Thursday, July 31, 2008

Perfect Pumpkin Chip Cookies

Sorry dears, no picture this time. I hope you will still consider this recipe. In general, I strictly avoid recipes without pictures. I am rather visual and prefer to have something to serve as a guide and means of comparison, but I assure you these cookies (should) turn out a lovely golden brown with a hint of orange in color.

These chocolate chip pumpkin cookies truly are impeccable in their simplicity and spiced goodness. I went on a hunt to find a pumpkin cookie that still tasted like a cookie. I'm quite particular about my chocolate chip cookies. I want something chewy and gooey that still maintains it's freshness the next day and doesn't dry out and get hard. But when it comes to pumpkin cookies, I often find them to be cakey and taste more towards the likes of a muffin top. Every single recipe I found - and I did in fact venture out of my realm of trusted websites and blogs - presented recipes for such cookies and so none were suitable. I realized then that I was taking the wrong approach. I closed all of those windows and went back to basics. If I want it to taste more like a chocolate chip cookie, then well, I suppose it should have been obvious that I start with one.

Essentially I took this recipe for Guittard's Original Chocolate Chip Cookie - but really just take your favorite trusted chocolate chip cookie recipe unless you're making cookies for me, of course - and add everything that you find in pumpkin pie! The cookies were softer because of the pumpkin, but really lovely and with one bite, my friends and I drifted off to pumpkin heaven.

Perfect Pumkin Chip Cookies
- Fresh Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (You know, the amount that always says it makes several dozen, tiny cookies, but really makes about 2-3 dozen)
- 2/3 Canned Pumpkin* (I suppose you could try this with fresh pumpkin, but I can't tell you how this will change the texture of the cookie, could in fact help make to cookie less on the soft side and more on the chewy cookie side)
- 1.5 tbs. pumpkin spice** (a combination of ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, clove, allspice)
- 2 handfuls of pecan halves (make the cookie taste like Thanksgiving)
If you've got the chocolate chip cookie going in the kitchen, I say before you add the chips to make things easier for yourself, spoon in the pumpkin and the pumpkin spice, and work it in really well. If you're not frightened of raw eggs, give the dough a go and see if it's spiced and pumpkin-filled to your liking. Go easy on the pumpkin. If you add too much, you'll get a muffin and we are not baking for moose! Follow up with a bag of only the best packaged chocolate chips - Guittard semi-sweet - or venture into bulk foods or imported chocolates section and find yourself something you trust. Then nicely chop the pecans to your liking and stir the dough till everything is mixed in evenly.

Spoon out dough about two inches apart on parchment paper lined cookie sheet if you have it, otherwise leave the pan ungreased. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden turning around halfway. I find that not everyone appears to make cookies on cookie sheets. Seriously guys, it makes a difference in how the cookies turn out. I like my shiny silver cookie sheet that, no matter how bad it's been scratched, never fails to bring my cookies to that perfect consistency.

*There's now a company besides Libby's that cans pumpkin, and it's organic! Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin. I have seen it at Whole Foods, not sure where else you can find it.
**A word of advice. Buy your spices from the bulk foods section. It's definitely cheaper in the short run and the long run since you don't have to pay for packaging! Plus, spices taste better fresh. Who wants to eat ground ginger that's been sitting in your cabinet for God knows how long?

My friends enjoyed these cookies very much, one of whom was my best friend and coincidentally my best/worst critic. I know when it comes to sweets, if I have to ask her if she likes it, then the dessert is sub-par, but if she asks for seconds and tells me she likes it on her own repeatedly that it's a hit, and thankfully that was the case this time. Unfortunately the cookies did not live to see the next day - they did, however, make it to the 10 o'clock showing of Prince Caspian at the dollar cinema 'cross town - so I cannot tell you how they taste the following day or any number of days after. But when I make these again, assuming they last more than 2 hours, I'll edit this entry and let you know.

I also plan to experiment again and see if I can come up with a Pumpkin-less Pumpkin Pie Cookie that imitates a pumpkin pie but maintains more the of the chocolate chip cookie texture that we have all come to know and love. I think I'll try making chocolate chip cookies again, but only add the pumpkin pie spice or maybe toss in some dried pumpkin shavings if those exist.

Now, if anyone has any recipes calling for cherry preserves, I'll be off to the kitchen. And as they say in Kenya, tigara buya (stay well)!


Elaine's Mom said...

Saloni, you do everything with such gusto and passion. :) I'm sure enjoying your blog...I hope you keep it going through the school year!

traveler's pen said...

Thanks! That definitely means a lot to me. I promise I will do my best to write as much as I can during the school year.