Have I told you all that E loves to bake? I often get requests from her to assist with cooking of all kind in the kitchen (“Can I add that ingredient?” “Can I stir”) which is a great attitude and better than her older sister’s, who is slightly afraid of the oven and burning herself. So when she had a request last week to bake something with me, and if it could be something she could sell at a “handmade items” sale for Girl Scouts, I racked my brain for a quick and easy recipe that would be a) yummy b) appealing for buyers and c) easy to sell in small amounts.
My initial thoughts had been some kind of pumpkin bread, since I had a can of pumpkin burning a hole in my pantry, but bread requires slicing and re-packaging if it’s to be for sale. So my thoughts turned to cookies. Again, they’d need to be packaged in small amounts (3 or 4) to sell, but that would be one less step than a bread item. Plus, cookies are so cute. And the idea in my head of the easiest of cookies – snickerdoodles! – seemed like it would be very achievable.
It turns out it was – a quick google search turned up an excellent recipe that was easily done. The whole process from start to finish took about an hour, and then we were done with the baking. We bagged everything up to send with E the next morning, and that was it. Easy peasy. We got to taste a little bit, and the cookies were delightful – soft, lightly pumpkin-y, with a nice cinnamon flavor too. Very fall, but not “bury you in a pile of leaves” fall feeling. Plus – the pumpkin replaces the egg in the recipe, meaning if you wanted to lick the bowl at the end, you could without guilt. We got reports later that apparently the cookies “were a big hit” and that E was very happy with how they were received. So, a winning recipe all around.
Makes just under 2 dozen cookies
for the cookies:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
7 tablespoons pumpkin puree (about 1/6 of a can, good for using leftovers from other recipes?)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour (pastry flour preferred)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar (make sure its fresh and not expired)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
In a medium, microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Let cool slightly, then briskly whisk in the granulated sugar and brown sugar, until no brown sugar lumps remain. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla extract until smooth. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and all spice. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients all at once. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir by hand, just until the flour disappears. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, then let chill for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.
When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats. In a shallow dish or bowl, stir together the 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon for rolling.
With a cookie scoop or spoon, portion the dough by 1 1/2 tablespoons and roll into balls. Roll the dough in the cinnamon and sugar mixture to coat, then arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Flatten the balls slightly (the cookies only spread a little bit as they bake). Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the edges are barely golden (the cookies will look underdone). Place the baking sheets on a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes, then remove the cookies to a wire rack and let cool completely.
Store leftover cookies in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 3 months.
Unbaked cookie dough balls can be frozen for 3 months in a ziptop bag with all of the air squeezed out. Arrange the dough balls on a baking sheet and bake directly from frozen.
To make the dough ahead, prepare it up to the point of baking, then store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.