This recipe is one that’s been near and dear to me for nearly my whole life. My Mom originally clipped it out of a newspaper and it’s grown up with me, going through different changes as I changed too.
Originally we made these cookies huge and round with little pumpkin stems and lavished icing and sprinkles upon them like festive, sweet, sticky jack-o-lanterns. Needless to say, they never lasted long.
Years later as my brother and I grew out of the whole Halloween thing, these cookies stuck around (of course!) Now that having a good smooth icing canvas was no longer necessary, chocolate chips made their way into the cookies. They marred the formerly glasslike (well, for a cookie) surface but dude, it was chocolate. Yum! My parents would send these cookies to me in my care packages at college, and they brought back memories of childhood the way that only really good comfort foods can do.
Now that I’m all old, non-pumpkin-decorating, and out of college, it’s up to me to keep this yummy tradition alive. I’ve made them every year over the last couple autumns, but this year I discovered my favorite addition: The Squash Quad of Power. As in the Turkey Trifecta, this blend of flavors complements the flavors it’s enhancing so perfectly that I wouldn’t ever consider excluding them. Unsurprisingly, when you add cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, and cloves to the cookies, they’re, well, uhm, wow.
They just might be the best cookie ever.
Pumpkin spice cookies
Adapted from a Libby’s canned pumpkin ad from the 80s
With my 1.5-tablespoon cookie scoop, this makes 48 2-1/2″ cookies with plenty of dough left for eating.
- While I would normally encourage the use of home-roasted and -pureed pumpkin (like I do in pumpkin pie), it’s not a good idea in this case. Home-made puree and brands from places like Whole Foods have a far different texture and water-content and will lead to cookie failure. Stick with Libby’s or a brand with a similar texture.
- If you’re not happy with the texture when they come out of the oven, wait a day. The texture changes substantially overnight, and I might actually prefer the day-old cookies.
- By happy accident I once discovered that if you want a less sweet, more pronounced pumpkin flavor, you can use an extra 50% pumpkin (noted above) and you will still get a perfectly delicious cookie. The dough will not spread as much during baking, so you may need to increase the cooking time as they’ll come out shaped more like boulders than discs.
- Personal note: use the 1.5-tablespoon (purple) cookie scoop. Bake 7 minutes, rotate pans, bake 7 more minutes.
You will need:
- 2 cups flour (240g)
- 1 cup raw old-fashioned or extra-thick oats (100g)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon each ground nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened (168g)
- 3/4 cup (5.75oz) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (5.75oz) firmly packed light-brown sugar
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup (240g/8.5oz) canned unsweetened pumpkin (you can increase this to up to 1 1/2 cup/360g)
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (omit if decorating)
- (If decorating) assorted icing, peanut butter, candies, sprinkles, raisins, or nuts
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and salt. In a separate bowl, cream butter. Gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla and mix well.
- Alternate adding flour mixture to the creamed butter with adding pumpkin, mixing well after each addition. Stir in chocolate chips.
- Drop a generous spoonful onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. (If you’re not going to bake the dough right away, you can drop the dough onto the sheets, freeze them, then dump the dough-balls into a freezer bag and freeze them for up to a month, or until they start to collect ice-crystals from the self-defrost cycle.) If you want to shape the cookies like pumpkins, use 1/4 cup of dough for each cookie and add a bit more to form a stem. Bake 14-16 minutes (if the cookies are smaller), 18-19 minutes (if the cookies are smaller but have the larger measure of pumpkin) or 20-25 minutes (if cookies are larger). If you take them out just as the edges are barely beginning to brown and the middle looks under-done, they will be extremely soft and chewy. Leave them in for another minute or two if you like your cookies less soft, but do not let them start to firm up while they are still in the oven. Cool on racks. When cool, store or decorate.
- I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I have throughout my life!