March 25, 2011

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies

About a year ago at book club, I had some store-bought pumpkin cookies. They were super good with an extra dose of cardamom to give them a pop. I knew I had to try and find a recipe to copy them. But like most store-bought cookies, they had a texture that is very different from homemade. Every homemade pumpkin cookie I've eaten turns out very moist, almost cake-like, which is not what I wanted. So after a brief internet search, I found this pumpkin cookie recipe, which claimed to be crunchy. Their method was to use pumpkin butter instead of puree as the butter is cooked-down puree, reducing the liquid. Plus the recipe had cardamom, so I knew it was the one to try.

While I would not say these cookies are crunchy by any means, they are pretty similar in texture to regular cookies. And the cardamom? Definitely one of my favorite spices. Because it's not so popular, it may be hard to find or a little pricey. I've been stalking the spice shelf at Whole Foods for several months now. They have some harder to find spices at very decent prices (whole nutmeg and garam masala are some recent purchases).

Here's the pumpkin butter:

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Cookies
from Guilty Kitchen

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup pumpkin butter**
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp orange zest
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips or chunks
fine grain sea salt, such as pink Himalayan (optional)

1. Cream butter and sugar in medium sized bowl.

2. Add egg, vanilla and pumpkin butter. Mix well.

3. In separate bowl, mix together dry ingredients. Add to wet and stir to combine.

4. Stir in orange zest and chocolate chips and set in refrigerator for 1 hour.

5. Scoop chunks of dough and loosely mold into cookie shapes. Sprinkle with sea salt before baking if desired.

6. Bake for 15-18 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Because these cookies are crisp and chewy fresh out of the oven, I recommend making them in smaller batches and freezing the dough for future use.

** To make the pumpkin butter:

Method #1. Dump one can of pure pumpkin purée (27-29 0z can) and one cup of brown sugar into a small saucepan. Heat on medium and continue to stir and reduce for 1 hour. When done, you should be left with about a cup + 2 Tbsp of very thick pumpkin butter.

Method #2. Halve three small sugar pumpkins, scoop out the seeds and discard. Cut side up on a greased baking tray, bake in a 375°F oven for 45 minutes. Remove from oven, scoop out flesh and purée in food processor (there should be about 2 cups). Drain in cheese cloth by squeezing out the excess liquid. Add to small saucepan along with 1 cup of brown sugar. Cook down on medium heat for about one hour until very thick. Remove and set aside.

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