Monday, October 24, 2005

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Given that, for those of us in the northern hemisphere, fall is upon us, I am much more inclined than usual to make things with pumpkin. I know other people are, too. The subtley sweet and easy spiceability of the squash make it practically the symbol of fall. I just love it any time, but certainly am aware of a higher level of acceptability as the year progresses.
Along with casseroles, cakes and pies, cookies seem like a good vehicle for pumpkin. Unfortunately, many pumpkin cookies are spongy and cakey and rubbery. The flavor is good, but you just don't want to keep chewing them. Even if they are fine the day they come out of the oven, the next day they are dry and bland. Tempting, isn't it?
These pumpkin cookies, fortunately, do not seem to have those problems. They are very soft and a bit chewy, but not cakey. They are moist and have a good pumpkin flavor. The whole cookie presents a slightly unusual, but excellent, combination of texture and flavors. Best of all, they retain all of these qualities, making them just as good (if not better) on the second day. I think that they are best with chocolate chips and a few nuts, but they work well with raisins and dried cranberries, too. I always like to add the optional pecans for crunch.
I recommend using freshly cooked, cooled and pureed pumpkin because I think that the extra moisture helps the cookie's texture; canned pumpkin may result in an ever so slightly cakey cookie.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
2 ½ cup ap flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
pinch nutmeg
½ cup butter, room temperature
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 c chocolate chips or raisins
½ - 1 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment.
Whisk together flour, leavening, salt and spices.
In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars. Beat in egg, then vanilla, then pumpkin. Add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans, if using.
Drop by tablespoons and bake for 12-14 minutes at 350F. Bake them until they’re lightly browned at the edges, but not dark.
Remove to a wire rack to cool.
Makes about 3 1/2 dozen.