Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin ginger snaps

Well, hello there, comrades!  I've got a question for you.  Just one question.  So, dig deep within your souls and be prepared to answer honestly.  Ready?

Ready, Freddie.

Are you sick of pumpkin yet?

I ask this because I've got a mind-blowing recipe for pumpkin gingersnaps that will, um, blow your mind!  I mean, these cookies will cure whatever ails you.  Be it the first round of the flu, it's-only-Tuesday-itis, or a why-won't-the-weather-cooperate-for-my-friends'-wedding-on-Saturday worry.  I'm still working on a term for don't-want-to-work-just-want-to-exercise-and-bake-all-day-itis.  Any suggestions?

Oh!  The cookies.  Yes, the cookies.  They'll fix all of those problems.  I did promise that.  Aren't they pretty?  So, are you sick of pumpkin yet?

If you answered "yes" that you couldn't stand another pumpkin recipe... Tough cookies!  Trust me when I say that you aren't quite finished with all things pumpkin until you've had these cookies!  They aren't too pumpkin-y.  In fact, they taste more like a warm spiced cookie.  The kind that will play nicely with either a tall glass of cold milk or a steaming cup of herbal tea.  And the pumpkin added to the dough merely lends a chewy and moist texture to the delicately sugared cookie.  A perfect culinary transition from the sugary celebrations of Halloween to the warm and cozy season of giving thanks.

If you answered "no" because you are begging for more ghourdly good confections... My allies!  You who can't get enough of our favorite member of the squash family need no real convincing, but please permit me to harp just a bit.  These cookies have velvety pumpkin puree to thank for the oh-so-chewy texture with a tiny crunch on the outside from the bath in sugar.  As if that weren't enough to send your taste buds into a jealous fit, the portable treats are bursting with fall flavors of cinnamon, cloves, and yummy ginger.  Love!

Regardless of which side of the fence pumpkin patch you're residing, these are a must make to give your senses a much-needed dose of quintessential fall flavors.

I'll be honest and tell you that I wasn't sure what to expect because the snap part of the cookie was kinda missing.  When I think of a gingersnap, I think of super hard and crispy, won't-bend-at-all wafers, "did I just crack a tooth" snappy.  The kind that mandate you have a nearby beverage for dunking.

But these?  Oh, delightfully addicting pumpkin gingersnaps!  How you pulled the rug out from under me and took me by surprise.  Warm, chewy, and so many levels of spicy flavor!  The molasses, pumpkin, and spices each take turns greeting your taste buds.  I love when I'm still experiencing and tasting a cookie a minute after I've finished eating it.  That simply means that a batch of these will last me a few days hours longer than expected.  Long enough to get me through to Halloween candy, hopefully :)

One Year Ago: Beef & butternut squash stew

Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies
(adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)
-makes 3 dozen cookies

A few notes: Since I've given you a treat, I thought I should share a trick, too!  When measuring out molasses, coat the cup/spoon with nonstick cooking spray into which you're going to pour it so that none of the sloooooooow syrup stays behind.

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for rolling the cookies
½ cup of pure pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
¼ cup of molasses
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Add the pumpkin, molasses, egg, and vanilla extract, mix until well combined.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, spices, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix until combined. Refrigerate the cookie dough for at least 1 hour. The dough can be chilled for 2-3 days.

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350° F.  Line a baking sheet with  parchment paper.  Place sugar in a small bowl.  Roll tablespoon-sized balls of dough in sugar until well coated and place on prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until cookies look cracked and set at the edges. The cookies will still be soft. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a 2-3 minutes after removing them from the oven, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in sealed container for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.

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