Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pumpkin spice pudding cookies

I think I'm in love with these cookies.  I want to bake a giant life-size version and wrap myself in it like a quilt.  A pumpkin-spiced edible blanket.

Too far?

You see, as weird as that may sound, it's not entirely impossible.  How so?  Because these are basically the chewiest cookies I've ever eaten.  And they smell like a dream, but I'll get to that in a minute.

Anyone who's baked cookies before knows that the longer you leave them in the oven, the firmer and crisper they'll be.  Sometimes snappy cookies are what you're looking for, so firm and crisp is good.  But, more often than not, it's that chewy, slightly doughy texture that's the most appealing.

If directions in a new recipe call for a baking time of 10 minutes, I start checking the cookies at 7.  It's not just because I'm that impatient (which I am) but because cooking time can vary from oven to oven.

That's standard baking logic, and it's what I'd say to the public if I had my own cooking show.

But I don't have a cooking show, and you're not just the general public.  You're the lovely folks who see right through that logic know me and can handle the truth.

The truth is that I love my cookies a little doughy and a bit... well, underbaked.  There, I said it, and I'm proud of it.  Chewy cookies are where it's at, people.

Unfortunately, not everyone can handle the idea of underbaking things just to achieve a chewier texture.  A friend, who was recently pregnant, confessed that she realized it wasn't baking that she enjoyed but rather nibbling on the dough.  When she could no longer sneak bites of the raw dough while pregnant for safety's sake, she nearly stopped baking altogether.  The tragedy!

If it's an unbelievably chewy cookie you're craving -- one that's completely cooked and still bends at your will -- let me be the first to open your eyes to cookies made with pudding mixes.

Pumpkin spice pudding cookies, to be exact.

Pudding cookies, where have you been all my life?  Turns out that the simple addition of dry instant pudding mix to a traditional cookie dough makes miracles happen.  Edible hand-held miracles like the chewiest cookies I've ever sunk my teeth into.

Sweet, so autumnal (love that word) thanks to the pumpkin and spices, and utterly addictive!  Makes you want to curl up with a cup of hot tea and your softest blanket.  Whether the blanket is cotton, wool, or of the pumpkin-spiced variety is up to you.

One year ago: Mini Oreo cheesecakes
Two years ago: Pumpkin gooey butter cakes
Three years ago: Baked pumpkin pie oatmeal

Pumpkin Pudding Cookies
(adapted slightly from Chef in Training)
-makes about 3 dozen

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) box pumpkin spice instant pudding mix
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch ground cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In the large bowl of a mixer, beat butter and sugars medium high on until light and fluffy, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Reduce speed to low and add dry pudding mix; beat until combined.  Add eggs and vanilla, mixing until smooth.  Add flour and baking soda and beat until uniform and no white streaks remain.

Roll into 1-inch balls (or use #40 cookie scoop) and place on greased or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet roughly 2 inches apart.  Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until edges are set and begin to turn golden.  Remove cookie sheet to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before transferring cookies to a rack to cool completely.

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 6 months.

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