Those that know me are aware of my candy fiend tendencies. I’m the kind of person who will dive head first into a candy bowl, exhibiting very little self control in the process. And, I don’t discriminate with candy; I’m quite partial to Twix, but I’ll take just about anything…except licorice.
Apparently this isn’t a new thing for me. One Halloween memory I vividly recall was related to the post-holiday candy situation. My parents pretty much let us have our way with the candy on Halloween itself, but the next day, as if by magic, a good portion of the candy “disappeared.” We were allowed a few pieces here and there in the days following, but most of what we collected from the neighborhood never crossed our lips. Some years, we were told that my dad had given the candy to a homeless person whom he had befriended near his office. And I believed him. (I still do…I think. I may have to ask about that.) Other times, I knew it was somewhere in the house until my parents could decide what to do with it, and my mission was to find it and secure it.
When I was about 8-years-old, my mom hid the candy in large pillowcases in the laundry room cabinet. It didn’t take me long to find it and each day I went and snuck a piece or two. I’m not sure why I did this, especially since the candy tasted more like laundry detergent than it did like candy by that point. Maybe I liked the idea of being a little bad-ass. One day, though, I was caught red handed, standing on the dryer and poking my head into the cabinet.
I think my parents were a little more lenient about the candy situation after that. And we all turned out okay. You know…pretty much okay.
In case you’re reading this and thinking, “Please stop, I can’t even look at another piece of candy!” you’re in the right place. Because I’ve got a cookie recipe for you that’ll help wean you off of all that sugar laced stuff and add to the gorgeous surplus of pumpkin recipes in blog land this fall.
These pumpkin cookies are truly the real deal. They’re like small, chewy, moist bites of pumpkin pillows that will remind you of cake more than they will of cookies. The pumpkin, ginger and nutmeg flavors wind themselves into the batter and result in a cookie that’s deep and intriguing. You know there’s pumpkin there, but it introduces itself subtly and with a hint of warm spice. The cookies are crowned with a bit of sweet frosting and chopped pecans, both providing perfect contrast to the subdued, soft cookies.
Making the cookies is a fairly easy affair, but the frosting needs a little attention. Once cooled, it tends to harden pretty fast, so when you frost the cookies you’ll have to work quickly. The good news is that you can lightly re-heat the frosting and loosen it up if it hardens too much. I did this a few times as I frosted them and the cookies turned out just fine.
Instead of sneaking candy these next few days, I’ll probably grab a pumpkin cookie (or two) instead. And I’m particularly glad they won’t be laced with laundry detergent.
One Year Ago: Vegan Chocolate Cake with Avocado Frosting
Yield: 2 dozen cookies
Total Time: 30 minutes
For the cookies:
1 cups (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 egg, at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnish
For the frosting:
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 teaspoons milk (I used non-fat)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup sifted confectioners sugar
For the cookies:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
To make the cookies, cream the butter, sugar and pumpkin in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until well combined. Add the egg and mix well.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and pumpkin spice together and then add this mixture to the wet ingredients in two batches, mixing slowly and until just combined. Stir in the pecans with a spatula or wooden spoon.
Form the dough into balls and drop them onto the cookie sheet and bake them for 10-12 minutes, until barely lightly golden. Make sure they’re cooked through but not over cooked. Let the cookies cool for a few minutes and, when they’re warm but not completely cooled, ice them with the frosting.
For the frosting:
Combine the brown sugar, butter and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool. Whisk in the powdered sugar until the mixture is very smooth.
Spread the frosting with a knife onto each cookie, covering most of the top. While the frosting is still wet, place the pecans on top so they can set. Then they’re ready to serve. They can be stored for 3 days in an air tight container in the refrigerator, if necessary.
Sarah suggests icing a few cookies at a time, adding the pecans to those cookies, and then continuing to frost more of the cookies and continuing the pattern. If the frosting hardens too much to work with it, reheat it on low for a minute or two until the frosting melts a bit.