November 12, 2008

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

Now that fall has finally come to Brooklyn for real, with leaves turned yellow and fallen on the ground, it's time to start cooking all that hardy squash lying around. I picked up a sugar pie pumpkin from the farmers market and roasted it this weekend so that I'd have real, fresh pumpkin puree instead of canned glop to bake with. Sugar pie pumpkins are a little smaller and darker orange in color, and also better for baking, than regular pumpkins.

Roasting the pumpkin was easy. First I sliced the whole pumpkin in half and scooped out the seeds and stringy bits. Then I laid it in a baking dish with about a half inch of water so it wouldn't burn, and roasted it in the oven at 425-450 degrees for about an hour. Check on it every now and then to make sure you don't overcook it. The pumpkin is done when you can mush down the flesh with a fork. Next, let it cool for a while so you don't burn yourself. Finally, peel off and discard the skin, and mash up the flesh with a fork so you're left with creamy pumpkin puree. Store in an airtight container for future use within about a week.

At first I couldn't decide what type of pumpkin-flavored baked good to make, but I ultimately decided on cookies because that way there's lots to go around when I bring them into work. Lacking chocolate chips and nuts, I decided I needed something else to amp up the cookies, so I decided on a cinnamon-sugar coating, inspired by the yummy snickerdoodles that Jesse's mom always makes so well. But since these are pumpkin cookies, I took things even further and added extra spices like nutmeg and ginger to both the batter and cinnamon-sugar mixture to bring out the autumn cheer.

The cookies came out a little cakier than I'd hoped, as often happens when cooking with moist pumpkin puree, but nevertheless delicious. They're like mini muffins of heaven and spice and crackly sugar. If they stay just as good tomorrow, these will be in the running for Thanksgiving day dessert (because, yes, I'm getting to cook Thanksgiving this year!)

Pumpkin Snickerdoodle Cookies

1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp baking soda

Cinnamon-sugar-spice coating
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream softened butter and sugar until fluffy. Whisk in egg, pumpkin, and vanilla one at a time. Dump remaining dry ingredients in the bowl and stir until all combined. It might seem dry at first, but keep stirring until it comes together as a dough.

In a shallow dish, combine sugar, nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon. Take a teaspoon of dough, roll it around in the cinnamon-sugar mixture until coated and then flatten between the palm of your hands, coat with cinnamon-sugar again, and place on a greased baking sheet. Repeat with remaining cookies.

Bake for approximately 10 minutes. Makes about 36 cookies.


meag said...

omg! i wish i could come to your thanksgiving. it's too hot here to turn on the oven for very long but i'm totally craving all of that pumpkiny goodness. what else are you cooking?!?!

Julia said...

I wish you could come too :-( I'm making crackers and dips for appetizers. Then basic stuffing with crusty baguette pieces, apples, onions, and celery; roasted squash with parmesan; garlic mashed potatoes, probably green beans and broccoli though I haven't decided how yet, and cookies (also undecided) for dessert. My mom is making the turkey (so I can watch and learn), gravy, cranberry relish, and an apple pie. My sister Lisa is making biscuits and pumpkin pie. I'll do a recap post here after Tgiving.

Albert said...

It's the best cookie recipe for fall.