Pumpkin pie is sooo yesterday around our house at Thanksgiving time. Though, there once was a time when I would go to the trouble of making it (homemade crust and all). It was one of my childhood faves, as long as there was plenty of whipped cream to go with it. My kids used to like it just fine, but eventually they began snubbing it for other things when given alternatives. To keep the pumpkin theme alive for the holidays, I began searching for other dessert forms that might appeal to my finicky horde.
Pumpkin cheesecake was the first non-pie recipe I tried many years ago. It became an instant hit, but soon fell from grace (for us older, more diet–conscience types). Pumpkin breads and cakes worked out equally well, but they also became too caloric and filling to eat after a huge meal. Last year, I discovered a recipe for Iced Pumpkin Cookies on Allrecipes.com that has since become an official family favorite. I never would have tried the recipe if not for the rave reviews it received from many readers of the site. The notion of a pumpkin–flavored cookie just didn’t appeal to me. But since the recipe description was “Wonderful spicy iced pumpkin cookies that both kids and adults love!” I couldn’t resist.
The resulting cookies are a nice combination of spicy and sweet. My favorite part is the texture, which is chewy and cake–like at the same time. I also like to add some crunch to the picture by adding various items from TJ’s nut and candy departments. The Candied Pecan halves are perfect toppers for these, and the Chocolate Sunflower Seed Drops are even autumn-colored for added visual appeal.
I followed the recipe exactly as written and had only one problem. The dough is quite sticky and doesn’t come out of a cookie scoop that easily. I suggest refrigerating it for 15 minutes or so to stiffen it up a bit. I also like to dip the tops of the cookies into the icing rather than drizzle it. If you are adding nuts or candies to the tops, make sure to do it before the icing hardens. Otherwise, they won’t stick. You might want to double the recipe as these go really quickly (they’re quite addictive!). They won’t fill you up as quickly as the other aforementioned pumpkin desserts.
WI wine recommendation: Since the Wine Imbiber is wearing the chef’s apron for the Thanksgiving turkey this week, I’m going to give him a break and make the recommendations myself. First off, you don’t necessarily need to drink wine with these cookies. They’ll be great with coffee, tea or even hot chocolate. But if you didn’t have your fill of wine with dinner, I can recommend a couple of things to try. Pairing a dessert wine with spicy, pumpkin flavored cookies can be challenging, but I’m up to it. The trick is to find a wine that will reflect the brown spices of the cookie. The best choice would be an aged Sherry, with its sweet spice character and warm, nutty flavor. Another option would be Vin Santo, which is an Italian dessert wine. It, too, has a nutty character and would be a good choice if you like to dip your cookies in wine.
Iced Pumpkin Cookies
(adapted from Allrecipes.com)
2–1/2 cups all–purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1–1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup canned TJ’s Organic Pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
TJ’s Candied Pecans (optional)
TJ’s Chocolate Sunflower Seed Drops (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Refrigerate the dough for 15 minutes. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork. Or, dip entire top half of cookie in icing and set on a wire rack. If using optional toppings, place or sprinkle on top of icing before too long to assure adhesion.
To make the icing, combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.
December 1, 2008 at 8:39 am
I love TJ’s Sunflower Seed drops! They make great decorations for cupcakes too. I only wish they would change the colors to match the different holidays (like M & M’s do). Then I could use them all year long!
omg, i *LOVE* candied sunflower seeds! great idea for usage… i was thinking to use them for cakes and cupcakes; will use for cookies now, too, thx! ^_^