Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall Sweetness: Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Cookies!

We are officially in the thick of Fall when the sweets start baking in the oven. There is nothing better than that traditional spice combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and clove. In fact, you can throw some of those spices in a pot of boiling water on the stove, in order to enjoy that scent throughout the house with less caloric intake. Hahahaha, please--'Tis the season of throwing those weighted worries out of the window, because it is time to layer up on sweet, savory, rich, buttery, warm, and happy goods that will bring you through the winter. Sweaters are stretchy...I say go for it!

Today's recipe is brought to you by the absolute necessity of chocolate and the dream of its marriage with pumpkin. I made this happen. It started with a spark, the mixture of the scents so well known to me, and I decided on cookies for the vehicle of this inspiration. I'm not alone in this inspiration for it has been done before. I used a particular reference from How Does She? who took a recipe from her own professor back in college. There are some truly genius people in this world.

This cookie is as close to a dream-state as one can achieve. Straight out of the oven, the chocolate is melted and gooey and the entire cookie separates perfectly at your will. I'm one of those people who melodramatically breaks the cookie in half to marvel at what the inside looks like, especially for a fresh batch. These cookies did not disappoint. They are far from crunchy, and I would be silly to suggest it is cake-like, but there is something about these pumpkin-chocolate concoctions that makes me believe in a different cookie. Is supple the word I want? The cookies stay soft and gorgeous for days to come, and I attribute that to using pumpkin as a moist thickener, and olive oil instead of vegetable oil. I chose to chop up my favorite chocolate bar (Cadbury Royal Dark Chocolate Bar) in lieu of chocolate chips--please, I'm so much happier with chocolate chunks. These cookies also hold their shape really well and make for an attractive cookie. Enchanting.

Well, enough of my babble--make some for yourself! This recipe yields quite a batch of decent-sized cookies, so I suggest you share them with anyone and everyone who crosses your path. You'll make tons of friends in a matter of seconds.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies
 1 1/2 C Sugar
2 1/2 C Flour
1 t Baking powder
1 t Baking soda
1/2 t Salt
1 t Cinnamon
Dash of Clove
1/2 t Nutmeg

1 C Pumpkin (fresh or canned, but in a pulp either way)
3/4 C Olive oil
1 Egg
1 t Vanilla
1 C Chocolate bar, chopped

If you are in possession of a really specific oven, I heated mine to 390º. Really, that was because I know how my oven cooks, and I have noticed that it heats a bit hotter than what is marked in most recipes, so as per my experimental nature, I did that with baking (don't tell my baker roommate!). You can pump it up to 400º if you want and cook it for less time--I'm sure it's going to turn out just fine.

I mixed the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl until well combined. After that, I just threw the wet ingredients in the same bowl(save the chocolate chunks until the end) and mix with a paddle fixture. You could also mix this by hand with a spatula, just make sure that you really incorporate everything and that you don't have random bubbles of dry ingredients hanging out in your batter. Finally, fold in the chocolate chunks until evenly incorporated. When you have reached this stage, your oven should be preheated, which means it's time to drop this batter onto parchment paper on a cookie sheet. 

I dropped them in 1/4 cup scoops, and I got a cookie with a 5" or so diameter, if you want smaller ones, then use a tablespoon. You know what would be a great idea for a Halloween party? You can make these cookies with a tablespoon measure, and whip up a chocolate ganache or whipped chocolate icing, sandwich it between two of these cookies and you have Halloween colored whoopie pies! Yes! Anyways, you simply drop the cookies on the parchment paper and throw them in the oven on a center rack for about 15 minutes at 390º, 12 minutes at 400º. Cool on a wire rack and you can store them in an airtight container for about a week, if they last that long! Your result will be a scrumptious cookie full of everything you ever wished from fall. The spices are perfect alongside the chunks of chocolate, please go with dark chocolate, it really makes a difference. Also, I think it is fair to deem pumpkin as this season's fool-proof ingredient, from smoothies, to soup, to pies, to casseroles, to cookies--so take advantage of this harvest bounty! Pair these cookies with a hot cup of tea and your day will turn into something spectacular.

Spread the joy!

Listening to The Splendid Table with Lynn Rossetto Kaspar

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