pre-Thanksgiving potluck.  I said sure and immediately knew that I really wanted to Thanksgiving-it up by adding pumpkin.  I was excited about adding pumpkin to yet another baked good.  I scoured the internet to find a recipe, but I found nothing.  I knew I would have to create the recipe myself.

Immediately, I was flooded with thoughts of the supposed-to-be pumpkin cookies from my youth.  You may have not noticed on the list above, but cookies was not listed as one of the things I have used pumpkin for recently.  I could have run scared of making pumpkin cookies again and just made plain snickerdoodles… But I said no!  Strapped on my apron and got into the kitchen to create these fine dandies right here.

I have a few requirements for typical snickerdoodles and I wanted to ensure they were still present in this cookie.  Specifically, I like only granulated sugar (not brown sugar), the use of cream of tartar, and more than just cinnamon in my coating.  With those thoughts in mind I created the recipe below.  The cookies are crunchy on the exterior due to the coating and soft and chewy on the inside.  They are gloriously orange and taste (and smell) of pumpkin.  Lastly, the cinnamon chips offer nice burst of flavor in addition to the multiple spices in the coating.  These cookies are definitely the best pumpkin cookies I have ever made (though based on my history that is not saying much); I definitely mark these cookies as a complete pumpkin success!

Pumpkin Cinnadoodle Cookies
By: Baker at Law
Makes a little over 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients (at room temperature):
1 cup (2 sticks) Butter
1 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
3/4 cup (6 oz by weight) Pumpkin Puree
1 egg (or egg substitute)
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 cup All-purpose Unbleached Flour
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 bag Cinnamon Chips (can be found on the baking aisle with the chocolate chips, usually made by Hersey’s)

Topping Mixture:
*You will have extra topping mixture left. I like to make more than needed so I can get an even coat on all cookies. The extra can be used for more cookies or over baked Sweet Potatoes! If extras really bother you, cut the topic mixture recipe in half [provided in brakets].*
1 cup Granulated Sugar [1/2 cup]
3 tsp Ground Cinnamon [1 1/2 tsp]
1 tsp Ground Allspice [1/2 tsp]
scant 1 tsp Ground Ginger [scant ½ tsp]
1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg [2 heavy dashes]

1. Preheat oven to 350°F with the oven rack in the center.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar.

3. Add the pumpkin puree, egg, and vanilla to the butter mixture and beat until well combined. Set aside.

4. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, cream of tartar, and baking powder with a fork until well fluffed and combined.

5. Pour flour mixture over pumpkin mixture and stir until all the flour is incorporated.

6. Pour in the cinnamon chips and stir/fold until the cinnamon chips are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Set aside.

7. In a small shallow container mix together all the toping ingredients.

8. With a cookie scoop (I use a 3 TBS capacity scoop for these) or any other method to make consistent sized cookies, scoop up the batter into a ball and roll the cookie ball into the toping mixture. Make sure it is well coated.

9. Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, leaving space in between them to allow for spreading.

10. With the palm of your hand, press down on the cookie forming a thick disk (as opposed to the ball it was just in).

11. Bake the cookies for 12-15 minutes until the cookies no longer looks raw on top and little cracks on the surface are just starting to form.

12. Let the cookies cool completely and then enjoy.

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