Halloween 2011 – Pumpkin Cookies

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The first thing I prepared for my ‘Better Late Than Never‘ Halloween Dinner Party was a batch of Pumpkin Cookies. I found the recipe whilst browsing through a book I’ve got, called ‘500 Cookies’ by Philippa Vanstone.

I’ve got several books in this ‘500’ series and the great thing about them is that they provide alternative recipe ideas for the original recipe.These pumpkin cookies used raisins in the original recipe, but in the alternatives you could use cranberries, pecans or apples.

I actually used cranberries and pecans instead of raisins. I also have to remark that they came out more like rock cakes or drop scones than cookies! Not sure why – perhaps it was because I forgot to put sugar in until the last moment, when I tasted the batter and realised it wasn’t sweet!

The recipe calls for pumpkin purée. I had bought some Libby’s pumpkin purée in the States whilst out there in the summer – can’t buy that stuff in the supermarkets here in the UK, but I’m sure you could steam some pumpkin off and whizz it up in a blender.

So, to the making of the pumpkin, cranberry and pecan cookies…

Of course, as with all baking, I pre-heated the oven first to 160C and then got my ingredients together:

  • 175g pumpkin purée
  • 120ml fat-free natural yoghurt
  • 1tsp vanilla essence
  • 300g plain flour
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½tsp ground ginger
  • ½tsp group allspice
  • ½tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g demerera sugar
  • 75g dried cranberries
  • 75g chopped pecans

Greased up a couple of baking sheets and got to work!

First up was mixing the yoghurt, vanilla and pumpkin purée. Since I had measured the yoghurt in a Pyrex jug, I just mixed them together in that (to save on washing up!)

Then came the sifting of the flour with the spices and bicarb.

And then the addition of the fruit and nuts which I stirred around in the flour. It was at this point I should have added the sugar, but somehow missed out that step! Read on…!

Turns out that I actually did have to get another bowl dirty as the recipe calls for the dry ingredients to be added to the wet. I added the dry mixture in stages so that it could all get incorporated.

I found the mixture to be really dry and hard to stir up – I was expecting a batter consistency, but it was more like a dough. It was at this at this point I tried the mixture, only to think “gross” and realised I left out the sugar! So I dumped that on top and hope it hadn’t done too much damage to the chemistry of the cookie!

Now it was looking a little more like I was expecting…

The recipe calls for spoonfuls of the mixture to be dropped onto a baking sheet 2 inches apart. I did exactly that and guessed that they would spread out a little whilst baking. However, they didn’t – they really held their shape which made me think more of rock cakes or drop scones than cookie. So the next batch I flattened them down a bit more.

Once they were cooked for 12 – 15 minutes I put them on a wire rack to cool down, but I couldn’t resist breaking one open to have a look-see. They smelled delicious – especially the mix of spices, the aroma of which reminds me of Autumn/Winter. After my tester cookie (rock cake!) had cooled a little, I had a nibble (for quality control you understand!), and they tasted delicious too ^_^ The cookies, once cool can be stored in an air-tight container for four to five days.

The mixture yielded about 20 or so cookies. I’d say they were about 2 inches across, so you could get more out if you made them slightly smaller. I’ve just looked at the recipe book and it says that it makes 3½ dozen. That’s like 42 cookies! I definitely made them too big…No matter though! They were well received and I would give them a try again.

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