Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pumpkin Cookies

I've been dying to share this recipe with you. It's my favorite autumn treat, and probably the one that got me hooked on pumpkin everything in the first place. To me, it isn't really October until I bake a batch of Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies!

This recipe comes originally from my classic "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook. I've made some minor changes, such as substituting chocolate chips for raisins or topping them with a citrus cream cheese frosting. Sometimes I substitue home canned pumpkin pie filling for the pumpkin puree. I'll share that recipe with you next week, so hang on to your jack o' lanterns! I always double this recipe because they are so fun to share and they tend to disappear pretty quick. I hope these will make your autumn even better!

Rachel's Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies (Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, 1981)

Makes roughly 3 dozen.  These are great with or without the citrus cream cheese frosting.  Where noted with the asterisk (*), you can optionally substitute a cup of home canned pumpkin pie filling, leaving out the spices and half the brown sugar because those are included in the filling.

2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c or one stick butter
1 c packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 c canned pumpkin*
1 tsp vanilla
1 c semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli best)

Preheat oven to 375°. Cream the butter for 30 seconds, then add the brown sugar, beating until fluffy.  Add egg, pumpkin, and vanilla, mixing well.  Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl, and spoon into the pumpkin mixture while beating until very well blended.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop very small spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or greased with cooking spray.  You will be tempted to make them bigger, but they will not set in the middle if you do, so keep them fairly small. Bake 10 minutes.  I always rotate the cookie sheet half-way through to ensure even baking.  Cool on a wire rack.

Optional (but oh-so-awesome) Citrus Cream Cheese Frosting:

4 oz cream cheese
1 tsp lemon extract (or vanilla is okay, instead)
1 Tbs milk (or as needed)
1/4 salted butter
3 c powdered sugar
A few pinches dried lemon or orange zest (this stuff is expensive in the spice section at the store, but the next time you have a lemon or orange in the house, just wash, dry, and grate the peel with a fine grater and dry completely on a paper towel or parchment, then store in an old spice jar.)

Cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth, add lemon extract or vanilla, zest, and powdered sugar and beat to combine, adding milk until of spreading consistency.  Spread on the cookies, or use a cake decorator with a fluted tip.  Fall colored sprinkles make them even prettier.

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