Monday, November 23, 2009

The michael5000 Kitchen #14: "Pumpkin Cookies"


With the American holiday season looming afore us (note festive masthead, above) I am prepared to share with you, the L&TM5K reader, some of my favorite seasonal baking recipes. We'll start with Pumpkin Cookies, which have over the last however many years gone from being a strange little recipe I liked to being a mid-level family5000 holiday tradition, especially beloved of sister jen.

My much-annotated physical copy of the recipe is from the inside of a label of major brand of canned pumpkin. I may have had it for as long as two decades. I know I had it by 1994, because I have a vivid memory of trying to make these cookies while recovering from my first and most severe episode of Clinical Depression. They burnt literally to charcoal, causing me to sit on the kitchen floor sobbing for a good half-hour about how I was so worthless I couldn't even bake a batch of cookies. Later, it was determined that the oven's thermostat was broken. But, hey, that's not a heart-warming holiday memory! That's a grim, bitter, awful memory! So let's move on to the recipe!

The Recipe:

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

2 1/2 cups White Flour.
(You can substitute up to one cup with wheat flower if you are so inclined*)
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Salt
Combine in medium bowl.

1/2 cup Butter
(that's one stick, natch. You can reduce this by up to 2 Tbsp without causing trouble*)
1 1/2 cups Sugar
(You can get away with as little as 1 cup*)
1 cup canned Pumpkin
(which is, quite inconveniently, half a can. For this reason, it's often practical to make a double batch)
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. I usually partially melt the butter to make this easier, and although I believe serious cooks frown on this it doesn't really seem to hurt anything.

Add the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla, and beat until everything is nice and creamy. Then add in the dry ingredients and stir until you've got a well mixed dough. Plop on a greased cookie sheet, although if you forgot to grease the cookie sheet you'll probably get away with it. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

2 cups Powdered Sugar
(thought you were done, didn't ya)
3 Tbsp Milk
1 Tbsp melted Butter
1 tsp Vanilla
Stir until smooth. When the cookies have cooled for a few minutes but are still warm, put a little of this glaze mixture on each of them. It will melt a little and both spread over the top and sink into the cookie itself a little bit before congealing, rendering great yumminess. Don't do this while the cookies are still hot, though, or it will all just run off the sides.

*I have been using this recipe long enough to do some experimenting during a few relatively health-conscious phases.

The Results:

I've always liked these, and I seem to keep liking them better every year. The ones that I pre-baked for the Thanksgiving feast were just perfect, and I've had to impose elaborate security measures to keep me and Mrs.5000 out of them until the day arrives.


The Calico Cat said...

Ahhh another recipe. This one sounds similar to one that I tried 3 or 4 years ago by now that included chocolate chips. I may give this one a go for my holiday as we are making chocolate cupcakes in lieu of a pumpkin pie this year - something about turning 1 & getting cake...

Ben said...

I'm hoping that some of these will make an appearance at the 2009 Holiday Party!

sister jen said...

These are SO good for those who like their cookies soft. And the pictures don't quite do justice to the lovely mounded shape they take. Like little pumpkin-y mountain bars. Mmm. Can't wait.

Rebel said...

OH HONEY! It makes me sad that you cried over your burnt cookies. I tell every new baker I meet that one of the most important gadgets to get is an oven thermometer. Seriously, when I bought my first, and discovered that my oven was a full 75F hotter than the dial... it was a life changing moment.

The cookies look yummy!

Bridget said...

YUM! I love pumpkin.

The Calico Cat said...

Officially - you can add too much vanilla to the icing - but everyone will eat the cookies any way & when you inevitably double the cookie recipe - you should probably double the glaze recipe too... I speak from experience.