Saturday, October 2, 2010

Pumpkin Cookies

Fall is just around the corner. I can feel it. The weather this weekend is set to be sunny and in the mid-sixties. I'm sure summer is not done, because it so rarely goes out quietly. But the waning supplies of tomatoes and dipping temperatures tell my tongue to yearn for warmer flavors. When one thinks of fall and winter, it's rare that you have a light gazpacho or a glass of lemonade. Instead you want hearty stews and cider laced with cinnamon. While summer does offer the freshest bounty of fruits and veggies, the time between October and March is my favorite in the year because you not only get to put on cozier clothing, but you also get to wrap yourself in the warmth of the heavier spices in your pantry. So let's kick off the season right!

Pumpkin Cookies
Makes 2 dozen

2 cups flour
1 1/3 cups quick-cooking oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup apple sauce
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
3/4 cup golden raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Feel free to add more spices (allspice, clove, nutmeg, ginger, etc.) to suit your tastes.

In a separate bowl or standing mixer, beat butter, apple sauce and sugars until light and fluffy. Add pumpkin, egg and vanilla, and mix well to incorporate. Add flour mixture to the wet ingredients and mix well to combine. Stir in nuts and raisins.

Drop batter by rounded teaspoons onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until a light brown. Cool on wire racks.

Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies turned out very nicely. They have a soft, pillowy texture. Cinnamon always pairs with pumpkin (or any squash) beautifully, and the addition of the mellow golden raisins add chewy bits of extra sweetness. If you wanted to go the extra mile with these cookies, you could easily top them with a maple icing (maple syrup + powdered sugar + milk to desired consistency), but these cookies are perfectly enjoyable on their own. If this is how the season is starting off, this is going to be a delicious fall.

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