Monday, October 3, 2011

Pumpkin Cookies with My Little Pumpkin

Today has been interesting.

I thought the day was going really well. Matthew and I got up bright and early, had breakfast, did some laundry, ran the vacuum, and then headed to the gym. After the gym, we took our shopping list up to Wegmans for what was supposed to be a super quick trip before Matthew's afternoon nap. However, it was not. The store was completely out of cinnamon (who runs out of cinnamon?!?) and the aisles were super crowded. This was exacerbated by the fact that I had chosen a cart with a rusty wheel that was not only super difficult to maneuver through the aisles, but also made an annoying high-pitch squeaking noise with every step. Everyone we passed stared at us and even Matthew found the noise too shrill for his delicate ears (although some of the screams he makes definitely compete) and had his ears covered for the majority of the time. He did uncover them just long enough to grab a jar of pasta sauce off the shelf and promptly drop it.

Shards of glass and deep red sauce everywhere. Everywhere.

Matthew thought it was pretty hilarious.

The people at Wegmans were super nice about it (as always...this is not the first time this has happened) but I am always embarrassed. Finally, we made our way to the checkout only to find the lines were packed with people buying groceries as if they were preparing for Y2K all over again (perhaps that's where all the cinnamon went). Matthew began to throw a fit while we were waiting and tried clawing at the candy in the display near the register. I don't know how he recognizes candy - he has never had any, yet he knows what it is. Anyway, I was quickly becoming frazzled with all of his shenanigans. We finally made it up to the front and the cashier scanned all of our items and I reached into my bag and pulled out my wallet to find my credit card to pay the bill.

Only it wasn't there.


Thankfully, the cashier was kind enough to perform a "suspended order" and simply typed up the complete receipt, wrote my name on it, and took all my groceries to the service desk to be held until I could return with payment. I packed Matthew back in the car and drove him home and searched high and low for the card. I found it in one of his dump trucks (he had raided my purse earlier in the morning, so I was pretty sure it would be found among his toys). We then headed back up to Wegmans and Matthew of course fell asleep along the way. I had to wake him up to head back in, pay the bill, pick up the groceries, load them in the car, and then head back home. This pretty much shot Matthew's nap for the day. I tried to lay him down again, but he ended up catapulting himself out of the crib a couple times.

So we made some cookies.

I have been on a quest to make some chewy/crispy pumpkin cookies. I like the traditional pumpkin cookies that are more like little drops of cake flavored with fall spices. I began perusing various books and most places list the use of a dehydrated pumpkin powder to achieve the crispy effect. Not exactly what I had in mind. Then I came across this recipe by Sara Foster in one of her books and the heavens opened and I thought I heard a choir of angels rejoicing. The secret ingredient in this recipe is a cup of oats and a resting period for the dough that allow the excess moisture from the pumpkin to be completely absorbed. Another unusual step in this recipe is processing the flour with a cup of butterscotch chips to completely distribute their flavor within the cookie dough. The end result is a truly excellent cookie.

Matthew was a great help in the process. I stuck one of my aprons on him so he would not get dirty. It looked more like a dress. I don't think Paul is going to be too happy about that (this is what happens when he abandons his family and goes traveling!).

He of course was so excited to cream the butter and sugar. Anything to do with the stand mixer, he is all about. He was doubly excited when I pulled out the blender to process the flour and butterscotch chips.

His interest did not last long when the white chocolate chips came out. All of sudden he only wanted to eat those and could have cared less about making the rest of the cookie dough. Fair-weather assistant!

I guess he just needed a snack after all his hard work. Lazy kid.

Chunky, Chewy Pumpkin Cookies
adapted from Fresh Every Day: More Great Recipes from Foster's Market by Sara Foster

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup butterscotch chips
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
2/3 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup rolled oats
1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts or pecans

In a food processor or blender, pulse to combine the flour and baking soda. Add in the butterscotch chips and continue pulsing until they are finely chopped and distributed throughout the flour. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add in the egg and beat one minute. Stir in the canned pumpkin (do not be afraid of the mixture has a curdled appearance - it's all good!). Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Stir to combine. Fold in the oats, white chocolate, and nuts until just combined and there are no streaks of flour left. This takes some major muscle power. The effort will make you feel better about gobbling down a couple of these babies hot from the oven.

Cover the bowl and transfer the dough to the refrigerator to hang out for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When ready to bake, use a large cookie scoop to drop balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, being careful to space them 2 inches apart as the dough will spread. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cookies are lightly browned on top. Bake them a little longer if you want them crispy, less if you want them chewy. Let cool 2 minutes on pan before using a metal spatula to transfer them to a cooling rack.


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